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."
Sacred Cross Horse Services founder Ashley Mason has transformed her extensive background in horseback riding and show jumping into a unique training program. At stables tucked away in redwood forests, students attend English-style riding lessons that focus on basic fundamentals such as grooming, tacking, and learning how to bond with horses. The lessons cater to students' individual needs and skill levels while simultaneously prioritizing their education and enjoyment. Sacred Cross also leads horse camps for children, as well as lessons designed to impart a sense of responsibility, teach empathy, and stop them from trying to lead the dog into a canter. Students are required to wear long pants and heeled shoes while riding.
When it comes to dogs, Elite Canine Daycare & Spa's owner Lisa Hoselton has seen it all. Over the years she has shown dogs, trained dogs, and studied canine nutrition. At Elite Canine Daycare & Spa, she and her staff of stylists and trainers implement their diverse knowledge of dogs, pampering canines with grooming services and presiding over cage-free daycare facilities. Groomers tend to furry clientele in a calming environment outfitted with flameless candles and canine furniture designed to withstand frantic tail wagging. Pups relax with foamy bubble baths and vanilla blueberry facials or show off new breed-specific haircuts. Canine birthday parties give dogs a reason to cut loose seven times each year, devouring doggie birthday cakes and looking forward to doggie retirement.
Combining personal training with play-care, The Grateful Dog caters to canines with an active and stimulating schedule plus a 1:6 handler-to-dog ratio. Over the course of each 12-hour play-care session, day-tripping doggies will enjoy two to three walks, including jaunts to breezy Fort Mason, as well as one-on-one time with a trainer and play time with a handler. The Grateful Dog also pampers pups with organic treats, filtered water, and mini massages before letting them loose to run in circles and bark at invisible aliens free of guilt or any sense of propriety.
With a 10,000 square foot roof deck, private suites, and indoor pools, Wag Hotels would be a swanky destination for any human. But as much as they might want to—and as much press as they might have read about the hotels—bipeds aren't welcome to spend the night at either of the hotel's locations. Instead, cats and dogs rule the roost at these luxury pet resorts.
Both locations are open 24/7 and offer more than 5,000 square feet of playrooms where pups romp around. Spacious boarding rooms with flat screen TVs await canines spending the night while two-level kitty condos—designed by feline specialists at UC Davis—keep cats entertained with built-in exotic fish tanks. And for top dogs, Wags offers Golden Gate and Presidio suites, both outfitted with raised Cal King beds and in-room aromatherapy dispensed by employees or a tower of devious cats wearing a trench coat to look like an employee. Animals can even indulge in the hotel's spa, which offers such grooming services as oatmeal shampoos and puppy pedicures.
To ensure each four-legged guest's visit is comfortable, Wag's team employs the Wag Care 360 approach. This approach includes sanitizing the facility regularly and allowing owners to check in on their pets via the hotel's web cams. Wag also provides dog training courses and pet CPR classes.