A new mural by Phoenix artist Isaac Caruso graces the exterior of Dogtopia Uptown Phoenix, which is set to open in September (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

For many people, their dogs are more than just pets; they are family. Sometimes, though, furry family members need to spend quality time with canine companions, and many fur kids can’t be left to their own devices during the day while mom or dad work. So, to help meet the needs of North Central pet parents, Dogtopia is gearing up to open its 200th dog day care location this month.

Established in 2002 as a daycare and boarding facility, Dogtopia has morphed into something much more. The company’s vision, or “Noble Cause,” is “to enhance the joy of dog parenthood and enable dogs to positively change our world.” Their goal is to do this through safe socialization, exercise, and education at their daycare facilities.

(photo by Kathryn M. Miller)

David Duran, who handles new store marketing and enrollment for the company, says that while they are primarily a doggy daycare, they do offer overnight stays and spa services, but only for their day care dogs.

“All of our dogs are enrolled, so they’re coming on a consistent basis,” Duran said. “We really treat it like school. We like our dogs to be coming in regularly so that we get to know their friends, and their playmates. We feel that it’s a lot safer environment for the dogs when they’re coming regularly versus drop-in daycare.”

They offer a full calendar of activities for enrolled pups — from dance parties and story time to Wellness Wednesday training and photo parties. They are also tech forward — most services can be scheduled from their app and webcams are in all the rooms so that pet parents can check in during the day.

Giving back to the community through its foundation is a major part of the company brand. They partner with Canines for Warriors (www.k9sforwarriors.org) to raise funds through “treat days” at the day care centers to provide service dogs for veterans.

Duran said that, since its opening in 2020, the Historic Phoenix location downtown has raised funds for seven service dogs.

“Each one is $6,000, so we just have really generous dog parents,” he added.

The company also likes to get to know the neighborhoods they serve and create facilities that fit the vibe of the area, and they are not afraid to stand out either.

Anyone driving south on 7th Street past the new Uptown Phoenix location at Rose Lane likely noticed a beautiful new mural gracing the building exterior. Featuring a parade of dogs prancing towards the front door, the mural was completed in August by artist Isaac Caruso (www.isaacncaruso.com).

“When the time came to choose an artist, the stars aligned, and Isaac just made the most sense for us,” recalled Duran. “He loves dogs (has a super cute one) and has painted man’s best friend a few times in a realistic way that we so enjoy. It’s going to really bring a corner of happiness to the Uptown neighborhood!”

(photo by Isaac Caruso)

A mural can offer “a sign of life” in communities, Caruso added. “It’s also a bit of place making, and it gives our communities a visual identity and personality.”


When he is not bringing artistic joy to area neighborhoods, the Phoenix native travels around Arizona with the aforementioned “super cute” Gustavo (“He’s the brains of the operation,” Caruso laughed, “I’m just the guy with thumbs.”), working to complete a 50-mural project that will serve as illustrations for his forthcoming children’s book, “Sam & Sara.” When complete, readers will be able to travel around the state and see the story unfold via the murals.

The book, expected to be completed in 2023, is a special project for the artist. It’s a semi-autobiographical narrative of a creative, gifted nontraditional learner growing up in public school.

“I wanted to make a book for kids to kind of encourage them to be daydreamers, be creative, think outside the box and let them know that’s OK.”

Keep up with the project at www.samandsara.org. In the meantime, check out Caruso’s mural at Dogtopia.

The Uptown Phoenix location is set to open in September at 6148 N. 7th St. Those wanting to enroll their pooch can call 602-607-2777 or find more information at www.dogtopia.com/uptown-phoenix.


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