Being Sent to ‘the Dog House’ Has Never Been So Good

Getting sent to “the dog house” might not be such a bad thing anymore. Consider some amenities available to the modern hound:


  • Doggie day care where the mornings are filled with supervised playtime, a midday nap and then more play
  • “Hotels” or “boarding houses” (we used to call them kennels) where pup can have a big room with a TV or an even better room with a TV and paintings on the walls
  • Facilities with Web cams so you can watch Rover romp where ever you are romping in the world
  • An indoor water park for dogs and a workout room with treadmills


These pet perks and more are now available to our best friends at North Shore pet spas. Innovative dog-centric businesses are a growing suburban trend, providing childlike care for dogs.

“We’re all about play—super-sized play,” says Matt Kriser, a University of Wisconsin history major who, along with his brother, runs three dog-boarding facilities called The Barking Lots (cute names are a requirement).

His Deerfield center is equipped with Web cams in all of the indoor and outdoor play areas “so you can monitor your dog from anywhere in the world,” he says. The Barking Lot is where you can board your dog in a room with a TV and walls adorned with fine art. All that’s missing is a private bath and shower, but then, these are dogs.

Wiggly Tails in Glenview operates like a preschool for hounds, with supervised playtime, mandatory naptime and then more play—leaving the pups tuckered out and ready for a short walk and long sleep when they get home. The pack of dogs that are dropped off here daily, large and small, are supervised by owners Cindy and Judd Hackl.

Cindy was a schoolteacher and Judd studied to be one, which makes them perfectly suited to run this large facility that includes an indoor gym and expansive outdoor yard.

Perhaps the most unique dog facility is under construction on Waukegan Road in Glenview where the long established Carriage Hill Kennels is building an indoor water facility and doggie workout room.

Francine Barnes sees her new spa as a “country club for dogs,” complete with a treadmill room and grooming facilities.

As for the water park, “swimming is the best exercise for people and dogs,” says Barnes, who hopes the new facility will be open by year’s end. “This will not be a nursing rehab center but more like a wellness center. I want it to be fun for owners and dogs.”

What’s next, a doggie restaurant? Maybe, judging by some of the dietary suggestions owners leave for their dogs.

“One told me that if his dog refuses to eat, I should walk across the street and get him an Italian beef sandwich,” Kriser says. “But no giardiniera or au jus.”

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