We love dogs.

 Percy’s Playground all began with the love of a dog, Percy.

She was the Best. Dog. Ever.

Percy was adopted on the 9th of her allowable 10 days at the Mecosta-Osceola county pound in mid-Michigan on December 9, 1998. She was the coolest, smartest, goofiest, most loyal and most fun companion, and we shared 13 remarkable years together. Over those years, Percy inspired us and taught us a lot of things about dogs- and about life. So we ended up leaving our “real jobs” of teaching high school and cabinet building in 2009 and came to the Ozarks to pursue our passions, which mainly revolved around dogs.

One thing we learned is that while dogs do love us, they also have lots of needs that have nothing to do with us: hunting, sniffing, foraging, exploring, to name a few. Percy’s Playground is a testament to that spirit in all dogs. And not long after Percy’s passing in 2011, we spearheaded the committee that built Carroll County’s first and only dog park in 2014- the Eureka Springs Bark Park- so people can help their dogs fulfill some of those needs- and spend time together. You can read about the history of the Eureka Springs Dog Park here: Eureka Springs Bark Park 

Grand Opening of the Percy-inspired Eureka Springs Bark Park, July 14, 2014

And you can also see how awesome Percy was in our Ode to Percy here: Ode to Percy

We know dogs.

Dog training and dog boarding are unregulated industries; therefore, knowledge, credentials and experience really matter. In 2009 Rachel became Lead Dog Trainer at Petco and managed two no-kill shelters, and Ryan volunteered his handyman skills and dog handling skills at both shelters. We also operated a small grooming and training shop in Eureka Springs.

Rachel went on to earn her dog training credentials and is a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed) from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers – the most highly regarded independent certification organization in the industry.

She is also a published author on all things dog, nominated 2 years in a row for her work by the Dog Writers Association of America, the most recognized professional writing association devoted to dogs. Rachel has also spoken 2 years in a row at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers annual conference. You can read Rachel’s articles here: Rachel’s Articles

We live dogs.

We play with dogs, train with dogs, talk about dogs, talk to dogs, cuddle with dogs, read about dogs, sing to dogs, vacation with dogs, post memes about dogs, draw and paint dogs . We plan trips around our dogs, spend holidays with our dogs, make and buy our dogs birthday gifts and built a homemade agility course in our backyard. No furniture is off limits for our dogs, and they sleep in our bed. Or wherever they want.

We don’t have human children, so our life literally revolves around enriching the lives of our rescue dogs: golden retriever, Sadie, and mixed breeds Emmie and Apache. Rachel works with them on manners, tricks, agility and behavior modification for our reactive Apache, and Ryan’s the master at getting any dog to play fetch or catch a flying disc. We mostly hang out at home with them and take them with us if we leave.

We know firsthand that dogs are a big part of many people’s lives and you don’t want to leave them just anywhere with just anyone. So we created Percy’s Playground: a husband and wife dog-loving team bringing you a positive reinforcement-based dog-centered facility. You can have peace of mind knowing we’ll treat your dogs the same way we treat our own dogs (and cats!): with patience, love and kindness- and we always have a lot of fun.

Percy the dog


percys playground

Sadie, Apache & Emmie

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