Dog lover’s dream? Inside the plans for The Pack Indoor Dog Park

Kent County

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan dogs will soon have a place to play inside while their owners watch, dine and work.

The Pack Indoor Dog Park is billed as the first indoor dog park of its kind in Michigan.

The nearly 10,000 square-foot facility at 5205 West River Drive NE will be handicap-accessible and feature an open concept, with bars overlooking the dog play area, a restaurant, small boutique store, back patio, TVs and workspace with Wi-Fi service.

“There will be kind of a people-only space that’s family-friendly where kids can be as well as adults. People can come during the day and get work done while they watch their dog or have a cup of coffee or something to eat while they sit and watch their dog play,” co-owner Raechel Macqueen explained.

INDOOR INSPIRATION

Macqueen said her family has known for a while that they wanted to open a business together focused on something they all loved.

“Toward the top of the list was dogs. And I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a place that you could sit and have some food, have something to drink and hang out indoors and your dog could play, being in Michigan with the weather?’” Macqueen recalled.

She said the logistical challenges she encountered as a new mom also fueled the idea, which came in April.

“I didn’t really want… (dogs) jumping up on (my daughter’s) stroller. And just being in the cold weather — she was born in February — it was kind of tricky getting her all bundled up. So I thought it would be so nice if we had somewhere where our dog could come and play and get some exercise and maybe me and my daughter would have our own dog-free space where we could sit and watch while my husband played with him (the dog). And there really wasn’t anything like that available for us, and so it was something that we wanted to create,” she said.

Macqueen’s mother Joelle Wrona said outdoor dog parks also present problems for her doodle.

“You know, we’ve taken her to a dog park with the plan of staying and getting some exercise. Five minutes, she’s black, I’ve got to go, you know. So then I’ve got to get her back in the car where she’s filthy. So it’s limiting you on something you really want to do and enjoy with your dog,” Wrona explained.

The plan for The Pack Indoor Dog Park had started.

‘CREATING A SAFE PLACE’ FOR DOGS

The family-owned business, slated to be built on West River Drive about a mile away from US-131 in Plainfield Township, will also offer dog day care.

“In terms of day care, anyone north of Grand Rapids on their way to work, if they work south or southeast of Grand Rapids, they can just quick (exit) off the highway, drop off their dog and get right back on their way. Otherwise, there is a lot of people in that area that there isn’t really a dog park nearby, even outdoor. So we thought it would be a nice spot to put ourselves there,” Macqueen said.

She said the facility will feature a dog-friendly exit to a small fenced-in area outside with canine grass. For dogs who don’t make it outside, the floors will be easy to clean.

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Macqueen says day care dogs will not be stuck in a kennel all day.

“We do have a little rest area, especially for senior dogs, where if there’s any issue with the dog throughout the day we can put them in a kennel if we need to or in a backroom if they just need a rest from the rest of the group for a minute, but otherwise it’s really intended to be a place where your dog can run and play for the day,” she explained.

Macqueen and Wrona say The Pack will be open to members only whose dogs have all the necessary vaccines and pass a brief temperament test.

“We’re really strongly focused on both creating a safe place for dogs to be,” Macqueen said. “That’ll just kind of check off the basics, that the dog is going to be safe to play there, and they’re not too fearful and things like that to be in the area.”

The cost of the dog park is a minimum of $30 for five visits or $200 for unlimited visits all year. Day care will be $30 a day.

The Pack’s owners say there will be one staff member for every 10 to 15 dogs, monitoring and helping in the dog area. The expect to hire seven to eight part-time employees to start, growing their workforce as more dogs join.

DINING WHILE WATCHING YOUR DOG

The Pack’s restaurant is expected to offer shareable foods, like pizzas, sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches. Wrona said there will be a pick-up window for orders and dogs will not be allowed in that area.

“Our plan is that anything coming out of the kitchen, like all the food and everything that comes out of the kitchen, nothing goes back in,” she explained. “So we’re making it very hygienic, very clean. It’ll be really inviting for people to come in and enjoy some food.”

The Pack’s owners are also considering allowing members to preorder food and drinks that will be billed to their account.

“So in the morning, (if) somebody wants to drop their dog off, grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, we want to have that quick and easy for them, too,” explained Wrona.

The Pack has also applied for a liquor license in hopes of serving beer, wine and possibly cocktails.

The family expects to break ground on the project in spring and open The Pack this summer. For updates, follow the business on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thepackindoordogpark/.

“Our main hope is that everybody feels like they can come enjoy the space with their dog,” Macqueen said. “In all of our designs and all of that in terms of building the space it’s really been centered around that.”

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