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."
Founded in 2006, the Vincent family's 3-acre ranch makes pups feel right at home when their families can't be there to care for them. "There are no cages here," Andrea Vincent explains on her website. "There are no kennels." Unlike even the best boarding facilities, where dogs are isolated in private suites, the Vincents' maximum of four furry guests roam their house at will. An enclosed outdoor play area stretches 1.5 acres, providing plenty of room for canines to play fetch, investigate odors, or negotiate a peace agreement between themselves and their own tail.
Inside Planet Canine’s 1,400-square-foot converted warehouse and outside in its spacious, fenced-in yard, the happy sounds of frolicking dogs can be heard as animal-loving staffers supervise up to nine hours of daily outdoor playtime. Led by canine enthusiast Kate Marden, the staff watches over pups as they cavort on play structures and splash in shallow pools during the hot summer months. After playtime, dogs rush indoors to be fed Merrick wheat- and corn-free food before bedding down on blankets and bath rugs. Each canine lounges in his or her own area on overnight stays, for naptime, and during writing sessions for poetry composed entirely of panting and barking noises.
A cage-less doggy day care and grooming facility, AlphaDog pampers pooches with outdoor frolicking and sudsy shampoos. Before their stay at AlphaDog, all dogs must take part in a one- to four-hour temperament trial. Customers with crowded schedules can drop off their loyal labradoodles at 7 a.m. for a full-day stay that keeps them out of harm's way as their owners attend to important workday business, such as fomenting against widespread usage of split infinitives. As the dogs bound around the springy turf of the day care's 5,000-square-foot outdoor play area, canine companions can sample carefully selected crunchy treats and make new friends before the 7 p.m. pickup time.
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.
When a haggard, helpless stray pup wandered into the backyard of Mrs. Carter H. Downing house in 1940, he had no idea he was about to trigger the creation of one of San Francisco's most respected animal hospitals and shelters. After searching fruitlessly for a safe shelter for the dog, the determined Carter Downing took the frightened animal home with her, along with all of the other pets caged up in the local pound. After setting up her own impromptu pet adoption agency, Downing proved to be successful at connecting stray and homeless pets with loving families. More than 65 years later, Pets Unlimited carries on Downing's vision, maintaining a network of foster care, community education programs, and a 24-hour veterinary center. The work of the dedicated staff keeps dogs and cats off the streets and puts them right where they belong⎯in the loving arms of humans and Sesame Street characters.
To support their work, a portion of the proceeds from their top-notch veterinary center goes to support Pets Unlimited's charitable vet care, shelter programs, and adoption services. Doting pet parents can bring in their pets for routine checkups, dental cleanings, and boarding, all the while supporting the noble causes of connecting abandoned cats and dogs with nurturing homes.