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.
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 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.
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.