Dog days can be an affair of the heart


Michael Argentieri, Contributor

There are no ‘la de da’ days for Holly Donohue these dog days. Donohue owns and operates two dog care facilities in the south towns and is also a mom to five rescue dogs. Donohue starts her day at La De Da Pet Spa, located at 2799 Southwestern Blvd in Orchard Park. At about 3 p.m. or so, she heads to her other business, a recently opened indoor dog park and restaurant by the name of K9 Barks N Brews, 2866 Pleasant Ave, at the corner of Southwestern Blvd in Hamburg.
La De Da Pet Spa is a full-service salon that offers dog day care for dog socialization, exercise and play, a professional grooming parlor as well as cage free boarding. A customer named Georgette, who has taken advantage of all that La De Da has to offer says, “I have been a customer of La De Da Pet Spa for years. My dogs absolutely love going there, they get excited as soon as I pull in the driveway.”
After growing up in Buffalo, Donohue went to Trocaire College first to study, as she says, “human medicine” and then she switched to business management. After six years of college, she found herself running a call center. A good job that she was good at, but a job that she just wasn’t truly passionate about.
Donohue left behind 21 years as an executive vice president in the world of customer service to enter the dog care industry, as she says, “it started as a joke, I told everyone that I’m just gonna leave and play with dogs the rest of my life,” which she eventually did. First, she purchased La De Da in 2016 and then opened K9 Barks N Brews last December.
Donohue, a true dog person said, “I have had a dog my entire life at every juncture and now I have five.” Donohue doesn’t just offer playgrounds and shampoo baths to pooches, she even rescues, fosters, and adopts dogs as well.
Her most rewarding and recent memory was rescuing a 12-year-old puggle named Sam. Sam was found living in an abandoned house during the winter with no electricity and no heat. He burrowed his way into the middle of a couch just to survive. The dog was believed to have cancer at the time, infested with fleas, and suffering a skin condition all while starving. Thankfully, there was no cancer, the fleas are now gone, his skin has cleared up and the little pug will never be hungry again. Sam is one of the five dogs now living with Donohue.
Another rewarding rescue story in Donohue’s life is a 5-year-old, three-legged Husky named Arrow, which she rescued after the dog was hit by a car and needed to have a leg amputated. The owner was going to put Arrow down, but Donohue saved Arrow’s life. There is also another puggle named Charlie (14), a Basset-Corgi mix named Girlie (10), and Huey (2) a Jack Russell Pug or by the designer dog name, a “Jug.”
Donohue and her staff plan to hold future events including a pet first aid and CPR class, painting with your dog. A rescue event was held earlier this month at Barks N Brews, hosted by the Hamburg Mutts for Freedom.
Owning and operating two successful businesses and being a mom to five dogs is quite a workload and Donohue admits that she has her hands full. The humble and hardworking Donohue says the secret to her success is “determination.” From this reporter’s perspective it’s more like determination, hard work, a small ego, and a big heart.