Luxury dog boarding, pet spa opens Tuesday in Wheeling
A high-end dog boarding, day care and spa resort opens Tuesday in Wheeling, offering luxury lodging suites, chauffeur and spa services, and indoor and outdoor play areas.
Waggles Pet Resort, at 419 Harvester Court off Wheeling and Dundee roads, is launching operations with a Howl-O-Ween Doggy Costume Party from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and resort tours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The site includes a remodeled 8,000-square-foot building with nearly 70 luxury boarding suites and indoor play yards covered in durable rubber, and a 2,000-square-foot outdoor, fenced-in play yard with AstroTurf that is gentle on paws and easy to clean. The spa area includes grooming tables and stainless steel bathing tubs with an adjustable floor to accommodate dogs of varying sizes.
Owner Ross Neihaus, a former corporate attorney from Chicago, said opening the business in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic might be risky, but demand is high for pet day cares.
"It's our feeling that people's love for their pets will continue to be strong and the need for pet care will rebound when the economy opens," Neihaus said. "We've also seen a surge in puppies that need care because so many puppies were adopted during the pandemic. Shelters are reporting that they have been cleared out during the pandemic and this is nationwide, not just local."
Neihaus said he aims to use the business to raise funds for social justice causes, such as the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, for which he volunteers and has served as board president for five years. He also plans having dogs in his care provide certified therapy-dog companionship to residents at senior care facilities and to offer work to adults with disabilities.
The resort will offer play groups for dogs with different play styles and for puppies, as well as individual play sessions led by trained animal specialists. Overnight lodging also is available. Its chauffeur service can pick up and drop off dogs within a 15-mile radius.
The launch event is open to the public, but reservations are encouraged. The socially-distanced party will include a doggy costume contest, photo booth, hay maze and bobbing for treats station. The top prize for the best costume is a free day care 10-pack. Second- and third-place finishers will receive gift certificates.
To reserve a spot for the costume party, call (847) 886-3030.