Rex’s Place Newsletter for Summer 2024

Rex's Place Logo over fireworks: Summer Newsletter

Just in time for the 4th of July…it’s our Summer Newsletter!

Greetings from the happiest place in Evanston! This edition of our newsletter will get you caught up on what’s happening at Rex’s Place and we hope to share some useful information as well that we think most if not all of you will find helpful.

In this issue:


Glad That’s Over!

We’re so glad to to be able to report that all the construction is done! Everything is painted, finished, put ack in place.  Every room is now being used for what it is supposed to be used for! Puppies have their place! Balls are flying in the Ball Room! The Gentle Room and the Wrestling Room are up and running! If you were at our Grand Re-Opening, you saw we were still not completely settled in place. We are so happy to have working plumbing, dedicated laundry and feeding spaces, room to put everything away, and a place for staff to take their breaks without dogs trying to steal their food or having to eat in their car!

Quick reminder: now that our main entrance is finished and functional, please pull forward in our loading zone so you’re as close to our door as you can get.

Kathy in front of entry sign surrounded by Kree, Luis and ChloeWe were thrilled — really, over the moon! — that so many of you were able to join us at our Grand Re-Opening in March. It was wonderful to see all of you, and we’re glad you finally got to meet our team and hear from them first hand about your dogs. It’s been so long since we could safely let anyone into the facility, and all of us really enjoyed the event (not to mention the Garrett’s popcorn). We have heard from many of you that you had a great time, too. We know not everyone could make it, so we are hoping to have another Open House soon. The neighborhood is planning something for the summer to celebrate us, Soul & Smoke Restaurant and other area businesses. We’ll let you know as soon as the date is set.

Please remember: for your safety and for the dogs’ safety too, we can only give facility tours by appointment. Anyone not on our staff must be accompanied in the facility at all times. Tours will be given Monday and Friday from 10 – 1. If you can’t make it during that window, please work with us to set up a time that’s good for you.


We’re Number One!

Something else that your support has made possible:

Midway Media has named Rex’s Place the Number One Pet Resort in Chicagoland!

The plethora of highly positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other sites has earned Rex’s Place this designation! As a result, we will be featured in promotional announcements on numerous cable and streaming channels throughout May and June. So when you’re watching Animal Planet, Bravo, Fox 1 and others, don’t be surprised to hear our name!

As part of this, Midway Media has asked us to submit our favorite photos and videos from Rex’s to be incorporated into the commercial that they will produce. Our staff has been combing through all our media on their breaks!

The Improvements Continue: Looking at New Software

We are committed to excellence in how we care for your dogs and how we serve your needs. As such, we always keep an eye out for better systems to improve what we do for dogs and their humans.

Currently, we are evaluating a new booking and payment system. Unlike most systems in our industry, this product was actually developed by a pet care provider. They have invested a lot of time and care into building a system that does what pet businesses need it to do AND does it in a way that pet owners can actually use it easily.

We are getting ready to test it out in parallel with gingr and we expect that we will adopt it. As soon as we know, we will let you know!

And Expanded Resources

We know the care, pride, and training we put into making our team members the most professional staff of any canine facility in the area. And the fact that our team members stay with us over time adds to that level of expertise. We are now thrilled that our staff will be able to consult with a canine mentor to provide further professional development and greater support for the dogs in our care.

Kelsey and her dog

Meet Kelsey!

If you shop at Noah’s Ark in Winnetka, chances are you have met Kelsey there. Her many years of working at an independent pet store have dovetailed with her work in teaching people how to read canine communication and teaching dogs how to self regulate. Kelsey mentors human-canine relationships, using a holistic viewpoint and approach to see dogs as individuals and look at situations from each dog’s individual perspective. By combining careful behavioral observation, nutritional support, situational and behavioral adaptations, and a more empirically informed perspective, Kelsey mentors both dogs and their humans to achieve a balanced relationship.

For our staff, Kelsey’s skill set will add to team members’ abilities to learn more not just about dogs but also the dogs in their care. While most of Kelsey’s work addresses fear reactivity, it is not limited to such issues. Dogs coming to Rex’s Place will not only have a safe, happy alternative to staying home; they will have support to gain greater confidence and ease in their interactions with each other as well as with us.


Casualties of Inflation: Rate Increases Coming September 3rd

We could talk about continued high utility and supply costs, but the bottom line is this: as a business in Cook County, we have to pay Cook County property taxes. And as anyone who does business or owns a home in Cook County can tell you, high taxes just became sky-high.

For our customers, that means we have no choice but to raise our rates for day care and boarding. (Seriously: we thought that construction was expensive, but getting the tax bill was like being hit by a freight train!)

We will raise our prices beginning September 3 (so summer plans and Labor Day boarding will not be affected). You can see the new rates for day care and boarding by clicking on the link.

To ease the transition… you can stock up on packages prior to the price change. They will still be valid for 6 months from the date you purchase them.

A couple of other price bumps

There will also be increases in a few incidental items:

  • The charge for food that is not labeled or portioned for boarding
  • The feeding charge for dogs who come to boarding with no food
  • Nail trims

Why nail trims, you ask? We’ll let Chloe explain:

“Some nail trims are a simple thing and we can take care of a dog in just a few minutes. But for dogs whose nails are very long, or for dogs who have anxiety around their nails or paws, a nail trim can be a two-person task and can take even two hours — I’m not exaggerating! We have a number of dogs who have such a hard time with it that we have to soothe them for extended periods after each nail. So simple trims will be $10, but if the dog requires extra time or even a second person to complete the job, the charge can be as high as $30. It’s really hard on the day care staff when we are down one person, let alone two. So it’s not just the handler who is working super hard, it’s the whole floor.”

Ask Kathy


Why all this about booking boarding for Christmas and New Year already?

The reason we are sending out emails about boarding now is the same reason we send them out every single year at this time:

We are almost full already for holidays that are months away.

The fact of the matter is that the airline industry has more space than the animal care industry does. Holiday flights do not fill as fast as kennels do. Even with our recent expansion, we are already near capacity both for the summer and for the winter holidays. And even if you get a last-minute flight, we won’t get a last-minute space for your dog. We don’t know a single other kennel that will, either.

If you think we will get enough cancellations to make room…think again. Every year, we deal with the heartbreak of not being able to help our customers, no matter how long they have been with us, not matter how much we love their dogs. When space is gone, it’s gone and we get very few cancellations. So make your holiday plans fast and book your boarding now! (Sure, non-dog people can travel at the drop of a hat. But having that dog waiting for you when you get back is so worth making plans way in advance!)

Why do you keep pushing us to make day care reservations?

Second verse, same as the first: We run out of space!

With summer vacations coming up, we have a lot of dogs boarding with us (again: already almost full) and all of those dogs get day care. This is NO VACANCY -- don't let this happen to you!also the time when staff is taking their vacations so in order to have enough staff in day care to take care of our boarding guests and our day visitors, we need to know in advance how many dogs are coming. It’s the only way we can schedule enough staff and know when we are out of room.

Again: the worst part of this business is having to turn away our regular clients but if we do not have room in day care, and if we don’t have enough staff to keep everyone safe, we have to refuse drop offs. And we know you will be late to work because you have to take your dog home but if there is no room, there is no room. So we ask again: please make the reservation. Let us know you’re coming. Please don’t make us send you away. And we hope the new software will make it easier. Here’s a teaser: it’s an app on your phone.

For Day Care Plus clients, please also be aware that the staffing issue is extremely critical. For that reason, we are considering instituting an additional fee for non-reservations.

You send a lot of newsletters about training. And your staff keeps suggesting it. Why?

We wouldn’t be doing our job —taking care of your dog — if we didn’t do everything we can to address issues we see in the dogs we care for. The number one issue we often see is lack of confidence. Dogs that are not confident tend to be nervous, or reactive, or aggressive. They don’t get to really play, or know how to play. They either scare other dogs away or they cower. There are lots of issues that come with a lack of confidence.

Training gives dogs confidence.

Dogs who get any kind of positive training build a skill set that helps them better engage with everyone and everything in their world. A confident dog is not as spooked or intimidated by the unknown; confident dogs know that not everything is a threat.

Training helps dog owners, too.

As you go through training with your dog, you gain understanding of how your dog perceives the world around them — and how they perceive you. We all think we know our dogs, but there is so much more to tail wags, smiles, and panting than most of us ever realize. And how dogs understand us is not something humans generally grasp without guidance.

Not all training is the same.

Just like all dogs and all people are different,  different types of training work better with different dogs. Rally is a terrific example. Rally is obedience, yes: but it’s obedience on the go. It is an activity that incorporates a variety of obedience skills, and the course changes every week so it’s never the same. Urban Ratting is a form of nose work that lets dogs use their natural abilities to accomplish the task of finding their target. Another example is tricks training: the objective is not just to teach dogs to spin and dance; it’s to leverage a dog’s high energy to its advantage while building confidence.

Our philosophy is that dogs should train for life. It keeps them engaged and growing and makes for better quality of life, especially for seniors. That’s why we offer it.

Survey Says…

Speaking of training, you may have noticed some time back that we asked if anyone was interested in a particular type of training class. We got great feedback and response when we did that, and we are strongly considering asking these questions more often. And we have one such question for you now:

Would you be interested in Agility if someone else ran your dog for you?

We are wondering whether there are owners who would like their dogs to get the exercise and stimulation of Agility training but who can’t move through the course themselves with their dog. Although we want to add that once your dog is trained, running is really not necessary. Hand signals are used to direct your dogs to a specific place and walking the course is always good. We are considering putting together an option for people to add on a 1/2 hour agility session during daycare when one of our staff would be handle the dog. Or as another option, if your kids are home from school this summer perhaps you would like them to learn Agility with your dog. If this would interest you, please email us and let us know.

That’s it for this Newsletter!

We hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July! Day care will be closed on the 5th, and we will look forward to seeing everyone again on the 8th! Meanwhile, if you have any questions or comments on this issue, feel free to let us know!