Working in the City

By Katie Faulkner  |  Photography by Emily Long

Courtney and Bob Poore have pursued their passion for pets into multiple businesses, the latest of which, Play Wash Pint, opened in September of last year.

After successfully launching Nooga Turf and Nooga Paws, the couple decided to try their hand at the service industry with an innovative idea: a posh, private dog park that doubles as a pint bar and social scene for the pets’ people. The playful idea has been brewing for years.

As Bob explains, “We began diving into the idea of a health-conscious pet food store, when our own dog, Bode, was diagnosed with bone cancer. You know, a dog really doesn’t have any vices like smoking that can lead to cancer, so the number one culprit has to be what they’re eating, right?”

Based on their desire to help their beloved Bode, they dove into the pet industry. “Since opening the store six years ago, we’ve expanded, and I was chomping at the bit to explore different areas in the pet industry,” Bob says. As he puts it, he was actively looking for his next move.

A regular customer at Nooga Paws happened to own the Southside real estate where Play Wash Pint ended up. Upon mentioning the lot to Bob, his and Courtney’s idea began to take a more realistic shape. “I realized there were parks like this in other large cities, and we knew Chattanooga would be a great place for one because it’s such a dog-forward-thinking and outdoorsy community,” he says.

Touring the overgrown lot that surrounded an apartment complex, Bob admits it was difficult at first to visualize their dream. But after some extensive excavation, turf laying, and interior remodeling, the couple had created an approximately 12,000-square-foot synthetic grass dog park. “It’s currently one of the largest, if not the largest synthetic grass dog park in Tennessee,” Bob says.

“A dog and a beer? That’s got to be the closest thing to Heaven on Earth!”


– Owner, Bob Poore

 


Chattanooga’s newest dog park now boasts three separate play zones outside for the pooches, and inside there’s a pint bar for their humans, self-wash stations, and treats and doggie merchandise. They also offer facilities for special events and doggie day care. Brews on tap and in stock include as many local favorites as possible and other popular craft and mainstream beers, plus a bottled dog brew for your furry best friend.

The “Social Mixer” yard is the largest space and, according to Bob, “By far the most popular!” It consists of doggie obstacles and, in the hotter months, pup pools and shade tents; this yard is an area for off-leash play and social mixing for pets and owners alike. There’s also a “Small Dog Yard” which can be reserved and rented for birthday parties (complete with a cake if you like!). And finally, there is the “Fetch Zone”: a long straight alleyway of turf, out of the way of the rest of the play yard, for dogs who love to chase tennis balls or Frisbees to have room to run.

While their dogs play in any of the three yards, owners can socialize by walking around or taking advantage of the pint bar’s patio – all while remaining in view of their pup. There’s never a need to worry, as “Ruff Rangers” are on duty and trained in CPR and doggie first aid, as well as healthy behavioral modification techniques. “Our Ruff Rangers are always there to help out if there’s a problem, and they try to spot potential problems before they arise. But honestly, we’ve had such responsible owners visiting that they almost always self-correct their own dogs before a Ranger ever has to step in,” Bob shares.

With an innovative business that seems to have staying power, the Poores are constantly looking forward. “Oh, it’s been so much fun. I would love to partner with a local brewery to make a dog beer; I think that’d be so cool. I’d love to see us open a second location as well. I think Chattanooga is a perfect place for it.”

From two passionate pet owners who took a dive into the industry simply out of their shared love of animals, a private and secure dog park has emerged that seems to be stealing not just the Southside’s, but all of Chattanooga’s hearts. Owners can feel secure knowing that every dog admitted has to show proof of vaccinations as well as a record of spay or neuter, and trained professionals are available to assist with most any circumstance. With all the pieces in place, Play Wash Pint is a great setting to kick back with a brew and your best buddy.

“That’s the main goal for all the services we offer and for everything about this business. We just want to provide a safe, convenient place to reconnect with your buddy who waits on the couch all day for you to come home – a place to reconnect with your dog.”

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