The Dog Lounge is a one-stop shop for man’s best friend. In addition to grooming, the pooch-friendly salon also provides doggy daycare and dog-walking services, sells natural pet-care products, and hosts obedience training with experienced trainer Maria Betlinski.
Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Save-A-Pet runs a purely no-kill, nondiscriminatory adoption center for dogs and cats of all breeds, ages, and health statuses, with the ultimate goal of finding permanent homes for each rescued animal. When the center receives homeless pets, the staff feeds them and provides intake exams, vaccinations, and medications. A steady supply of volunteers plays with the pets and ensures that they get enough outdoor exercise to maintain their health and mental well-being, backing this goal up inside by changing the cat litter and power-washing the 82 onsite kennels every day. Save-A-Pet also reaches out to adult and youth community members with education on animal welfare to reduce the number of homeless and euthanized pets. Through the organization’s efforts it has placed more than 40,000 dogs and cats into permanent homes.
According to Buffalo Grove Countryside, Candy Oppman trained her first dog when she was only 9 years old. Like many people, she grew up and started a family—only her family turned out to be a combination of kids and rescue dogs. After founding her own pet-sitting business, Candy went on to learn about training and animal behavior. These skills would prove useful for her next endeavor: Bark University, Inc.
Inside Bark University's 3,500-square-foot facility, trainers rear canines through a method called "pack leadership"; or as Candy puts it, "training them as a mother dog trains her puppies, in a language they understand." The full-service facility is also open to daycare, where supervised dogs can frolic along the 5,000-square-foot fenced backyard and in the rubber-matted playroom in groups separated by size, temperament, and playing style. They round out their services with grooming sessions and overnight stays—wherein a staffer remains on premises to keep pets safe and see if they start to talk.
Head trainer Jacki Larisch passes along an abiding passion for horsemanship to each student that she works with at Creekside Farm. Jacki inherited her love of horses from her parents, themselves International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) level competitors, and it continued through her four years as a member of The Ohio State University Hunt Seat Equestrian team. Today, Jacki shares her experience in proper English hunter and jumping technique in lessons that aim to create knowledgeable, well-rounded equestrians even if their previous experience only involves hours spent on coin-operated stallions outside grocery stores.
Poopie Palz sends fastidious cleaners to yards and dog runs to collect and remove dog waste year-round. Upon securing all waste within ecofriendly bags, they send a text message to homeowners letting them know it is once again safe to walk barefoot while watering hedges. In addition to picking up dog waste and removing it from properties, Poopie Palz offers dog-walking visits, which include water and food refills, as well as love and attention. They also visit cats, cleaning out litter boxes, refilling water and food, and calmly explaining the science behind laser pointers in flawless cat speak.
Owner Lindsay Rapp surrounds herself with a staff of canine-whisperers who employ both human and animal psychology to help owners and pets live long, happy lives together. Agility training equips dogs for high-intensity play or auditions for basketball movies, and other courses tailored to families with children keep the peace by preparing dogs for a new baby or preparing families for a new dog.