Brittany of Dog Fit Unlimited professes a lifelong love of animals, which is what prompted her to begin her own dog-walking business. During each 60-minute walk, she and her canine charge explore neighborhood parks and hiking trails and take in the sights while the pooch meets other dogs and sniffs the grass for lost jewelry. She fortifies each pup with slurps of water and treats and takes photos so owners can check out their pooches' big smiles.
Rick DuBois left a career in the cutthroat corporate world in favor of his current and more humane profession as the owner and resident "pack leader" at You Luckie Dog! The lifelong pooch aficionado brings more than 20 years of dog expertise—including a stint as a chow-chow breeder and trainer—to his canine daycare, boarding, and grooming spa. "Pretty much whatever a traditional kennel does, we do the opposite," says Rick, who personally groups his tenants into amiable playgroups according to size, temperament, and fastest time swimming the 300-meter dog paddle. The canine resort rejuvenates man’s best stressed friend with physical exercise and socialization, with stays ranging from day-long excursions to overnight boarding. The popular daycare service allows early morning drop-off and pickup as late as 8 p.m., and Rick makes a point of never smacking his customers with dollar-per-minute fees for late pickups. "I know what it's like to have meetings run long while people drone on. I want people to know I'm not trying to nickel-and-dime them."
Adam and Marisa Beck love their pets almost as much as each other. First meeting as teachers, the couple decided early on that they'd follow their dreams and open a pet facility that educates pooches as they play and mingle under the watchful gaze of an experienced staff. In addition to grooming services, Barkley Square also boards cats and dogs overnight, protecting the health of each pup in their care by requiring tests for DH2PP, giardia, and bordetella. Every overnight stay comes with a full day of play, where dogs can learn the basics of social interaction, such as not pushing other dogs off the monkey bars.
Ten thousand square feet is plenty of space for dogs to run, play, and relax. At Bark Park, dogs play both indoors and outdoors, romping onto play structures, catching balls between their teeth, and discussing alternate endings for Homeward Bound as they sunbathe on the grass. The staff supervises its canine charges 24 hours a day, even during overnight stays, and owners can take advantage of other services such as grooming and training sessions.
As the sun shines down, Santa Cruz Pet Resort’s four-legged charges scamper around on the fake turf of its outdoor yards. Broken into groups based on size and temperament, the pups leap on a trampoline, challenge each other to games of Tug of War, cool off in the kiddie pool, or hold poker tournaments inside the house play set. At night, dogs bunk down in clean and heated kennels and can share a family-sized chamber with their brothers and sisters by request. Felines enjoy playtime in the resort's Kitty Cabana, as well as one-on-one attention from staffers. Family-style care is also available, in which pets stay in the resort owner’s home and get first dibs on the remote control.
Animals are fed Eukanuba or Iams food during their stay, and owners can also schedule grooming appointments for their pets with an experienced groomer. With advanced notice, the staffers can also board other domestic pets, such as rabbits, hamsters, or imaginary twins.