By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 17, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Like so many great things in this world, the inspiration came from a playful pack of puppies.

Needing a temporary home for a litter of pups, Elmbrook Humane Society (EBHS) executive director Holly Houston placed them in a previously unused space in the shelter to play until she could find them homes.

It took visitors about two seconds to become enamored with the dogs as they watched them run around.

Seeing more of a permanent potential for the space, Houston teamed up with Central Bark, a national doggy daycare chain, to create the first-ever Central Bark Jr. in the shelter's adoptable dog area. It officially opens Monday, Jan. 28.

Doggy daycare specializes in safe, fun, all-day long activity for canines who otherwise might spend too much time home alone, and Junior adheres to the same principles. EBHS is using the room to house compatible dogs in an open setting where they have the space to play, rest, and greet potential adopters.

"Certain dogs do not cope well coming into a shelter, especially if they were previously in a home environment," says Houston. "Other dogs simply just do not show well in a typical kennel. Central Bark Jr. gives those dogs an opportunity to better adapt to life in the shelter, and be more at ease when families who come to the shelter looking for a new companion." 

All dogs who reside in Central Bark Jr. will be eligible for free evaluations at any Central Bark. Central Bark owner Jackie Jordan has been a long-time supporter of the Elmbrook Humane Society.

"It is our hope that shelter visitors and especially adopters will see how critical it is to the health and temperament of any dog to have companionship and daily, vigorous playtime, and that resources are available for them to ensure these needs are met," she says.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”