New in Naperville: An indoor dog park and pool for playtime with pets

 
 
Updated 8/10/2018 10:30 AM
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  • Co-owner Shannon Bergman takes Lucy for a swim at Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville, opening soon.The business is expected to open soon at 1847 W. Jefferson Ave.

      Co-owner Shannon Bergman takes Lucy for a swim at Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville, opening soon.The business is expected to open soon at 1847 W. Jefferson Ave. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

If the bond between you and your pet needs some TLC, a new Naperville business may have the fix.

It's an indoor dog park and swimming pool -- but not a doggy day care -- and it's designed with pet owners and their furry friends in mind.

"The whole idea of this place is for you to spend time with your dog," said Shannon Bergman of Naperville, who has spent three years working toward opening the business with her husband, Matt.

"This place" is Wag 'N Paddle at 1847 W. Jefferson Ave. It's set to open this month and is accepting applications for memberships.

Wag 'N Paddle offers three heated pools inside heated rooms where swim coaches will coax dogs to pant as they paddle, fetching fish toys and getting good exercise while they're at it. But much of the space is a large play room with platform climbers, hurdles, boulders, benches and a balance beam for dogs to hop, jump, romp and roam to their heart's content.

A smaller playspace in the front of the former office building offers the same features -- including a rubberized seamless floor with shock absorption -- for smaller dogs weighing less than 25 pounds.

Matt Bergman said it's down to final punch-list details now before the anticipated opening, such as the arrival of a sign and completion of an office. Pending city council approval, Wag 'N Paddle plans to add a 3,000-square-foot fenced outdoor play space with a type of artificial turf designed for dogs.

The Bergmans' labs, 4-year-old Otis and 7-month-old Marty, already are falling in love with the play area and have a love-hate with the pool. It's going to be a love for Marty, who will get used to the swimming, but it's already a hate for his older counterpart Otis, Shannon Bergman says.

Bo takes a swim at Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville, which is expected to open soon.
  Bo takes a swim at Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville, which is expected to open soon. - Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Other dogs are having a similar reaction. The most common response among friends whose pups have tried the place, such as Nedra Shaw of Naperville, is to send a photo later as proof of their pet's exhaustion.

Among early visitors is Shaw's lab Bo, from the same breeder as Otis and Marty. Shaw said Bo is a natural swimmer used to splashing around Lake Michigan on vacations who now gets to swim close to home, too.

"It's so nice because we can't do this at home," Shaw said. "It's hard for him to get this experience right here in Naperville ... and it's clean water."

Bo tends to breathe in a fair amount of water as he doggy paddles, coughing it up as he goes along, his owner says.

So the chlorinated cleanliness of the pools is a comfort. No bacteria, like the lake could contain, Shaw said.

"It's a place for a dog just to have fun, enjoy the time," Matt Bergman said.

WATCH AT DAILYHERALD.COM/VIDEO: Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville offers obstacles for dog play and encourages owners to interact with their pets. Members can get unlimited access to this part of the indoor park.
  WATCH AT DAILYHERALD.COM/VIDEO: Wag 'N Paddle indoor dog pool and park in Naperville offers obstacles for dog play and encourages owners to interact with their pets. Members can get unlimited access to this part of the indoor park. - Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

A Wag membership for the dog park costs $70 a month for unlimited visits.

It also includes unlimited use of self-service baths with free shampoo, conditioner, ear cleaner and towels as well as access to events and monthly discounts from pet vendors.

A Paddle membership for swimming comes with two 30-minute swims a month for $75.

Members can tack on an extra swim for $30. Owners can join their dog in the pool room to toss toys for fetch, but can't jump in the water. That duty is reserved for employees for safety.

The business also offers a Bubbles membership for unlimited baths.

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