Mesa business

Madison Clark of Desert Pups Dog Daycare and Boarding hangs out with Cody, Rocky and Hollywood June. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

Madison Clark took her dog daycare skills from Wall Street to Main Street – or more specifically, South Stapley Drive. 

Clark last November opened Desert Pups Dog Daycare and Boarding at 1455 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa, where the 2,800-square-foot facility is built to offer the best features from her past dog daycare jobs in New York City, North Carolina and Las Vegas.

They include 24/7 boarding with overnight staff, crating options and two play areas. All this from someone who grew up around dogs but never considered this kind of a business.

“I’d never heard of the concept of a dog daycare before until I ran across that and loved every second of it,” Clark said. “And once I worked there, I knew that I wanted to bring this kind of New York City elite business type establishment to the desert.”

Growing up in Miami, Arizona, Clark’s dad worked as an American Kennel Club breeder training Labrador retrievers to work with various fire, police and narcotics agencies throughout the Southwest.

That had her grow up with a unique alarm clock.

“I was always woken up by a little puppy dog licking me awake in the morning,” Clark said.

Clark left Arizona and graduated from The King’s College in New York City with a bachelor’s degree in media, culture, and the arts with a concentration and minor in business economics. 

But while in college, Clark worked for three years at a Wall Street dog daycare. managing the company’s finances, scheduling clients and doing everything in between.

She said the owner took her on as an apprentice and  helped her learn both the theoretical and practical lessons in running a small business.

Clark aimed to make her business a safe place for owners to brings their dogs for “getting their sillies out.” 

“They loved what the daycare was for their dog and it was like a home away from home,” Clark said. “It felt like a living room, it felt like this was somebody’s home.”

Though safety remains paramount, Clark said she tries to make her dog daycare a “very comfortable” space for dog and human alike to sit down and relax, keeping it lighthearted and fun playing with the dogs and seeing them naturally socialize.

“I feel like that’s the biggest part of what makes Desert Pups different than other daycares around the Valley is that we are just a comfortable setting for dog and parent,” Clark said. 

Clark doesn’t have a restriction on breeds, she does require that all dogs be fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered if they’re older than 6 months. 

Clark said clients can find her dog Hollywood June – named for her self-described diva-like personality - wandering around the doggy daycare modeling her favorite luxury wear from Luxxpooch and making sure Clark “stays in her lane.”

The Prickly Pear Room has space for smaller, maybe less energetic or older big dogs, along with the boarding area. The Saguaro Room has space for larger or more energetic dogs. 

Mesa native Serena Estrada, 20, has known Clark for about four years and said she has been “absolutely fantastic” since the day they met and started working with Desert Pups around August 2022. 

“I am a huge dog-lover and when Madison said she was going to start a dog daycare I could not resist asking her if I could help her through this journey,” Estrada said.  

With Lexi, her cocker spaniel/lab mix, and Nina, her Yorkie/poodle mix, Estrada brings them to the daycare quite often. Estrada said Desert Pups believes in creating space for the dogs that replicates a living room. 

“This accommodates dogs like mine because they don’t interact with dogs a lot,” she said. “So giving them a sense of comfort with being in a new environment and meeting new friends.” 

Estrada said she understands firsthand the relationship between a dog and their owner and has built good bonds with both that makes working at Desert Pups an enjoyable place to work. 

“I bring this knowledge when new dogs come in and assure their owners that I will care for their dogs the same as I would treat my own,” Estrada said. “I just enjoy coming into the shop knowing they are just as excited to see me as I’m excited to see them.”

A full-time student at Arizona State University, Estrada said what she loves the most about Desert Pups are the relationships they build with the dog owners. “I appreciate their trust in us to look after their pups,” she said. 

Emily Beetler moved to Mesa just six months ago after her husband retired from the military and needed a place to board her pitbull puppy Izzy before a family vacation. 

Beetler said she found Desert Pups at the recommendation of a friend and has enjoyed the “free range” care with less kennels and more play time.

“Madison treats them all like they’re her own dogs, I don’t have to worry about when I have to leave her for 12 hours at a time because I’m at work,” Beetler said. 

 “They really have become like family to me, and it’s really nice having somewhere that I can trust that my dog is in good hands,” Beetler said. “So, I really hope that place is very successful because she really is doing a really amazing job with it.”

Information:, 928-701-2298

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