Working with animals, particularly dogs, has been Anthony Barnett’s life in Lawrence for two decades.
Barnett has owned and operated Home Sweet Home Dog Resort at 2140 Haskell Ave. since 2004, and he has served on the board and in other various roles with the Lawrence Humane Society for close to 20 years. More recently, he opened Home Sweet Home Dog Resort West near 19th Street and Wakarusa Drive.
Now, he wants to use his love for dogs and his connection to the Humane Society to start a new venture he hopes will lead to more dog adoptions in Lawrence by allowing humans and adoptable dogs to interact with each other outside of the shelter environment.
The City of Lawrence this week posted plans Barnett filed to construct a dog adoption bar called Hair of The Dog at 1837 Wakarusa, adjoining HSH West. The site, if it receives final approval from the city, will allow some of the dogs up for adoption at the Lawrence Humane Society to meet potential owners in a friendlier space.
And for the humans — they’ll be able to grab a beer or cocktail while they play with the dogs.
“I’m just excited. This is just a little bit different way (to adopt a dog),” he said. “I kind of describe it as a more kinetic way to get the community around shelter dogs instead of waiting for them to come to you. I’m excited, I hope it works, I hope people enjoy it and I hope it leads to more adoptions.”
Barnett told the Times on Tuesday that although the site doesn’t yet have that final approval, conversations with the city have been positive. He expects to have approval and construction at the property finished in the next few months and is aiming for an opening near the end of fall.
As for partnering with the Humane Society, Barnett said the site was originally going to be a second location for the group, but that didn’t end up being feasible. So instead, it will serve as a place where some of the Humane Society dogs will stay while waiting for their forever homes and allow Lawrencians to have a drink while they think about expanding their families.
“It’s always been on my mind, and I maintained a good working relationship with them through the last director and with the new director, which was kind of a transition,” he said. “This plan was made with the last director and then it was left to the current director to execute it. This just kind of turned into a way to keep them involved.”
Once Hair of the Dog is operational, it will add to a unique part of Lawrence colloquially called a “pet campus” that Barnett said doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the state. It’s a concept of bringing together nonprofit and for-profit organizations that specialize in various pet care services — like Wakarusa Veterinary Hospital, Home Sweet Home Dog Resort, Pawsh Wash, and the Humane Society — and working cohesively to offer the best options to pet owners.
“I’ve always been involved in for-profit and nonprofit business, and it’s always been obvious to me how much those two things can work together. It seemed like a way to really meld that. There’s just a lot of synergy and common skill sets and interests,” Barnett said. “I care about the dogs in the community broadly and the human-animal relationship — what having pets means to people. All of that stuff can come together and work together if we’re in proximity to each other.”
The Lawrence Humane Society did not immediately return a request for comment from the Times on the potential new partnership.
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— Conner Mitchell (he/him), reporter for The Lawrence Times, can be reached via email at email@example.com or 785-435-9264.
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