When Melissa Pape of Bel Air saw the sign for a new pet boutique on Main Street, she couldn't get to her phone fast enough.
"I called them the minute I saw their sign pop up. I couldn't wait. I was so excited," Pape says.
She was the first to call and sign up her Boston terrier and Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix, Stella, for day care at To Wag For pet boutique before the shop opened its doors to the public at 8 N. Main St. in Bel Air on Sept. 1.
The dog day care center has movable walls to accommodate varying sizes of dogs, an obstacle course and trainers there to work with dogs on behavior skills during the day. There's even a wall of cubbies to store the lunch and belongings of dogs in day care while their owners are away.
"There's a lot of dog day cares out there, but the idea here is that there's someone with your dog all the time," says Megan Conway, 38, general manager of To Wag For's Bel Air and Santa Monica, Calif. locations and a Fallston resident. "It's very akin to a day care you'd send your children to. It's much more hands-on."
"To Wag For" works to portray its "Adopt, don't shop" motto with cats available for adoption right in the store through the Best Friends. There are plans to have dogs up for adoption through a local organization during store hours by the end of the year.
The treats and accessories for sale are boutique-style. A cart with fresh-baked dog treats welcomes customers inside the shop door, and matching collars and bracelets allow owners to match their accessories to their dogs.
To Wag For also plans to offer grooming services in the Bel Air store by Christmas.
"The reception from the Bel Air community has been overwhelming," Conway says. "It's been incredible to work with those in the area to bring something special and different to Harford County."
As for Pape, she's happy that her dog is happy.