AUSTIN -- Just outside the Nordstrom Rack at the Gateway Shopping Center in northwest Austin, a big yellow car hauler sits in the parking lot. On the outside, it reads "TheBarkingGarage.com. Park your dog here while you shop."
Mary Traverse started the new business. Last month, she decided to buy the yellow car hauler, decorate it, insulate it and install air conditioning in it. She filled the inside with colorful cages of different sizes, complete with water bowls.
Traverse said her idea for an on-site mall doggie storage took some time. "I've been racking my brains for a couple of years," she said.
"I have a human practice," she said about being a chiropractor. Traverse is also a certified animal chiropractor by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.
The Barking Garage, Traverse said, came about out of desperation and need.
"I live a little bit outside of town and I love to have my dogs with me, but I just can't stand it. I can't even run into the grocery store," said Dr. Traverse.
She's from Oatmeal, a small town near Bertram, 43 miles northwest of Austin in Burnet County. Leaving her dogs in the car while she shops is not an option, and she doesn't want anyone else to resort to that either.
"A lot of times, I make a special trip back into town on a Saturday to run my errands just because my dogs would be safe," Traverse said.
This is The Barking Garage's second weekend in business, and so far there are no customers -- yet.
"The stores are really happy to have us here because they're in a hard spot," she said. "They don't want to call the cops on their clients."
Gary Biggers owns a 55-pound Huski,e but he didn't bring her shopping. He said he may next time after he heard about TheBarkingGarage.com.
"It makes life so much easier. I don't know what's in [the car hauler] but I know its cool," Biggers said. "Huskies are hot in the summer, especially here, so I think that's a great idea and I want to see more of those pop up...To save your pet's life, just to put him in there while you're shopping...because before you know it, 45 minutes go by and poor Fido is in the car."
Prices start at $10 an hour with a 30 minute minimum.
Right now, The Barking Garage is only open on weekends: Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.