WHEN HIS owners are away, Forbes gets to play. And at Happy Tails Hotel and Playland, he gets to play and play and play. As much as he likes. Which is a lot. In fact, the chocolate Labrador retriever played so much his first two weeks of day care at Happy Tails, he lost 4 pounds.
Not that Forbes was fat — but he’s not
The 5-week-old pet hotel brings a new concept to the St. Louis area, according to Steve Keller, who owns the operation with his “business and life partner,” Debee Alex.
The hotel is “the first cageless, crateless dog-boarding and day-care facility in the area,” Keller believes. It’s an outgrowth of the couple’s 8-year-old pet-sitting business, Happy Tails Inc.
The open environment is what Forbes’ owner, Mary Hoke of west St. Louis County, likes best about the facility. “Forbes isn’t confined to a kennel,” she said. “He’s always out and about, just like he is at home.”
Happy Tails’ red-roofed building at 2920 North Lindbergh Boulevard in St. Ann looks smaller than its 10,000 square feet, in part because the lower level can’t be seen from the front. With three oversized play yards outside and three large playrooms inside, the hotel boasts 16,500 square feet of cavorting space for fun-loving canines.
Tuckered-out terriers can nap on one of the miniature sofas or pet cots that dot the playrooms. Or if they prefer the security of their own space, they can retreat to one of the fenced-off areas along the walls. Should one of the romping Rovers take issue with one of his pooch playmates, a fenced cubicle also can be pressed into service for some temporary doggy timeout.
Doggy disagreements can be expected on occasion, but constant supervision by one of Happy Tails’ 30-plus employees helps keep them to a minimum. Other measures also add to the one-big-happy-environment. For example:
One of the perks for dogs who make the grade at Happy Tails is the oversized outdoor play yards with their vibrant green lawns – ProGreen Synthetic Lawns, that is. The comfy, foot-friendly surface is ingeniously planted atop layers of weed-barrier fabric, crushed limestone and sand to create an odor- and bacteria-killing drainage system.
Another plus is that unlike most boarding kennels, Happy Tails is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. That doesn’t just mean it’s staffed around the clock, Keller said, “it means you can drop off or pick up your pet any time of the day or night. If you have to work late or you have a late flight, you don’t have to wait until the next day to pick up your pet.”
Also, because dogs are free to play as much as they like, there are no extra charges for additional play times. Happy Tails charges a flat $25-a-day fee for long-term boarding; for its “stay and play” day care, it charges $20 a day if your dog comes once a week, $16 a day for two days or more. For more information, call 314-995-7297.