A canine Christmas

Before heading downstairs to get their photos taken with Santa, the owners met for a continental breakfast provided by Sloppy Kisses.

Next, the owners and their dogs were given an opportunity to decorate their own dog bone for the holidays. Finally, the dogs moved downstairs and formed a line, with Chihuahuas, golden retrievers, bulldogs and many other breeds mingling as the waited to give Santa a big wet kiss.

Sloppy Kisses is not a franchise, although its owner, Melanie Dallas said she is considering branching the store out to have other locations in more states.

"I started this business three years ago, basically as a therapy," said Dallas.

As a stay-at home mom, she said she needed a reason to get out of the house for a break once in a while.

She was inspired to start a business based on her love for her 11-year-old chocolate lab Marley.

"Kids kind of take on another plateau. She [Marley] is the only one who greets me at the door at the end of the day," Dallas said.

Dallas' husband left his job as a nuclear engineer to help his wife pursue her business endeavors.

"She [Marley] was my original baby," she said. "I started baking for her when we first got her."

Dallas' doggie-treat baking skills began to pay off when she opened her store, located at 493 Broadway, in Saratoga, where she sells homemade dog treats.

Three years later, Dallas has expanded Sloppy Kisses to include the original location in Saratoga and the kiosk at Clifton Park Center -- though she hopes to see more stores opening up in the future.

The proposed store at Clifton Park Center would have an outdoor entrance.

"The reason we want to be outside the mall is that we want to be able to have customers bring their dogs in the store," said Dallas.

Dallas also said that with cooperation from Clifton Park Center, the outdoor store would hopefully be open in April or May of 2009.


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