Where: 1612 Skelton Road, Gainesville
Phone: 770 500-2588
Scot Rucker needed a place to keep his customers’ dogs while training them, and that’s how Fido’s World was born.
“I was hauling two and three dogs around in my car ... and they were staying at home with me,” he said.
His aunt, Dee Whitenton of Alto, showed him a 25,000-square-foot building on Skelton Road, near Shallowford Road in Gainesville, where he could board and train dogs.
Rucker’s first reaction was “This place is way too big.”
Soon after, he and Whitenton became business partners, settled on the Skelton Road location and are now planning to open Fido’s World on June 17. A grand opening is planned two to three months later.
While the motivation may have been to support Rucker’s dog training business, the operation will feature a variety of mostly canine-focused offerings.
Under construction are two dog parks — one each for big and small pooches — in front and to the side of the store, originally Archie’s Sporting Goods, which closed during the 2007-09 recession.
The parks will be fenced-in and have artificial turf.
Pet owners will pay a membership for their dogs to play, but first, dogs will have to pass a “temperament test” to make sure they can play nicely.
The parks also will feature benches where owners can rest while their dogs roam. Owners also can sip beverages bought from Fido’s World’s organic juice and coffee bar inside the store.
Also inside the store are areas where customers can have their dogs groomed or wash their dogs themselves.
“We supply the shampoo, towels, everything they need,” Rucker said.
The business also will feature a retail area, where dog owners can buy food, treats and other supplies.
The dog kennels used for boarding are equipped with cameras so owners can use their computers to log onto Fido’s World’s website and check on their pets.
Fido’s World isn’t totally dog-focused.
Cat boarding also will be available, and certain products, such as food and litter, will be on shelves in the retail area.
Rucker quickly added, “I don’t train cats. Sometimes they’re feisty.”
Training dogs — a process that normally takes 10 days — is dear to Rucker’s heart.
A member of the Humane Society of Forsyth County, Rucker said, “We see a lot of dogs come in that never have any attention or get training. A lot of people turn their dogs in because they never get them training.”
“People get dogs and don’t realize how much work they are.”
Overall, it’s a labor of love.
“It’s really rewarding,” Rucker said. “I get to play with dogs all day, but I get to help a lot of people, too.
“More of it’s (about) training people than ... dogs. The dogs are the easy part. People have to learn to be consistent in everything else.”
One of his employees, trainer Gabrielle Harden, said that, for her, this is a dream job.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was itty-bitty,” she said.
But, in addition to a passion, “you have to have the patience and the willingness to work with the dogs — and the people.”