HOME AWAY FROM HOME: “We are so pleased to have this wonderful facility for our dogs,” says Carole Lini, owner of All Good Dogs Daycare. “I am now the owner of the Schalks Crossing property, and I look forward to new opportunities and further renovation. I am so lucky to have a wonderful dedicated staff to help me provide the best care for our canine clients.” Staff members at 113 Schalks Crossing Road are shown in front of the handsome brick house, now home to 20 to 35 dogs five days a week.
Carole Lini loves her work. As owner of All Good Dogs Daycare for more than 20 years, she has been providing dogs with a safe, supervised, and socialized home away from home.
But even before, she knew that caring for dogs was her passion. As a young girl, she played with her own pets, and as she grew up, she took on dog-walking projects.
“I always knew that I wanted to work with animals,” she reports. “I started as a veterinarian technician, then worked as a pet sitter, walking dogs and caring for cats. I realized that even with three or four visits a day, the dogs were still not getting enough attention, and were lonely. We needed to find another way.”
That led her to open All Good Dogs Daycare in Kingston in 2000, with a focus on giving dogs a safe, friendly, supervised environment providing exercise and socialization.
“We pride ourselves on giving the dogs the best environment and experience,” she points out. “We are available for people who are not comfortable with the typical kennel situation, where the animals are in a more confined area.”
With the popularity of her doggie day care program increasing, Lini found she needed even more space to accommodate the growing number of daily visitors.
“We moved to 113 Schalks Crossing Road in South Brunswick 20 years ago, and this is a wonderful location. We have more than two acres and room to expand, so the dogs can have plenty of exercise and stimulation and also relaxing times inside too.”
After many years of renting the property, she was able to purchase it this year, and has already restored the slate roof of the 80-year-old brick house, and added attractive new landscaping to complement the 100- year-old towering oak and beech trees that distinguish the property. It is a very handsome setting,
“I am super excited about owning the property,” says Lini. “It is a special place. There is really nothing quite like this around here, and this is such a truly worthy project.”
Overseeing such a large operation is extremely time-consuming, especially since she also owns another All Good Dogs Daycare center on 160 Basin Road in Lawrence, as well as Whisker Watchers: Happy Tails, a pet sitting and dog walking business.
PET PALS: “We have big yards — really parklike yards — with outdoor play furniture, even a little pool for them to cool off in, so they can have fun and exercise,” says Carole Lini, founder and owner of All Good Dogs Daycare. Shown here are four canine companions enjoying play time at the All Good Dogs Schalks Crossing Road day care facility.
In addition to day care, the Lawrence facility offers overnight boarding. “We are really pioneers of this concept in our area, especially the concept of cage-free boarding 24/7,” reports Lini.
She is extremely proud of the staff she has assembled at both locations, and attributes much of the business’s success to the staff’s dedication and skill.
“They are just outstanding. It really does take a village! Everyone here loves animals, and is knowledgeable about their care and needs. The staff has ongoing training. They have to know how to introduce themselves to the dog, and how to handle multiple dogs.”
Typically, 20 to 35 dogs are in the spotlessly clean Schalks Crossing facility five days a week. Many dogs come every day, others three or four days. Both half and full days are available.
When owners first consider sending their dogs to All Good Dogs, they initially fill out a questionnaire, explains Lini, “Then, we’ll do a lengthy evaluation of the dog. We want to see how it interacts and mingles with the other dogs, and how the dog acts without its owner. We want to see if the dog will be a good match here. They must mix well with the other dogs; we don’t accept dogs with aggressive behavior. Also, they must be spayed or neutered, and all vaccinations must be up-to-date.”
Four months to 14 or 15 years old is the typical age range at All Good Dogs, with the upper limit dependent on the dog’s health. Chihuahuas to Great Danes have been clients, with all sizes and breeds in between.
“We group dogs according to age, size, temperament, and activity level,” points out Lini. “We put dogs who are a little more mellow together, and we find that the dogs often form friendships with each other. They are usually very well behaved. Also, as you observe each dog’s personality, you can anticipate their behavior.”
Generally, clients bring their dog’s own food, but the facility will provide food, if necessary. In addition, the staff will give medication, if needed, and a veterinarian is on call.
When dogs board overnight at the Lawrence center, they stay anywhere from one or two nights, to a week or more. There is always a staff member available, notes Lini.
Many owners are so devoted to their canines that they will even call to speak to them on the phone. Lini adds that other clients sometimes have unusual requests. “As an in-home pet sitter, I was asked to sing a special song to a cat!”
She happily complied, as she is always eager to do all she can to create a congenial environment for any pet.
It can also be an ongoing relationship, she adds. “A lot of our dogs come to us when they are puppies, and continue to come as they get older. They develop a relationship with the staff and with their dog playmates.
“This is a labor of love for all of us,” she continues, “and again, I couldn’t do it without my great staff. They are loyal, compassionate employees.
“As I step back a bit from the day-to-day running of this 24/7 business, I know it is in the capable hands of my South Brunswick managers Jessica Winter and Tori Borelli and Lawrence managers Adam Miller and Jack Flynn.”
After being closed for several months in 2020 due to COVID-19, All Good Dogs is doing better than ever, says Lini. Increasing numbers of people have pets, and they want the best environment and experience for them.
“Our service is really helpful for people in condos, townhouses, and apartments, and for people who may have trouble walking their dogs” points out Lini. “We also offer grooming and bathing services.
“We are set apart as an independently-owned business. We are not a franchise, but boutique dog care, focusing on special attention. We have also always had excellent support from the local community, and in addition, we work with the SoCo Southern Comfort rescue organization, which brings abandoned dogs north from down south.”
Day and overnight boarding prices vary, with different pricing packages available, including club cards. Discounts are offered to the military, older adults, and essential workers.
“We are really here to help, and I enjoy seeing the dogs happy and the pleasure of the clients when they know their dogs are safe and cared for,” says Lini. “It means a lot to me to see our day care, cage-free concept come to fruition after all the years of hard work.”
Indeed, Carole Lini is very proud of having turned her love of and concern for animals into a thriving business, but in some ways, she believes it is still a work in progress.
“There are more things to accomplish, and I am excited about my plans for new ventures and opportunities now that I actually own the property. Stay tuned!”
All Good Dogs Daycare at 113 Schalks Crossing Road and at 160 Basin Road in Lawrence are open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Overnight boarding is available at the Lawrence center.
Schalks Crossing Road: (609) 275-7177. Basin Road: (609) 587-3535. Website: allgooddogscagefree.com.