North Ridgeville daycare for our four-legged kids

By KAREN UTHE-SEMANCIK

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – An exclusive activities club recently opened in North Ridgeville, and its members have fur and four legs. Welcome to The Bark Club!

The only dog daycare facility in city limits, The Bark Club opened in late May, and is serving about 15 dogs a day, with the number growing weekly, according to North Ridgeville residents Chuck and Laurie Stella, owners and operators.

“We saw a need in the community for dog daycare. We realized people did not have enough outlets for their dogs locally,” said Chuck.

But The Bark Club is more than just a daycare where dogs run wild. Like its human counterpart, this daycare also has lesson plans and even nap time. The club was founded on the idea of integrated training and structure to keep pooches happy and healthy. As a veteran dog trainer and Ohio Humane Agent, Chuck has created structured exercise and socialization activities to lessen his canine clients’ stress and improve their behavior. The goal is that training will continue at home.

“We offer training breaks during the day while your dog is here for daycare. We fill their day with more structure and not just play. All play and no work makes for a bad dog at home,” said Chuck.

And although The Bark Club’s concept may be new, the cage-free facility itself isn’t new to canines or The Bark Club’s owners themselves. The Stellas have been renting this location for the last six years, using it as an annex for Chuck’s Elite K911 dog training and obedience center on Cook Road in North Ridgeville, holding winter pack walks, training workshops and other events onsite.

The Stellas made many changes to the facility, installing walls for the big-dog, small-dog and puppy areas. They built secure fences for each outdoor area. Bathrooms, a lobby and office were created. And for helicopter pet parents, some technology was installed to give them peace of mind.

“We went through 85 gallons of paint! We also installed closed-circuit TV that soon will have the ability for clients, while at work, to log in from any smartphone, tablet or PC, and view their dog here at The Bark Club,” said Chuck.

The staff is different than other facilities, also, as it is adult and there is a CPR-certified member on every shift. They also have staff members with many years’ of experience working in the veterinary field, including Lisa herself, whose day job is practice manager for Ridgeville Animal Hospital, also in North Ridgeville. (In fact, it was at Dr. Stoke’s veterinary clinic where Chuck and Lisa met.)

“We love working together. Chuck works more with the dogs hands-on, and I am more behind the scene in the business part,” says Lisa.

The Bark Club isn’t for everyone. All club members must pass a one-time assessment to join, and dogs are separated by size, age and/or activity level. Specific vaccination, altering and health policies are also in place.

“It is a hands-on assessment with one of our ‘balance dogs,’ and if the dog passes that part, they are brought into a more stimulated environment with mutable dogs. If they don’t pass, we offer socialization training,” said Chuck.

Membership has its privileges, and they benefit both dog and owner, as a good dog is a tired dog.

“Dash is a young and active standard poodle, and he lives with four older golden retrievers. The Bark Club is perfect for giving Dash a positive outlet for his energy, and that makes him a much calmer dog at home with the senior dogs. Dash is always excited to go to daycare, and enjoys seeing all of his canine and human friends,” said Jennifer Baker, co-owner of the Grateful Dog Bakery, also in North Ridgeville.

The Stellas definitely take their work home with them, with a pack of their own, many of who work at The Bark Club, assessing new clients.

“We have seven dogs of our own. It was a blended family – Chuck has four and I came with three,” said Lisa.

The Bark Club is located at 33549 Liberty Parkway, North Ridgeville, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Daycare rates are $16 for a half-day, $26 for a full day. There are discounts for multiple dogs from the same household, and 10- and 20-visit memberships are available at a discounted rate. For more information, visit thebarkclubllc.com or call (440) 412-4378.

 


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