DOG Park KC has somehow found a way to combine three of my favorite things - coffee, beer, and dogs. When I found out that there was an indoor dog park opening in Kansas City, I knew I had to reach out to the owners, Quinten and Ellie Sepe. What I found out after our conversation is that this place is less like a dog park and more like heaven on earth. DOG Park KC just launched their Kickstarter this week (see contribution levels at the bottom of this page) so click the link at the end of this post to donate and help make this dreamland a reality. The Sepes talk about DOG Park KC and Kansas City in their own words below.
1. Tell me a little about your family. Where did the two of you meet? When did you adopt your three fur children? How did you two end up in Waldo?
In early 2014 I (Quinten) was a busy business professional who had just moved back to Kansas City from Cape Cod, MA and Ellie’s career found her in the medical field working with nearly 100% travel. Neither of us had the time for “traditional” dating, so we decided to give online dating a try. We met for the first time on February 1st, 2014 and our first date lasted 11 hours. One year later we purchased our home in Waldo, and a year after that we were married. There were, and continue to be, many adventures and shenanigans along the way. We’re both people who know what we want and aren’t afraid to get out and live life!
I (Quinten) adopted Kanga through PAWS Atlanta shelter in August 2012, while living in Atlanta for work. I had wanted a dog all through college, but knew I didn’t have the time or resources to do it responsibly. I went to PAWS that day to meet a different dog I had seen online. After it wasn’t a good fit, I went to visit with the other rescue pups they had at the facility. And there she was. Her name was already Kanga (short for Kangaroo). As a recent UMKC alumnus, I was actually wearing a UMKC Kangaroos shirt that day. It was meant to be!
We knew that we wanted to get a friend for Kanga when we had the space for another dog, so as soon as we signed on the house (Feb. 2015), we started searching. After many trips to area shelters, I found a pup online through Unleashed Pet Rescue. We went to visit her and fell in love. She was one of the sweetest pups we had ever met. We decided to name her Joey, because Kangaroo...Joey...get it? She still needed to be spayed, so we had them schedule the surgery for the day after we moved into our new home. We hoped that introducing a new dog and a new space to Kanga at the same time would eliminate any possessiveness that she may have over “her space”. It worked perfectly. The two of them bonded within a matter of days and are now basically inseparable.
Gomez… Gomez is Ellie’s special little runt (who we affectionately call “squirrel dog”). When he was a 3-month-old puppy (July 2015), Gomez was rushed from a pet store to the animal hospital where Ellie works. He was unresponsive and Ellie was part of the team that cared for him and kept him alive. During his months of recovery, Gomez and Ellie formed an unexplainable bond and he came to be ours. We had no intentions of getting another dog, but sometimes life has other plans. Gomez is only 4 pounds; Joey and Kanga are about 40 pounds… He is without a doubt the pack leader.
So, how/why Waldo? While completing my undergraduate at UMKC (2008-2012), I had spent many a day writing papers at One More Cup, Coffee Girls, or The Roasterie Café, and many a night barhopping through Waldo with my friends. When Ellie and I began our house hunt, we knew we didn’t want to be all of the way downtown or out in suburbia, but somewhere in between. We wanted to a fun, tight knit, passionate community. A place with plenty of small businesses and friendly neighbors. What better place than Waldo? We are excited to have made Waldo our home and can’t wait to make it the home of DOG Park KC. We believe Waldonians will really embrace the space.
2. Besides being the only indoor dog park in KC, what will set Dog Park KC apart from the other dog parks in the city?
When DOG Park KC is up and running we will offer a 6,000 sqft INDOOR off-leash dog park with large bay doors that open up to an outdoor patio that will allow for airflow and outdoor play space on nice days. We will serve beer, wine, coffee and various bottled soft drinks. There will be a café area separated from the park space by a half wall where you can get some work done with our free wifi or just to hang out with your friends while you dog plays in the park. We will offer DOG Park KC Hotel, which is our personal brand of boarding with daily-supervised exercise in the park. In a planned second phase, we intend to have pre-packaged local food and a weekend brunch. In a planned third phase, we intend to open DOG Park KC Daily, which is our personal brand of day care with daily-supervised exercise in a separate off-leash area. Everything with time. We want to build something that is a space for the Waldo and Kansas City community to share for years to come. Part of that means diligently planning for the future and not biting off more than we can chew from the start.
The park will offer the above aspects that help set it apart, and membership is geared toward:
- Dog owners, who seek a safer, more controlled environment to socialize and exercise their pets. We will be uniquely equipped to meet this need through temperament testing of all dogs and having park attendants trained to identify and defuse behavior that could lead to unfavorable situations. Another unique aspect we bring to the table is the ability to accomplish all of these things without dogs getting dirty or smelly. The parking is even covered! So in the rain, winter, or extreme heat, you and your dog will have a place to be.
- Dog owners who want to go out for a drink with friends after work, but don’t want to leave their dog at home. After all, their pup has already been home alone all day while they’re at work. Now their pup can come, too!
- Parents who stay home during the day and want a place to go with the kids AND the dog.
- Dog owners who want all of the pluses of the dog park, but with things for them, too. i.e. beer, wine, coffee, food, wifi.
- Dog owners who want all of the pluses of the dog park, but without the big ordeal that is packing up the car, driving out a ways, walking from the car all of the way into the park, cleaning off the dog before getting back into the car, etc.
In short, we love dogs, wine, beer, coffee, wifi and food. We’ve been able to determine a lot of others in the area do, too. We believe it’s a recipe for success.
3. What are your plans for future events you will host? Do you have some ideas for what people can look forward to attending in your space?
DOG Park KC is a space for both you and your dog to be energized, exercised, and socialized. This includes monthly themed events such as girls night out, social nights, sporting event “tailgating” and game watching with your pup, and movie nights...just to give you a few ideas. We will also host events geared toward healthy eating and exercise for you and your pup such as dog treat making classes, yoga with your dog, and agility days, among others. We will be partnering with local rescue organizations to host adoption events. We will also be partnering with local dog training professionals to host behavior and development opportunities for our members and their pups. At DOG Park KC we want your relationship with your dog to be the best it can be. We are dedicated to building a space and community for exactly that.
4. What is your favorite thing about Kansas City? Do you have any favorite spots around town?
We like to joke with out-of-towners that Kansas City is our little best kept secret. They are amazed by some of the things that make it so great, such as an immense love and appreciation for the arts, contagious smiles and hospitality, a thriving small business community, a lively social scene, urban technology pioneering, lush parkways and sprawling parks...oh, also BBQ and fountains. The question, though, was “What is your favorite thing about Kansas City?” So if we had to pick just one thing, we unanimously agree it is Kansas City and its resident’s overwhelming sense of hometown pride. Pride in our teams, pride in our communities, pride in our businesses and overall pride for our city. We are a proud bunch, and we believe rightfully so. It’s an exciting time to be a Kansas Citian, and we are elated that DOG Park KC gets to be a part of it.
Around town you can almost always find us consuming copious amounts of caffeine. Whether it’s One More Cup (our personal favorite), Coffee Girls, The Roasterie, Latte Land (Kaldi’s), Oddly Correct, Thou Mayest, Quay Coffee, or Westport Coffee House. Speaking of Westport Coffee House, you will find us there on many weekends eating pita and hummus and playing Pac-Man before catching an improv show at the Kick Comedy Theatre (so awesome, you have to go). If you happen to catch us at a bar it will usually be one of the following... Gambals, Westport Saloon, Green Room, Tower Tavern, Sol Cantina, or anything in Waldo. Oh, and Snow and Co. for some awesome frozen cocktails and board games.