A Tampa-based dog daycare company has crossed the bay and opened its first location in St. Petersburg.

Paws ‘n’ Rec is a membership-based dog daycare, grooming and boarding facility. The company has three existing locations throughout Tampa and recently opened its first in Pinellas County at 4300 28th St. N. Co-owner Taylor Wallace said the new facility in Lealman offers 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space, allowing the company to serve about 150 dogs per day. 

“I’ve been living in St. Pete for a couple of years, so I was driving my dog to Tampa whenever I was traveling or wanting her to go to daycare, and also to run the business. Selfishly, I wanted a dog daycare over here that I could use, and we also felt like St. Pete really could use more dog daycare boarding facilities,” Wallace said. “We think that there’s an opportunity to serve the pet parents over here like we do in Tampa.”

Wallace said he and Paws ‘n’ Rec co-founder Michael Mayleben chose the Lealman area to open their first St. Pete facility because of its central location.

“It’s kind of up-and-coming and it’s very accessible to people going back and forth from downtown St. Pete to Tampa. We wanted to be accessible to people going back and forth across the bridge, going from downtown to the airport, and even people coming up from Sarasota driving to Tampa airport who want to board their dogs. We felt like it was really central and easy to get to for most of the residents in Pinellas.”

The company currently employs 10 full-time employees at the new Lealman location, with plans to expand to 25-30 when the dog daycare is at full capacity. Wallace said his partner’s 10+ years of experience in the dog daycare and boarding industry and their employee-centric culture have helped make Paws ‘n’ Rec successful.

“We do a lot to make sure our staff are well taken care of, because they’re the ones taking care of everybody’s dogs. We put a big emphasis on company culture and just being a great place for young people who love animals to work and try to build a career.”

Wallace also believes Paws ‘n’ Rec’s extended hours will appeal to St. Pete’s growing number of younger residents, offering pet pickup and dropoff between 6:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. every day.

“So if you’re going out to dinner, you can pick your dog up really late, whereas a lot of daycare or boarding facilities close early,” Wallace said. “There’s a big demand for good quality pet care service providers in Tampa Bay, and I think our experience, having done this for a long time, has really empowered us to grow and find new opportunities to serve more pet parents.”

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