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.
Different from the average pet-boarding facility, Paradise 4 Paws has a bone-shaped pool surrounded by more than 20,000 square feet of indoor play area, plush accommodations, and comfy boarding suites. Staff members roam the facility 24/7, playing with animals during the day, tucking them in at night, and performing à la carte services such as grooming, obedience training, health checkups, and canine massage therapy. Cats can lounge in a bungalow complete with cat perches, views of an aquarium, and access to climbing trees in the facility’s Adventure Jungle. Paradise 4 Paws has its own training academy, and its pet-care professionals have received pet-first-aid certification from the American Red Cross.
The pet-minded staff cares about pet owners, as well, granting access to the play area’s real-time webcams and offering airport parking and transportation.
Though lifelong animal lovers, owners Jennifer and Chris Stavrianos' passion for dogs and cats reached a new level of dedication when they began caring for strays around their Westside Chicago neighborhood. The experience inspired them to open Pet Care Plus in 1998. In the 13,000-square-foot facility, pups can scamper across an expansive rubber-surface playground, enjoy training and grooming services, and, in the summer months, head outdoors to frolic in the in-ground swimming pool. Some dogs stay only during the day while their people are at work, but Pet Care Plus also hosts overnight guests of both canine and feline persuasions. Training classes for dogs of all ages are available to keep behavior in check when pets return home. Grooming packages range from simple baths with brushing to a full-service mane makeover complete with nail polish or custom conditioners.
Inspired by a search for quality dog care for their own dog, the owners of Furtastik—finding no options that satisfied their wants—decided to create a 3.000-square-foot, climate-controlled space themselves. Now, they operate a hands-on, cheerful, and intimate facility for dogs and dog services. Licensed and accredited groomers sculpt away excess piles of fur after they clean, wash, and buff dogs into bright new existence, and organic food products line the front room for canine perusal. Meanwhile, daycare and boarding enrollments are limited to 20 and 10 dogs at a time, respectively, allowing for individual attention and care during the cage-free services.
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.
Certified dog groomer, Susan Gottlieb, primps and pampers pooches with her mobile grooming service, bringing all the pet-cleaning tools and products to her customers. In the mobile spa, she gives canines individual and humane attention, meaning no cages while also keeping dogs from car sickness and separation anxiety by cleaning them within view of their homes. Grooming includes a warm and sudsy hydro bath as well as a deshedding treatment, blowout, nail trimming, and fur clipping.