Most customer feedback comes in the form of an email comment card or a phone call, but at a new daycare in Swanville, a wagging tail is enough to do the trick.

Over Labor Day weekend, the husband-and-wife duo of Jodi and Tyson Rowe officially opened Zeke’s Dog Retreat, a facility located on Heron Lane that is dedicated to the overall care of the family dog.

Whether a pooch is in need of obedience training, regular daycare or a place to go for an extended stay while its family is out of town, the Rowes have designed a business that can offer all of those services, plus all the extras.

For the price of daycare or boarding, each four-legged client will have access to a spacious outdoor play area, an indoor playroom that is equipped with a rubber floor — a feature that Jodi said helps prevent injuries — and kennels that can be increased in size by removing a divider. That way, a couple of dogs from the same family are able to stay together. And, each kennel has a doggie door that leads to the outdoor play area.

There is a second kennel room that is separated by the indoor playroom, a design that Jodi said helps to separate the barkers from her calmer, quieter clients.

Boarders, Jodi said, will get a complimentary bath at the end of their stay.

“If they’ve been with us for a week, they’re going to be all stinky and dirty from playing with all these other dogs,” she said.

For those canines that have a hard time being around other dogs, the Rowes have set up a separate kennel and fenced in area of the yard, where Jodi spends one-on-one time with the animal — sessions that are spent playing and socializing.

“I give what I expect my dogs to get,” said Jodi.

To make sure all animals have a safe stay at Zeke’s, the Rowes are installing a security system that will allow Jodi to monitor what’s happening in the kennels during the overnight hours.

The opportunities to play and run in open spaces with other dogs, being entertained and taken care of until they are returned to their owners, said Jodi, is important for a dog that might otherwise have spent the day at home alone while its owners are at work or school.

Daycare services for canines with busy families, said Jodi, are a must to make sure the family pet gets its needs met in terms of physical fitness and socializing. Also, it helps the dogs burn off energy and prevents them from engaging in destructive behaviors.

“They’re happiest being a dog,” said Jodi.

Both Tyson and Jodi grew up around animals, and the couple has four Labrador retrievers of their own — eight-year-old Zeke, for whom the business is named, as well as Gunner, Rudder and Willow.

Jodi’s general interest in animals grew from her childhood, especially the time she spent with her grandfather, Carlton Curtis — a man who often kept animals such as skunks, raccoons and wild turkeys as pets. The memories of the time she spent with her grandfather and his menagerie of wildlife, said Jodi, made such an impression on her that she went to work at local veterinarians’ offices after she graduated from Belfast Area High School.

A few years later, Jodi was working and raising her young daughter as a single mom. Although it was a busy time in her life, Jodi said she made the move to continue her education while her little girl was just beginning her own school experience.

“My daughter’s first day of kindergarten was my first day of college,” recalled Jodi.

Jodi, who was attending classes as part of a veterinary technician program, said she stuck with the course schedule for a while until it came down to a choice between completing her education and making enough money to support herself and her child.

“I needed to make money, so I put that on the back burner,” she said.

In the meantime, Jodi continued her work in veterinarians’ offices and animal shelters, and worked in a few other jobs to help make ends meet — she worked as a bartender for a while, and at one point she became licensed as a hairstylist.

After a few more years, Jodi met Tyson, and soon after, the two got married and settled into their home in Swanville.

Tyson, who works on oil rigs, is often out of the state or the country for weeks at a time, Jodi said. While Tyson’s profession pulled in enough money so that Jodi did not have to work, she said she soon became bored with her new role as a housewife.

Jodi said that over the years, she had worked with Frances Plessner, who owns and operates Puddleduck Retrievers out of Morrill, and she credited Plessner for teaching her all that she knows about operating a kennel. Jodi was inspired by Plessner’s work, and she had the desire to get into a profession that fit her own interests.

“That’s when I started a doggy daycare,” said Jodi.

So the Rowes established their small canine clientele, but after about five years, they decided they wanted to give their four-legged guests a more expansive daycare and boarding experience.

“Then this property came up for sale,” said Jodi. “The price was right, so we bought it.”

That was the in the summer of 2010. In the time that followed, the Rowes took their time in planning out the kind of facility they wanted, and to select contractors to complete the work that needed to be done.

In April, construction began on the building, and the Rowes began their partnerships with local contractors like well-driller Doug Cross, Mark Rae (who owns and operates Waldo Woodworking) and Dr. Yvette LaHaye of Searsport Veterinary Hospital.

The Rowes say they could not have accomplished all that they have at the property were it not for the assistance of the local contractors, and they wouldn’t trade meeting all of the people who helped them make Zeke’s a reality.

“You’re getting added friends at the end of the day,” said Jodi.

Overall, the Rowes are excited to work with local dog owners, and are looking forward to getting to know their animals.

“This is my dream; it can’t get any better than this,” said Jodi.

Zeke’s is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on weekends by appointment. Daycare clients can make arrangements in advance to drop off their pets earlier or pick them up later in the day, Jodi said.

For more information about Zeke’s Dog Retreat, call 930-0023 or visit