United Enterprises introduces Doggy Day Care


United Enterprise, Inc. in Perryville has found a way to bring joy to its employees and a useful service to those in the community.

The organization started a Doggy Daycare called “Pawsability” within its facility in early May and has seen much success with the new program in the first month.

“COVID-19 opened a lot of doors for us because it allowed our employees to go into places like TG-Missouri and Gilster Mary-Lee and do line work,” United Enterprises Executive Director Janet Squibb said. “That gave us the opportunity to show them what we are capable of. We had all these opportunities for our higher functioning workers, but was a struggle for our less abled people. We just brainstormed some ideas of what we can do.”

From there the idea of a Doggy Daycare was born.

Squibb did some research and found a story of a family in Indiana started to help their autistic son after high school graduation and it has worked well.

“I thought that was so amazing and we wanted to try something like that here,” Squibb said.

Squibb worked on a way to make the concept a reality, but did not have the funds at that time to make it work. However, Squibb applied for the Impact 100 grant last year and were chosen for the grant.”

“We were shocked that we were able to get that grant,” Squibb said. “But it allowed our employees with less abilities to come back to work, because they weren’t working for a period of time after COVID.”

The Doggy Day Care has been a smashing success with the employees.

“They love it,” Squibb said. “The whole idea of coming up with a cool job for us, the pet, and the pet parent, and the community has been outstanding.”

United Enterprises, Inc. is a non-profit manufacturing organization that provides meaningful services as well as employment to individuals with disabilities.

“Some are more higher functioning than others, but we want to make sure we have some type of employment for anyone so they can have employment like anyone else.”

Right now, the Doggy Day Care has 15 dogs with more signing up each week. Squibb said the program is geared toward people who have dogs, but work long hours and unable to give the dogs the exercise it needs.

“Normally when people go to work they crate their dogs and leave them at home,” she said. “Some dogs have a lot of separation anxiety when their parents are gone. What this allows is for the dogs to go somewhere and play with their friends. Mom and dad go to work and pick them up after work and the dogs get to have fun and be tired at the end of the day. It’s a win-win for everyone. It gives dogs a lot of socialization and our employees the opportunity to build relationships with the dogs. Our employees get to be paid and have fun with dogs all day.”

Right now, Squibb rotates the employees to give everyone a chance to work with the dogs, but the number usually depends on how many dogs they have on any given day.

“We get asked every day by our employees when it is their turn to go in with the dogs,” Squibb said. “Who wouldn’t love that?”

Squibb does an intake study for each new dog that comes to find out the dog’s personality, when they eat. The pet owner normally brings their food with them and the dogs will be crated to eat their lunch as not to cause arguments between the dogs.

United Enterprises charges $20 per day for each dog, with a second dog from the same family charged an additional $15. There are no size limits for the dogs, but if they are puppies they must be up to date with all their vaccinations and shots.

“We have some room to grow and we would love to have as many as we can,” Squibb said.