Meet Your Merchant: Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge takes doggie day care to new level |

Meet Your Merchant: Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge takes doggie day care to new level

Sunny gets a haircut during his stay at Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge. From left: groomer Sandra G., owner Steve Sewell, and operations manager Brenna Steinmeyer.
Courtsy Jenny Luna |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Lola leaps and bounds toward her owner, barking and wagging with joy as the two are reunited at the end of the day. The Maltese Shi Tzu goes to Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge for doggie day care and spends her day playing with other dogs, snoozing in an air conditioned kennel, and having a bit of one-on-one cuddle time with an employee.

“Truckee is a dog place,” said the lodge’s owner Steve Sewell. “Everybody up here is a dog person.”

Steve and his wife Laura Vanderpool have owned the pet lodge for three years.

Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge is not unlike a children’s day care center. The rooms are painted in bright colors and soft piano music plays during naptime. Owners can take bedding or blankets from home to make their pets more comfortable.

“We keep it quiet and peaceful so they’re not nervous or agitated,” said operations manager Brenna Steinmeyer.

Brenna said she knew every dog breed “under the sun” by the age of 12 and if she were a dog she’d be a Staffordshire terrier. The proclaimed dog lover has worked at Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge for eight years.

Cooper and Tahoe go for doggie day care five days per week. The Siberian huskies feel comfortable and at ease at the pet lodge. Their kennels are kept cool during the summer and they receive the exercise they need each day.

“The more they stay the more we get to know them,” said Steve.

Steve’s philosophy is “a tired dog is a good dog,” and he ensures his guests and employees receive ample time daily to burn off pent-up energy.

The outdoor play area at Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge has Fisher Price slides, a kiddie pool in the summer, and dug-out snow tunnels in winter.

“The staff isn’t too excited to go outside when it’s cold, but the huskies love it,” Steve said with a laugh.

Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge offers long-term stay and day care for cats and dogs as well as grooming services. The 10,000 square foot building can accommodate 103 animals and has two full service kitchens, as many pets have special dietary needs.

For dogs with high-end taste, like the Labrador named Bailey, the pet lodge offers “Old Greenwood.” Sponsored by and modeled after the golf course and country club, the Old Greenwood kennels have hardwood flooring, overstuffed armchairs and flatscreen TVs. Bailey’s owner takes in the pup’s favorite DVDs to watch during quiet time.

Brenna said the pet lodge staff does everything they can to make the canine’s stay more like home.

Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge also throws parties for its beloved guests throughout the year. The front room displays photos of puppies posing with Santa, with green hats for St. Patrick’s Day, or doggies in their doggie leis for the kick off to summer luau.

“Everybody tells you a little story about their dog, why you should take extra special care of him,” said Brenna.

Truckee Tahoe Pet Lodge is a place for dog people, by dog people. When asked, the employees gush about their own animals — mutts and mastiffs, poodles and Labradoodles.

“I cannot imagine not having a dog,” said employee Jamie Sandalu. “How awkward to come home and have no one greet you at the door.” Jamie is “mother” to Clifford, a Rottweiler mix, and George, a terrier mix.

Steve has at home what he calls a “small zoo,” with five llamas, three dogs and two cats. His two mastiffs — Tank and Maggie — weigh more than 150 pounds while Zulu the whippet runs circles around them.

Dog names can vary as much as their personalities and breeds, Brenna said. Noodle Ramen, Pepperoncini, Miss Beeser, and Bear Boy are some of the names less common than traditional Buddys or Baileys.

“People name their dogs anything you could think of,” Brenna said with a laugh.

Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at

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