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Dogs can thrive in daycare in many different ways: socially, in training, and beyond. And for some dogs, it’s their favorite place in the world. In the town of Gilbert, Arizona, one such story is that of 13-year-old Shih Tzu, “Hank.” Affectionately known as Hanky-Pank, his devotion to daycare is filled with unconditional love, unwavering loyalty, and the extraordinary bond between a dog and the Dogtopia of Gilbert. But how he got there? That’s a different story than you might expect.

Doing Daycare Differently

Hank’s unconventional adventure with Dogtopia began five years ago when a daycare location opened in Gilbert. At the time, Hank was 8, and even then, he was a little different than other dogs. When you think of dog daycare, you might envision dogs playing, eagerly engaging with one another, but Hank wasn’t all that interested in socializing. He prefers to watch and take it all in.

Gilbert Dogtopia owner Tina Edenfield describes Hank as “quirky.” “He never plays with anyone, but sits on the sidelines and watches like it’s a reality show. But he loves coming.”


Though how Hank displays his love for daycare might be different, his owners and the daycare staff know it’s there. Often, Hank would be the first ones through the door, getting dropped off the moment the daycare opened because he wanted to go so badly. Edenfield describes him as bugging his owners to go to daycare in the mornings, just so that he could be there longer.

It’s not just Hank’s unique personality and approach to daycare that makes his story remarkable. His love for daycare was made clear the day he embarked on an adventure of his own, demonstrating the deep love he holds for Dogtopia daycare.

An Alternative Adventure

Hank’s owners don’t live far from the Gilbert Dogtopia location, and often walked there in the mornings with Hank. One day, they couldn’t find him, and their concern grew. They later found out that Hank managed to slip out of their yard. He wandered through the neighborhood, and ended up at Dogtopia. Since he knew the way, his determination and love for daycare led him en route to Dogtopia.

While Hank was traveling on his own, his owners were frantically searching for him, starting in the neighborhood. By the time they found him, he was almost all the way to Dogtopia. His owners joked that he was determined to check into the daycare himself. Recognizing his end goal, they decided to walk with him the rest of the way to the daycare. As they walked through the doors, Hank strolled in as if he owned the place, like it was exactly where he was supposed to be.

“We’ve come to affectionately joke that it’s Hank’s Dogtopia, and we’re just lucky enough to work here,” Edenfield said.

A “Founding Pup” of Dogtopia


Since this incident, they’ve crowned Hank as “founding pup” of the Gilbert Dogtopia. Not only does he have a stellar sense of direction, memory, and determination, but his story serves as a reminder that dogs can form extraordinary connections with the people and places that bring them joy.

Dogtopia hopes to create these joyful memories for all dogs that walk through their daycare doors. With currently 250 dog daycare centers throughout the United States and Canada, it’s easy to match your dog with their new favorite place while getting daycare as well.

To find a Dogtopia location near you and discover your pup’s new favorite place, visit

Founded in 2002, Dogtopia is an early pioneer and innovator in the dog daycare industry, offering an experience focused on wellness, quality of care, safety, and transparency in the market. The ultimate destination for improving the physical and mental wellbeing of dogs and dog owners, Dogtopia helps our furry friends live long, healthy, and happy lives with services that address canine wellness in a holistic manner. Dog owners have the assurance of leaving their beloved furry family members in the hands of highly trained professionals in an environment created with the safety of dogs in mind, including spacious playrooms assigned by size and play style, comfortable rubber flooring to reduce impact on joints and paws, and webcams for dog owners to check in on their pups. For more information, visit