In a spacious hall at 9th and Fremont, Cathy Brooks looks onto the yard and offers a play-by-play of the activity there, noting everyone by first names—Captain, Moo Moo, Emma, Kennedy and Mr. Sticky Rice, all of whom suddenly line up along the fence when it appears that Emma might be leaving for the day.
“We love them like they are our own,” Brooks says of the various canines playing under the watchful eyes of handlers while cars and pedestrians move past on the other side of the fence.
While revitalization has infused Downtown with different energy and a new look, the Hydrant Club, a members-only “social club” dog park, doggie daycare and boarding facility, might stand out as the most unique and surprising addition—unless, of course, you’re a dog owner living in a high-rise or working long hours in the area.
Back in 2012, Brooks, a Bay Area tech industry veteran, came to visit Tony Hsieh and see his operations here. Staying at the dog-friendly Ogden with her giant labradoodle, she realized there wasn’t a place within a 15-block radius for dogs to run off-leash.
She never expected to live in Las Vegas and run a dog park, but the plans unrolled anyway. Soon enough Brooks opened the Hydrant Club, beginning with a privatized off-leash club that could enforce behavioral assessment, shot records and licensing as a way to protect the dogs. Last Thursday was the grand opening/leash-cutting ceremony, celebrating a recently completed indoor facility that allows for expanded services—boarding, boutique and workshops—and ensures the club remains open in rain or inclement weather (a coup for the Frenchie, Moo Moo, who’s all about mixing it up with her daycare buddies, no matter their size).
“There is an expectation of behavior, and there is someone to enforce the expectation of behavior,” Brooks, also a trainer, says, noting the civility of two nearby canines. “In very few doggie daycares would you see a 70-pound Doberman and 7-pound Chihuahua in the same play group.”