Hundreds of dogs and their human parents packed the house Thursday for the 2019 Hounds' Hideaway prom night.
The doggy daycare closed its doors and shut down for the day to spend time decorating for the event.
“I must seriously be losing my mind,” owner Lacey Vance wrote in a Facebook post announcing the event on the Hounds' Hideaway Pet Parents page.
Dressed to the nines in their lace and pearls and hats and penguin coats, the pups took to the dance floor — or rather, play area — while their humans enjoyed socializing and laughing at the silly outfits from the sidelines.
Vance told the Log Cabin Democrat they did a small-scale version of puppy prom back in 2016 after they opened the Conway business — located off Old Military Road — but never thought they’d have the manpower to do a larger one.
With an increased staff and PPA (Pet Parent Association) — similar to a parent teacher organization at an elementary school — they were able to accomplish the grand task.
“We have an army of people that love getting together with their dogs and enjoy helping out,” Vance said. “One of [the PPA members] mentioned doing a prom again at a meeting a few months ago and we just ran with it.”
Vance, the owner of several dogs, noted there are so few places where parents and their pets can all interact together.
“We love that the pet parents are getting to participate in this event and they're so excited to get to watch their dogs play with their friends,” she said. “The bottom line for me is this: there is so much negativity in the news and the world that if one night of being full-blown harmlessly ridiculous makes people happy, then who cares?
“Sure they're just dogs, but they bring people joy, and these people are the same ones who are constantly finding homes for strays, reuniting lost pets with their owners, donating food to shelters, and even taking foster dogs into their own homes temporarily.”
Vance said it’s those people that deserved a night to just be “crazy dog people.”
That idea didn’t disappoint either. In total, more than 110 attended crammed into the backroom to watch their pups play in their prom outfits, take photos under the handmade balloon arch and socialize among themselves during the three, one-hour time slots.
The LCD asked Vance if she expected such a great reaction from the Hounds' Hideaway Community.
“Honestly, yes,” she replied, laughing. “Like I said, there are just so few ways for people to safely socialize with each other and their dogs, especially in Conway, so people really jump at the chance to take advantage of an opportunity to do so.”
Vance said the HH community is just that — a community.
“I love that they want to spend time getting to know each other and hang out with their dogs,” she said.
Overall, Vance said, the formal event went better than they expected, with her “favorite outfit” of the night including all the puppy tutus.
“They just looked so adorable when the dogs ran around in them,” she said. “Parents were super respectful of the ground rules we laid out for participating and the dogs were all on their best behavior. Everyone has said they really enjoyed themselves and were thankful to get to come.”
This is not the only dog-friendly event HH has helped to facilitate. Pack leaders have helped put together hiking days, then the PPA and patio nights at King’s Live Music in downtown.
The LCD asked Vance why HH takes their jobs beyond the front doors.
“We really love Conway and are invested in doing our part to make it a place where dog people want to live,” she said. “The more we became connected to our pet parents through our normal services, the more we wanted to get to know each other beyond that customer/provider relationship.”
Vance said those deep relationships go both ways. Not only does it help the pet parents feel more trust that we have their pet’s best interests in mind but also helps the HH employees feel their work is valued and important.
“Most of our employees are 20-23 years old and are looking for that connection that makes them feel they are doing work that matters and knowing that they are important not only to the pets in our care but to their parents as well helps them fill that need,” she said. “It's hard to form connections at drop off and pick up, so going on hikes, holding classes, happy hours, and even puppy proms, help give us outlets to form that solid bond with the dog people community."