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Meetup Groups for Pets – Great Minds Bark Alike:

Breed Fanciers Find Friends at Local Doggie Daycare

They frolic, they roll, they might even perform a tumble or two, these warrior wieners know no,bounds…except for the white picket fence surrounding them. These are the lucky dogs that get to play at A Dog’s Day Out in Vienna with the Northern Virginia Dachshund Meetup. The Internet, it seems, is even bringing our four-legged brethren closer.

The Dachshund Meetup is just one of thousands of such groups meeting across the country on any given day. Meetup.com is a website that does more than help people with similar interests communicate; it actually encourages these kindred spirits to meet face-to-face. Meetup group topics run the gamut of interests, and there are typically no fees. In a world where people feel disconnected from their fellow humans, Meetup groups have flourished, with a reported 50,000 groups to date.

Kelly Sayers, Coordinator of the Northern Virginia Dachshund Meetup, stumbled across the website after a crosscountry move. Although she had never had problems meeting people in her old town, this new, bustling metropolis proved hard to crack. “Out of frustration and loneliness, I Googled ‘meeting people in Northern Virginia’ and it led me to Meetup.com,” Kelly recalled.

The owner of two Dachshunds, Kelly quickly joined the Dachshund Meetup but was disappointed to see that they weren’t currently meeting, so she took on the responsibility of coordinator. “It’s been so rewarding,” she said. The playgroup allowed Kelly to find local Dachshund- owners who offer both friendship and support. It also introduced Kelly to Dachshund Rescue of North America, where she now volunteers.

Meetup.com makes it easy to find such groups, but finding spaces to meet can sometimes prove challenging. Fortunately for Kelly’s group and several others, A Dog’s Day Out is happy to oblige.

“This is the perfect way for us to welcome the dog loving community that lives around us,” said Chas Richardson, the owner of A Dog’s Day Out, which provides doggie day-care, boarding, grooming, training and more, 365 days a year.

Because they never close and offer a facility that The Washington Post terms “enormous,” hosting these play groups is easy and very satisfying. Chas points out, “The nice thing for the play groups coming here is that it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or freezing outside, they’re in a climate controlled area for two hours at no charge.”

Groups are hosted on Sundays, which happen to be the facility’s slowest day, and it’s as much fun for the staff as it is for the dogs and their owners. The playgroups are always given the largest area in the facility, which boasts 30-foot ceilings, several ceiling fans for comfort and lots of artificial trees and picket fencing to simulate the great outdoors.

The dogs love it. A Dog’s Day Out began hosting the groups in 2004 and has hosted 70 play dates so far, for smaller breeds like Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Pugs and more. The Beagle group, Chas noted, has a whopping 300 members. “When the beagles and the pugs come to play, it’s like an army!” he laughs. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for these furry warriors.



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