People looking for a cozy place where their dogs can play and get pampered by experts on their furry, four-legged friends have a new canine daycare and boarding business in Chandler to turn to.
Happy Pets Palace & Playground opened its third location at 1080 E. Pecos Road in Chandler after caring for canines of all shapes and sizes at its other spots in Mesa and Gilbert.
The Mesa business at 1918 E. McKellips Road opened in 2014 and the Gilbert outlet at 91 N. Val Vista Drive opened last fall.
The company offers overnight boarding, dog daycare, American Kennel Club S.T.A.R. (Socialization, Training, Activity and Responsibility) Puppy training and puppy socials. Human parents can indulge their dogs with “royal extras,” including peanut butter stuffed KONG for the animals to lick for $3 each, Frosty Paws ice cream treats for $4 each and nighttime tuck-in service/personal cuddle time/extra belly rubs for $10 per 15 minutes for boarded pets.
Fido and friends splash in kiddie pools and release energy in the indoor play yards, getting about six and a half hours of playtime per visit.
Generally, one pet care specialist works with 15 to 20 dogs at a time to give them lots of attention.
Clients can watch their dogs anytime as they play, sleep or do other activities on webcams using an app on their phones. Dogs are separated by size and temperament and must take temperament tests before being accepted for daytime and overnight stays.
Dog-friendly music is piped through the Chandler business to keep the canines at ease.
The owners and staff love their tenants.
Co-owners and managing members Rebecca Sloan and Linda Huss also have silent partners for the three locations.
Dog guests sleep on elevated, Kuranda cot-style beds and their owners can bring any toys, bedding or food for them or pay for food in various size “villas” where they stay overnight.
The canine visitors drink reverse-osmosis water and snuggle under soft fleece blankets it provides.
“We call them villas because this is like vacation,” Sloan said. “They get quite a lot of play here. We try to make sure they’re safe and comfortable. We listen to them a lot. We’ll constantly have a dog in our hand. Whenever I’m in the yards, that’s all I’m doing is petting dogs, loving them.”
Sloan has two dogs of her own – Leela, a female Labrador retriever, and Jax, a male Labrador retriever, and she loves working with furry friends all day.
Amber Whipple, supervisor at the Chandler Happy Pets Palace & Playground, said she has the ideal job. She has seven dogs of her own and some come to play at work on a regular basis.
Whipple and Sloan said people are excited about their new location, especially those who were taking their dogs to the Mesa business but enjoy the shorter drive.
“We’ve had a lot of people coming by,” Sloan said. “We love Chandler. There are tons of dog parks over here. The people that come here are like, ‘We’ve been waiting for you.’”
With bright blue walls, immaculately clean indoor and outdoor play areas and a room with a sparkling chandelier, Happy Pets Palace & Playground offers an inviting place for dogs’ overnight “staycations” or daytime visits.
Every other Saturday, puppies ages 9 to 16 weeks come to play with their human parents and fellow furry guests in the room during “puppy socials.” It’s a free event and gives the puppies a chance to learn how to be around other animals and humans.
“We bring out little toys,” Sloan said. “We’ll engage with them. That’s probably one of my favorite things about this job is the puppy social.”
Puppy training offers 20 steps for learning to sit, stay and follow other commands.
A staff member works from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., taking the boarded dogs on outdoor late-night potty trips. Employees check on anything anytime through the camera security system.
The Gilbert Happy Pets Palace & Playground has staff members working at it 24 hours a day and accepts just the small, toy dog breeds that are up to 20 pounds at adult weight including Shih Tzus and Yorkies.
It costs $20 per dog for a half-day – up to five hours – and $28 per dog for a full day, up to 12 hours. Overnight boarding ranges from $48 a night for one dog to $150 nightly for four animals.
Employees constantly are trained through a DVD series, “The Dog Gurus,” to learn how to lead and manage dogs.
The dogs themselves go through extensive screening, visiting with other dogs and playing with them off leash while their owners are interviewed about their behavior.
Their vaccination histories are also checked and employees study the reactions of regular visitors before they are allowed to become clients.
To really pamper a pooch, it costs $15 for a full set of nails trimmed and filed. Owners who want to give their best friend one-on-one fetch or Frisbee time with a staffer can pay $10 per 15 minutes.