Seattle transplant Shannon Rau and her husband Robert love the dog community in their Capitol Hill neighborhood, but noticed a problem when the weather turned. “Once the weather got grey and sad, there [weren’t] really any dogs out,” Rau says. “We were looking around downtown and in Capitol Hill, just to see if there were any indoor dog parks, and there weren’t.” Seeing an opportunity to fill the niche, the couple decided to do it themselves. Named after their beloved wiener dog, Martha, Martha’s Garden, a dog daycare by day and dog park and bar by night, will open in South Lake Union in spring 2020. The 3,600 square foot area will maintain the spacious feel of a dog park by having a modest bar serving all-local canned beer and wine, along with tables suitable for dogs to run around under them. “It’s pretty much just going to be 3,000 feet of open area for dogs to go wild,” Rau says.
Rau and her husband are also looking to serve seasonal dog treats and to open a possible boutique inside in the distant future. The plan is to have the daycare be a monthly membership where dog-owners can pay a flat fee in exchange for unlimited drop-in daycare. “We don’t really want to be pinching pennies on people, especially downtown where dog care is so expensive,” Rau says. “We just want to be a thing of convenience where if they need it, they can, and if they’re not feeling like it that day, they can bring their dog to work or whatever works for them.” Martha’s Garden will surely be convenient for dog owners, especially in the winter, but above all, Rau says, “We just want a place [dogs] can be safe and having a good time.”