Man’s best friend in Somerset County can now go to day school.
Doggy day care is one of the new services being offered at Berkebile Kennels at 103 E. First St. in Somerset Township.
The new business held its grand opening Friday.
“We’ve had dogs forever,” co-owner Joan Berkebile said at the ceremony. “We’ve always wanted to do something like this.”
The kennel officially opened in August after construction was completed in July. The business features 18 kennels, three indoor play areas and an outdoor play area, co-owner and husband Brad Berkebile said.
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Other than kenneling and day care services, grooming is offered in partnership with Dogs In Style Professional Dog Grooming, of Somerset.
Training services are also offered with trainer Melissa Kaplan, a New Jersey native now living in Sipesville.
Kaplan said that she has 40 years of dog training experience, studying for 17 years under what she described as “some of the best trainers on the east coast.”
“One of the best things you can do for your dog is to get them trained,” she said, adding it helps the pet learn its place in a family.
She said that training services are offered at all stages of a dog’s maturity, including show training.
Kennel manager Amanda Shaffer said that at full capacity the kennel will be able to have 18 to 20 dogs boarded at a time and 10 to 15 in the day care program.
To be at full capacity, Shaffer said will require hiring at least one more person to care for the animals. Currently there are 11 dogs total being boarded and in the day care program, she said.
“I just hope it grows,” she said of the business. “We’re here and we’re looking forward to serving the community.”
She described the day care services as cool and unique. And her favorite part of the job was obvious.
“I love the dogs. That’s the best part of the day,” she said with a smile. “They all have their unique qualities.”
Somerset County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ron Aldom said the services are needed. Aldom added that the day care service could be attractive to visitors of the county’s ski resorts.
“I think it is a great location, especially for that audience,” he said.
Follow Eric Kieta on Twitter @EricKietaDA.