Jen Covender - 9715 Clyde Park Ave SW, Byron Center, MI (616) 581-1716 -

Rates and Policies

golden retriever

We no longer provide boarding services for anything other than dogs at this time. This includes cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, other small rodents, birds, or snakes. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Dogs – Boarding

1 Dog: $30/day

2 Dogs: $50/day ($25 per dog)

3 Dogs: $60/day ($20 per dog)

Check Out Time is 10 a.m.  If you check out by 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, you will not be charged for that day.  There is no provision for Sunday morning drop off or pick up.  

Boarding charges are calculated similar to human hotels:  You are charged for a full day when your pet checks in. Our check out time is 10 a.m.  You will be charged for a FULL DAY at the BOARDING RATE if you pick up later than 10 a.m.  

For stays less than 24 hours, you will only be charged for one day.

Dogs – Daycare

1 Dog:  $20/day

2 Dogs:  $30/day

3 Dogs:  $40/day


Check In/Check Out:  Times are by appointment only between the following hours:

  • Weekends and Holidays are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
  • Weekdays in the morning between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. or again in the afternoon between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Exceptions to drop-off and pick-up times can be sometimes accommodated, so please ask!

Call, text (for established clients), or email to arrange for drop off and pick up of your pet(s).  Promptness is most appreciated!  We like to accommodate your needs and will try to work with your schedule.  Drop off and pick up can be arranged 7 days a week for your convenience.  

Cancellation Policies:   We do have cancellation policies over Holidays and Spring Break; you must give 14 days notice to change or cancel or you will be charged for your entire stay.  We do require deposits or credit card numbers to book reservations during these busy times. This ensures that people don’t hold a reservation then cancel at the last second, which would take a spot away from someone else who needs it.

Forms of Payment: We gladly accept cash, checks, as well as MasterCard and Visa.

Vaccination Requirements

  • Proof of Vaccinations below must be shown prior to check-in
  • All dog guests must be current on their rabies, DHLPP, Bordetella (canine cough), and canine influenza virus vaccine.
  • A minimum of 2 emergency contacts, not including your vet

What We Provide:  We supply all bowls and bedding for our guests, but you are more than welcome to bring washable bedding for your pet. No sheets or comforters please!  You are also welcome to bring something from home such as a special toy or two.  Please limit the amount you bring and label all of your belongings.  We will not be held responsible for lost or damaged items left.

Bringing Your Own Diets:  We recommend that you bring the food that your pet is accustomed to so as to prevent tummy upset.  Please do not bring large bags (35 lbs. and up) of your dog’s food.  We do not have the space to accommodate these items.

Flea and Tick Prevention: Since we are located in a rural setting, we require that your pet be on a flea and tick preventative when staying at Byron Center Pet Boarding. We have never had a flea infestation, and we would like to keep it that way. We check all incoming guests for fleas before check-in.

Sociability:  We go to great lengths to make your pet’s stay as friendly and comfortable as possible. We appreciate and require that our boarders be well socialized and friendly with humans as well as other dogs. We understand that some dogs prefer the company of humans to other dogs, and that is not a problem. All of our guests are required to be social enough to get along with each other in a community, cage-free setting and not to be aggressive or unable to tolerate other dogs or humans.

Safety:  Providing a safe and secure environment is one of our top priorities! Add in tons of fun, and it’s a great combination.  Our fences are standard chain-link — some areas have a 4-foot height and other areas are a 5-foot height.  All guests are required to be respectful of barriers, including fences, gates, and crates.  Each guest gets their own standard household crate to bunk down with for the overnight hours, so they must be tolerant of being crated.  All meals are served within their own crate to ensure that their own diets are consumed, prevent resource guarding, and avoid allergens associated with food.

Injury Policy:

Injury and illness are not common here, but these risks exist any time that dogs are in group play, no matter the circumstance. This is a risk you take when bringing your dog to daycare or overnight boarding where group play is allowed, similar to taking your dog to the park or beach. We would argue that the risk is actually much lower here because of our controlled environment, knowledge of dogs and behaviors, and our vaccination requirements.

Byron Center Pet Boarding does not reimburse for injury or illness while dogs are here for daycare or boarding.

In addition, if your dog requires medical attention and we cannot reach you, we must take your dog to a nearby vet of our choice, and you would be responsible for the costs associated with this visit.

If a dog sustains an injury or illness while in our care, some customers’ first response would be to say “You weren’t watching my dog” or “You got my dog sick,” followed up with “You owe me for a vet visit.” Instead of rushing to judgment and jumping to conclusions, we ask that all customers step back and consider the following:


The number of injuries here is extremely low, and any injuries are normally fairly minor and easily treated. That is not to say that we don’t take them seriously. We try to learn and improve from every situation.

If an injury has occurred:

First, take a deep breath, step back, and know that we are not the terrible business that your emotions are suggesting. The most important factor is communication, and we hope that we can keep it all as positive as possible.

We have dogs of our own, and we care for dogs deeply or we wouldn’t open our home the way we do for boarding or daycare. We understand that your dog is your baby, because we feel the same way about our own dogs. Don’t ever assume that we don’t care about your dog.

We would always call you if we know that your dog has an injury. If your mobile phone has poor reception where you are, we ask that you also give us information for your family members in the area and emergency contacts.

If your dog is injured while staying or playing here and your dog requires daily care that you cannot easily provide because, for example, you are at work, we are happy to have your dog stay here for free each day for as long as you need. We will watch over your dog, take it out for potty breaks, give medication, change bandages, whatever is necessary to restore its health and help you out.

Our goal is to get to the bottom of situations, so we ask questions and try to give reasonable explanations. The majority of the time, we are on top of what happened, but there are times where we may not have all of the answers. This does not mean we are being defensive, dishonest, not taking responsibility, or that we are not paying enough attention. It is a fact of life when working with animals that things happen, and not everything has an easy explanation.

If there is a bite injury, and especially if it is challenging to understand the exact cause or because there was no incident witnessed, this does not necessarily mean that there is an undercover aggressive dog who will do it again. We normally know very quickly if a dog shouldn’t be in play, and there could likely be other explanations.

Some customers want their small dog to play with big dogs, and vice-versa. We are the sole judge of which playgroup is most appropriate for each dog. 

How We Help Minimize the Risk of Bite Injuries:

We limit the number of dogs in each play area so that there are not too many at one time.

We have 4 different play areas for the dogs to enjoy outside playtime, but there might be times where we are inside the house caring for any puppies or other dogs requiring additional care. We are constantly inside and outside all day long monitoring the play areas, however there will be times that your dog will not have “eyes” on him throughout the day.

We do not allow dogs in play who show patterns of unacceptable aggression, as obviously it is our goal that no injuries occur. It can sometimes be challenging because a dog could snap unpredictably due to being tired, overwhelmed, or overly excited, and most cases are shades of gray instead of pure black and white. If a dog shows a pattern of snappy behavior, growling, etc., it would very likely be pulled from play. We are the sole judge of whether a dog can come back in to stay or play in the future.

We do not allow toys or tennis balls in play, as they can easily lead to aggression and resource guarding.

Dogs cannot be in play if they become aggressive towards specific breeds, sizes, colors, and so forth. It would be impossible for us to guarantee that your dog would never come in contact with another based on such specific criteria.

We separate dogs in playgroups based on their size and temperament. We do not have one huge play yard for them all to play in.

We have experience and knowledge that is common for dogs, and even for specific breeds. This helps us watch for warning signs and de-escalate play when possible.

We cannot be expected to follow highly specific instructions for every dog every day, especially that involve aggression. For example, you cannot say something like “Keep my dog away from doors,” because sooner or later they will be near a door. If something like that were the case, your dog may not be allowed to stay with us or come for a play day. Every situation is different.

Some dogs just need a break from the stimulation, and we watch carefully for this, giving extra down time when it seems appropriate and necessary.

How Can a Bite or Scratch Happen?

It is not common that one dog is simply the aggressor and one is the innocent victim. One dog could snap at another, then the other retaliates, then another may jump into the mix, all in under three seconds. They are dogs, and this can be a part of pack behavior.

A bite or scratch can happen in a split second while just playing, with no fight or scuffle, and the dogs could keep playing afterwards. They play with their teeth and nails and often do not intend to cause an injury to each other.

A puppy can have sharp nails or teeth, and some dogs have long nails. We try to catch this, and we try to communicate to puppy owners to keep puppy nails clipped, but some puppies can still come with sharp nails. There is not a lot that can be done about sharp teeth, except that dogs do not react well to them and can help a puppy learn to keep it gentle simply through pack behavior. 

Some breeds, such as boxers and bulldogs, have very thin fur and provide little protection against scratches and playbites. New owners of these types of breeds often find this out the hard way, but we do believe you will find scratches on your dog throughout its life, whether coming to play or not, and that is part of the joy of owning one.

We do our best to try to monitor play groups, but it is impossible for us to be everywhere at once, otherwise we would have to have one person for every dog here.

Ears and certain areas on the body, such as the lower leg, can have very thin skin and can be very sensitive to playbites or scratches.

Dogs communicate by showing their teeth, sometimes by biting at the air when they want another dog to go away or back off. Sometimes another dog does not understand the signals and retaliates, especially a younger dog or one who has not had a lot of experience at dog parks.

It is possible that when biting at the air, the dog actually connects with the other dog. It can be made worse if the other dog pulls backwards, which could cause a tear instead of a minor puncture. Some injuries can be made worse due to this than they otherwise would have been.

Some dogs could simply be overwhelmed by being in play, especially because this is a larger group than they are used to at home, and they may not go to parks often.

Some dogs can get snappy when tired. If we know this is the case, we will give extra down time to those dogs, but it may not be apparent that the dog is overly tired.

Humping is strongly discouraged, as some dogs react very negatively towards it. Even though we repeatedly attempt to keep a dog from humping, it could still try. We would likely remove the dog from play, but it is a judgment call about whether the dog can come back into play.

We move dogs in groups to different play areas throughout each day. For example, we may take a group outside, or we may take certain dogs inside for down time or lunch. A bite or other injury could occur when dogs are moving together like this, even if one jumps on another in excitement. It can be difficult to notice, and could happen with no warning, no scuffle, no yelp, and no prior aggression.

A dog can suddenly become territorial over something, such as a door, a member of our family, a pool, a sleeping area, and so forth, without showing prior warning signs. We try to help manage this, but cannot stop every dog in every instance, and this leads to difficult decisions about whether certain dogs can come to stay or play.

Some dogs were recently rescued, and the owners are trying to give them a chance at socialization. We try to help with this effort, and we err on the side of caution when it’s iffy. However, we do not want to immediately say a dog cannot stay with us or come to play.  On the other hand, we cannot have a dog in play who obviously cannot handle it. It is a judgment call.

Some dogs are completely fine until a new dog enters the pack. It can be challenging to predict this, especially for new dogs. If a dog shows a pattern of aggressive behavior in these instances, we must make a decision about whether it can come and stay or play, as it depends on the specific behavior. 

Some dogs can get really nervous and overwhelmed when they first enter a pack, especially with a bunch of sniffers coming at them. A dog could lash out, feeling like it has to protect itself. We ask owners questions about this, and expect people to tell us if they expect this will happen. We do encourage that dogs who may do this come as early as possible so that the pack forms around them. If they just cannot handle it, we would speak with the owner about an alternative plan, as we cannot have this happen.

We give dogs time to get used to this environment, and the vast majority of them do. Sometimes they just need to experience group play with the dogs for a while, as well as getting used to us as the people, and then they are fine. We do not necessarily want to keep them from playing forever, unless it is just obvious that it won’t work.

Our facility is our home, and a dog could injure itself on anything within our home. Granted we are quite puppy-proof, and we utilize several gates and control access to different parts of our home, but a dog could sustain an ACL injury while in play or jumping off the couch or steps down into the yard. We are not responsible for injury in these instances.

We ask all new boarding customers, if they are unsure as to their dog’s sociability, to bring their dog in for a free trial day of play before their first stay with us. This helps understand how the dog will be in play and take any corrective action if necessary.

Other Types of Injuries

Limping – sore foot pads, insect bites or stings, muscle or ligament strains or sprains, fractures, wounds, or spinal injuries.  

“Happy tail” – a situation that occurs when a dog wags its tail happily or forcefully, and smacks it against the wall or something similar, causing the tip of the tail to become injured.

“Kennel nose” – a situation where a dog in a boarding environment, such as being crated or kenneled, will rub the top of its nose raw, typically due to anxiety.

Internal injury, which could happen, for example, if a bite caused something to rupture below your dog’s skin.

Aggravation of a pre-existing injury. A bite or other injury could aggravate a pre-existing health condition.

We are not liable for these or similar situations.

How is it Possible that We Haven’t Notified You of an Injury?

We would never hope that you don’t notice an injury. Obviously, everyone would notice an injury sooner or later, and this would be foolish on our behalf. Sometimes a scratch or minor bite can be under a dog’s fur, and thus very difficult to notice, especially if a dog does not show signs of pain. Unless there has been a scuffle or signs of pain, we do not check each dog for injuries each day.

Illness and Other Health Conditions

If a person’s child gets sick at school, you wouldn’t normally blame the school, but would say it was caught from another child. With pets, some people tend to apply different logic, saying that the business got their dog sick. We do not get dogs sick – other dogs do, and we take reasonable precautions against this occurring.

Other Dogs

We vigorously require ongoing proof of vaccinations for all dogs who enter our home for either boarding or daycare service.

Like humans, some dogs can carry an illness but not show any signs of it themselves, then pass it along to others. The customer may not even realize it themselves. This can be very challenging, but is a reality with dogs.

If a dog shows any sign of contagious illness, we immediately remove the dog from play, contact you, and get your dog to the vet immediately if necessary.

Facility Features

Our facility is our home. This is where we live, eat, and sleep. A home environment allows for many creature comforts that a commercial facility would normally not supply. Our setting is much more laid back than a normal facility, thus making it a great choice for dogs who are easily overwhelmed by noise.  There are also downsides.  For example, we cannot sanitize our carpeting or plush furniture every day. We do, however, sanitize the hardwood floor on a daily basis. Additionally, we sometimes will step away from our home after having put our guest dogs safely into their individual sleeping crate while we are gone. This is a home environment, which is operated with exactly that in mind. Your dog can enjoy many of the things they do at home… they can go outside to play when they want to, and they have the choice to come inside as well. We often will go outside and play with the dogs, but there are also times that they will play outside while we are not with them. We do not employ a staff.

We clean up poop right away as well as employ a service that comes in weekly to search for hidden poops throughout our play yards.  Some dogs love to eat poop, which can lead to health conditions such as gastroenteritis, worms, or Giardia. We strongly dissuade having dogs in play who eat poop but also recognize that this can be an ingrained behavior and difficult to stop.

We only use pet-safe chemicals to combat pet-related illnesses, and your dog’s health, as well as the health of our own dogs, is very important to us. However, we are not responsible if your dog has a reaction to our chemicals, as it may have sensitive skin or an underlying health condition.

Your Dog’s Immune System

Like humans, a dog can have a weak immune system and be more prone to illness than others. This is especially true with puppies and older dogs, but is entirely possible with dogs of any age. A weak immune system can be caused by factors such as their food, whether they have a chemical deficiency, a thyroid problem, whether they are around other dogs often, their age, and how much exercise they get.

Common Health Conditions

Canine Cough

We do not experience canine cough often, but it is the most common health condition for dogs in group play. It is spread by a dog coughing or sneezing and typically lasts for a few days and goes away, sometimes with medication, sometimes not. It is normally not seen as a major threat to a dog’s health.

If a dog seems to be coughing, many vets may not be sure about whether it is canine cough or something else. It could be from barking or even a tight collar. Oftentimes they will treat it as canine cough, just to be on the safe side.

If you have a puppy, you should expect that it will get canine cough somehow during its puppyhood, whether from the park, on a walk, from your building, or possibly at boarding or daycare. Once your puppy has had it, its immune system should help fight it more strongly in the future.


Dogs can contract Giardia by drinking from puddles at the dog park or even stepping in contaminated poop and then licking their paws. They can also get it from eating poop, or drinking from a water bowl that another dog with Giardia has taken water from. Giardia causes poop to have an odor that is worse than normal. It can be misdiagnosed, and you should always get a fecal test from your vet to confirm whether it is truly Giardia. Giardia can be treated and cured with medication, although some dogs can be Giardia carriers.

Canine Papilloma Virus (CPV or “Mouth Warts”)

This appears as pink growths on your dog’s skin, frequently in the mouth. It is very contagious. A customer could bring a dog into our home that has CPV, and neither the owner nor we may realize it is present. We normally do not check dogs’ mouths unless there is a good reason. CPV can possibly be removed by your veterinarian. If you choose not to remove it, it will normally go away on its own, but this could take some time. Like chicken pox for humans, once your dog gets CPV, it shouldn’t get it again, at least not any time soon.


As unpleasant as it is, a little diarrhea after boarding isn’t usually a cause for concern and is very common. This tends to occur as a result of gut inflammation caused by over-excitement or anxiety while being boarded or at being reunited with you and your family. This will typically settle down in a few days. You may even notice a little blood or mucus in your dog’s poop. However, if they have diarrhea and aren’t drinking and/or have other worrying symptoms, you should arrange for them to be seen by your vet immediately in case there is an underlying cause. Similarly, if the diarrhea persists for more than a day or two, contact your veterinarian.

Veterinary Care

Your dog may need to go to the vet for either illness or injury while here for boarding or daycare, and if so, you are solely responsible for directly paying for the veterinary costs, whether we transported your dog or you did. If we cannot reach you, we would make the decision about which vet to go to, which will normally be based upon proximity, hours, wait time, cost, quality, reputation, and capabilities. We would not go to a vet who we believe provides poor quality care. We have no financial relationship with any veterinarian whatsoever. It may not be your normal veterinarian. If not, you could certainly have an emergency contact take your dog to any vet of your choice.

If we take your dog to the vet, they may likely call you for authorization and to discuss payment obligations before providing any medical care. You should not be upset by this – it is how it works in the veterinary and medical industry. If the vet cannot reach you, and the dog requires immediate or urgent care, we may need to sign in order for them to proceed. You would be responsible for payment in this scenario.