Sit and Stay

At O’Hairs Happydog Daycare inc., dogs don’t stay cooped up in a kennel all day. Yet they don’t live in luxury, either.

“If you would look at day cares from New York to California, a lot of them advertise features like piped-in music and queen-sized beds, and that’s not what we’re all about,” says owner, master groomer, and lifelong dog lover Debbie Magenheimer. “Dogs love to chase squirrels and dig in the dirt, and that’s what we (enable dogs to) do at Happydog.”

She founded O’Hairs in 1994 as a grooming salon that quickly became one of the top spots in the city for pampering pooches. Certified in pet CPR, Magenheimer later expanded her business to offer day care.

In 2006, the business moved to its current location at 4508 Covert Ave. That’s where the day care dogs have more than an acre of space with several outdoor, fenced-in areas for roaming, relaxing, and playtime, as well as a newly built “gymnasium.” Two or more large, fenced-in areas separately accommodate small and medium-sized dogs, while the gymnasium is normally reserved for larger dogs.

Owners, most of whom are young professionals, are not required to bring their dogs to the day care every day.

“Whatever works for the dog,” Magenheimer says. “Whatever keeps them the most balanced and happy is what I want (their owners) to do.”

The staff also keeps a close eye on the dogs’ temperaments. Magenheimer uses a “stoplight” method to monitor the dogs in her day care. New dogs that are being evaluated by Magenheimer enter as “red.” Eventually, the dogs become “yellow,” meaning they’re allowed more contact with others dogs while still being monitored. When the dogs turn “green,” they are then a “pack dog” based on their size and agility level. “The goal is to get all dogs green,” she adds.

While the focus at O’Hairs is day care, the business continues to keep one full-time worker on hand for grooming services. The day care also offers boarding, semi-obedience training (for a small fee the staff will work to correct any behavioral problems), and even agility training on the property’s American Kennel Club-compliant agility field (for an additional fee).

From puppies to old timers and dachshunds to Great Danes, O’Hairs is happy to take care of any dog. Magenheimer requires only that the dogs have their rabies and combination vaccines at least three days prior to starting day care.

“I’m not dealing with an inanimate object,” says Magenheimer, adding that the number of dogs in her care varies day by day. “I am dealing with … (my clients’) family members. That’s how I look at it.”

For more information on O’Hairs Happydog Daycare Inc., call 812-477-1405 or visit It also has a Facebook page.

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