Breaking News
More () »

'Central Bark' | Marine veteran brings different take on doggy daycare to Jacksonville

Celebrating the grand opening of Jacksonville's first Central Bark, Mark McKenzie, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Marines, hopes to change the pet care industry.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Working through groups of visitors at his freshly opened Central Bark store and doggy daycare, Mark McKenzie brushed aside questions about him. Saturday was for the dogs.

McKenzie, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Marines, is the franchise owner of the first Central Bark in Jacksonville. The daycare focuses on what they call a "Whole Dog Care" approach, hoping to take a unique place in the pet care industry.

"It's everything good for a dog," McKenzie said. "We do daycare, we do boarding, grooming. We have a retail section that is only good products for dogs."

During the grand opening Saturday, dogs were able to socialize, play brain teaser puzzles and check out the new facility. McKenzie said he hopes the store's active and engaging style of pet care can carve a unique place in the Jacksonville market.

"We want to engage the dog physically, mentally and emotionally," McKenzie said. "When they leave we want them to be tired but happy."

Central Bark is also working with the Jacksonville Humane Society, with on-site adoptions. 

McKenzie, 53, said the daycare will provide a blend of exercise, social group play, learning and rest.

"We want to engage them physically, so we take them outside and play. Then we want to engage their brain, so we come back in mentally, and we do food puzzles, food kongs, training, and activities," McKenzie said. "Anything that makes them smile, and you can tell when a dog is happy right? You see a dog, you see that smile on their face, it just gets bigger."

Central Bark Jacksonville is located at 5614 San Jose Blvd. and the store's phone number is (904) 730-1200.

Before You Leave, Check This Out