When The Comfy K9’s staff of animal behaviorists planned the layout for their luxury dog-boarding lodge, they tried to put themselves in the shoes of their four-legged friends. They thought it might be nice to frolic around a 3,000-square-foot indoor park during six-hour daycare sessions, so they built one and lined it with artificial grass. They also thought it might be nice to play with like-minded pups, so they made sure that it would be easy to separate their guests by size, temperament, and age. This level of careful planning is most evident in the overnight boarding lodge, where dogs bunk down on elevated beds in suit rooms. Each room is separated from the others by a wall of opaque glass blocks, which allow in plenty of light yet spare dogs judgmental looks when they change into pajamas with cats printed on them.
Speaking of cats, they also enjoy comfortable quarters—albeit in a separate area of the building. Owners can schedule appointments for grooming and therapeutic massage during their pets’ visits, or stay on for training sessions conducted by experienced instructors.
Whenever Brian Corby bathed his dog Presley, she shook and squirmed, flooding the bathroom and exhausting her owner. Taking her to the groomers was hardly better: careless clippers nicked her belly and chipped her nails too short, dashing her dreams of modeling in poker dog portraits. Fed up, Brian enlisted his long-time pal Greg to come up with an alternative, and the result was Green Dog Wash. They staff professional dog groomers whose exacting standards dictate that fur is cleansed with natural shampoos, teeth are brushed, and ears and eyes are cleaned. Owners can also bathe their furry companions themselves in a professional grooming center with tubs, shampoos, and towels, avoiding the hassles of cleaning up at home. When pets drop by one of Green Dog Wash's two locations, they often pull their owners over to the gift section, which stocks eco-friendly treats and toys. The goods, including Natural Balance dry dog food, West Paw Design beds, and K-99 natural treats, double as enticing bribes for dogs reluctant to shower off.
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.
Raised on a New Mexico ranch, Jordan Di Marco has been an animal person her whole life. After starting Dogma Catma Pet Sitting as a side job while in college, she soon realized it was her calling. Understanding that pets are most comfortable at home, Jordan and her staff provide services that include pet visits while owners are away. During that time, they feed, medicate, and walk the animals. The staff also offers 12-hour overnight stays as well as grooming services and fish-tank maintenance.
Muttz Pet Goods & Gifts stores a deep vault of toys, food, and other supplies that help sustain and enhance the relationship between humans and their pet dogs, cats, birds, and fish. A member of the store's staff of animal lovers will help patrons comb through the store's selection of 35 food brands to find the right cuisine for animals with food allergies, sensitive stomachs, or french-toast intolerance. Popular canine fare includes Natural Balance's lamb-flavored dog food ($34.95) and Whole Earth Farms' prairie beef or chicken ($39.95). Keep quadripedal companions safely secured with a resilient Lupine collar ($8–$13) or foster mobile catnaps with a Snoozer pet car seat ($89).