John Lemouel is not entirely sure when or how the idea came to him to open a doggie day care. He just knows that he is a dog lover and understands that boarding a dog at a kennel or hiring a dog-sitter can be expensive.

Aug 22/17
John McFadden/NNSL photo
John Lemouel coaxes his two dogs Benjamin and Paiden to poke their heads out of his homemade dog trailer on Tuesday. Lemouel opened Rusty’s Eye’s Dog Daycare in his home on Hwy 3 outside of the city this summer. For a donation, he will take care of people’s dogs, providing an option to boarding kennels or dog-sitters.

Lemouel, 59, opened Rusty’s Eye’s Dog Daycare this summer at his home on Highway 3 about 15 kilometres outside of Yellowknife. There is a huge sign advertising the daycare on the shoulder of the highway in front of Lemouel’s cabin.

So far, he has only had one client, a woman from Hay River who was coming to the city earlier this month for three days of business meetings. Lemouel took in her dog and everything went smoothly. Lemouel said he exercised and fed the dog and even sang and played the guitar for it.

He also kept a log/report card on how the dog spent its time while at his place. It had its run of his neatly-kept cabin as well as an adjoining trailer.

Lemouel, who describes himself as a recovering alcoholic, said that he is unable to work due to a disability and providing a dog day care allows him to constructively use his time.

Lemouel has two friendly dogs of his own. He does not have a business licence but added that he was told by Revenue Canada that he could run the dog boarding home provided it was by donation only.

Lamouel said that he wants to make potential clients aware that they leave their dog or dogs with him at their own risk. But he added that he will look after any visiting dogs the same way that he looks after his own. He has even constructed a doggie trailer that he can tow with his bicycle. Lamouel said no dogs run free and the only way he would take a dog near the highway, other than secured in the trailer, is if it is on a really strong leash.

He added that he is best suited for medium-sized to smaller dogs. Lemouel said that if someone tries to drop off an aggressive dog he may have to turn them away, partly for the safety of his own two dogs.

“The dog also has to be house trained especially in the winter when it may be too cold to go outside,” Lemouel said. “It’ll be at my discretion. You come and see me. I’ll treat them like my own dogs but if it’s a big, mean dog I’ll let you know that I can’t handle it.”

He said he named the daycare “Rusty’s” after a friend’s dog – a woman whom he said helped him through some tough times.

Lamouel said his dream is to eventually be able to board people as well – those who may have struggled with alcohol or drugs or both – who just need a place to go – away from Yellowknife. He said he himself has not had a drink for decades but he knows how difficult recovering from alcoholism can be. Lamouel said that if the dog boarding takes off – he’ll need help and he will offer lodging to people who can in turn help him look after the dogs.

“Dogs have helped inmates in southern prisons and patients in hospitals,” Lemouel said. “Dogs can help people coming out of situations and lifestyles like I came out of.”

Lemouel said he has already received donations including a huge load of gravel delivered by Yellowknife resident Mark Rocher. Potential customers now have a proper driveway to park.

He said anyone interested in boarding their dog with him can contact him at 867-445-1221 or by email at

Incidentally, Lemouel has never seen the TV show Trailer Park Boys, never mind the episode where Bubbles opens a kitty day care.