The question of whether to get a dog always involves the pragmatics of Fido's happiness-and his bladder-during working hours. For people who have decided they simply cannot have a dog for lack of quality 9-to-5 nurture, this daily interlude could be the turnaround. Judy Basteri, rerouting maternal instincts from her former occupation as a special education teacher, has taken upon herself the caretaking needs of other people's animals. At first she gathered her Doggie Playgroup charges together in various open spaces, but she soon discovered that they needed greater protection and built a stockade fence around her own yard. She picks up her 10 or so dogs per day, brings them to her yard, and gives them an off-leash running experience that lasts about 45 minutes. The dogs, shut-ins no longer, get to socialize with their own kind, play ball, and, in warmer weather, frolic in the kiddie swimming pool. After the romp, Basteri and her trained helpers take these latchkey dogs home and let them in their houses.
Basteri also does dog-walking and weekend feedings. She serves communities around Somerville. *Prices are $35 for a one-time evaluation, $13 for weekday visits, $10 for walks, and $20 for weekend feedings.
- Mopsy Strange Kennedy
* please note, prices have been changed
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