Founded in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1996 by pet owners who were sick of bothering neighbors to care for their furry charges when they were busy or away, Out-U-Go! keeps beloved animals happy when their owners are unavailable. Certified members of Pet Sitter International, Out-U-Go’s fully licensed and bonded pet professionals undergo a rigorous screening process, putting in time at the company's Dog Walk University to learn how to deal with willful pets, calmly handle emergencies, and internalize animals’ fear of vacuums. New customers start off with a free meet and greet, with sitters coming to the house to meet dogs, cats, and smaller critters, and discuss special needs and routines. Services range from daily walks to full-time housesitting and pet taxi rides to groomers, vets, and kennels.
Outfitted with spas and treadmills, Pooch Hotels are nearly the same as human accommodations, with one key difference: your dog might get a tummy-rub with their turndown service. These venues were all designed by dog-lovers whose main priority was canine comfort, regardless of the length of each guest's stay.
Dogs on daycare visits, for example, are sorted by size and temperament before entering one of multiple play areas. Monitored by human "Pack Leaders," they socialize amidst toys, treats, and wading pools at select locations, or run outside if the weather and facilities permit. Those who have booked a room for the night can relax in a private suite, outfitted with a glass door rather than bars. These range from standard to presidential and even palace suites—rooms outfitted with luxury bedding and flat-screen televisions tuned to dog-friendly programming. Customers might also schedule a spa appointment for their pooch, choosing from services such as baths, "pawdicures," and even facials.
The hotels pursue peace of mind for owners as actively as they pamper their dogs. Certain locations have installed web cameras in the play areas and suites, enabling people to check in on their pets and guilt them about the time they napped instead of writing a postcard. Staff remain on-hand at all times to welcome newcomers and care for already-snoozing pups.
As a comprehensive source for natural, biologically appropriate dog and cat foods, Paw Naturals helps pet owners to properly nourish their companions. The fur-friendly delicatessen specializes in healthy cuisine, keeping aisles stocked with grain-free, raw, and homemade foods. In addition to US-produced products, Paw Naturals works with small, family-owned businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Canada to obtain small-batch organic pet foods. Allergy-accommodating, age-specific, and weight-management options also allow shoppers to feed companions with special diets. A Paw Naturals–approved selection of grooming supplies helps to keep coats healthy and increases each canine's chances of getting asked to the prom.
Though lifelong animal lovers, owners Jennifer and Chris Stavrianos' passion for dogs and cats reached a new level of dedication when they began caring for strays around their Westside Chicago neighborhood. The experience inspired them to open Pet Care Plus in 1998. In the 13,000-square-foot facility, pups can scamper across an expansive rubber-surface playground, enjoy training and grooming services, and, in the summer months, head outdoors to frolic in the in-ground swimming pool. Some dogs stay only during the day while their people are at work, but Pet Care Plus also hosts overnight guests of both canine and feline persuasions. Training classes for dogs of all ages are available to keep behavior in check when pets return home. Grooming packages range from simple baths with brushing to a full-service mane makeover complete with nail polish or custom conditioners.
For Joseph Giannini and Tommy Spinosa, the standard cement-and-chain-link boarding facilities they encountered simply would not do for their pooch. They decided to create their own facility where pets could live like kings among dangling chandeliers, plush sofas, and a staff who know them each by name.
The product of their imaginations is a cage-free boarding zone where every dog and cat forgoes the confines of stressful, cramped crates, and a chaperone is always on hand to ensure pets are safe and not blowing their life savings by shopping for chewable shoes on the Internet. A pickup and drop-off taxi runs pups to and from the boarding facility. And each dog is live on a webcams, where owners can check in to ease their minds. Aside from doggie boarding and daycare, Urban Out Sitters’ services also include at-home kitty sitting for self-possessed felines who don't want to pack up their things and leave home simply because their humans did. An onsite retail completes the pet-care puzzle, selling grooming products, food, and collars and leashes.
Pet Stuff's staff stacks aisles with everything needed to pamper and nourish furry friends. Many offerings are organic, and because the store's motto is "your pets are personal to us," staff members will read pet diaries from cover to cover before recommending purchases.