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Angie Wieck, Published April 13 2014

Let's go down to South Bark: Dog lovers create a fun home away from home to care for local canines

Fargo -- Before Stacy Aamodt rescued his dog, Cajun, from the Humane Society, he said he couldn’t imagine why someone would bring their pet to a day care.

But Cajun was unlike any dog he had ever owned. Cajun was shuffled around a lot and never really developed any social skills, so Aamodt decided to give doggy day care a try.

He was hooked when he saw how much Cajun enjoyed it. So much so, he began to dream about opening a day care and boarding facility of his own.

That dream became a reality last month when he and business partner Tom Hagen opened South Bark in the former home of Eddieandbarkus at 4035 40th Ave. S.

The business also features grooming services offered by Lindsey Whisman. She previously worked at Bubba & Co., a Fargo dog groomer that closed its doors in February.

When Aamodt imagined South Bark, he said he wanted it to be a place dogs looked forward to visiting.

“I wanted it to be a cool place for a dog to come, not just a place where they’re dropped off,” Aamodt said. “It’s their home away from home.”

At South Bark, that home is a called a “condo.” The business has 30 doggy condos that Aamodt designed based on what he thought would make Cajun comfortable.

He designed them to be spacious, with a bit of privacy for dogs that become anxious when other dogs stare at them.

The condos are where the dogs eat their meals and relax, but most of their day is spent in a large indoor-outdoor play area where they can enjoy stairs, ramps, slides and toys.

There is also a large doggy lounge, which Aamodt said is used to get the dogs acclimated to the facility.

Aamodt said this is one thing that sets South Bark apart from a lot of other kennels.

“We spend a lot of one-on-one time with the dogs before we introduce them to other dogs,” he said. “It works so much better.”

Clients also like the hours South Bark is open. He believes South Bark is the only kennel open all day on the weekends. They plan to extend those hours in the summer to accommodate families who go to the lake.

Business has been good so far. Aamodt said they have gotten a great deal of their business because of their rates.

“We are a business, but we’re also trying to make it affordable for everybody to give their pet the opportunity to come here,” he said.

Hagen agreed.

“Really, we just wanted to give animals a place to feel safe and have fun,” Hagen said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501