Grand Re-Opening Preview: What You’ll See

Join us for our Grand Re-Opening and Anniversary

Our grand Re-Opening is this Friday!

Be sure to sign in when you arrive for the Raffle!  We have some great prizes!

We’ll have light refreshments, and Double Clutch Brewing Company will be open across the street for libations!

All you can expect at our Open House on March 1st!

This mini-newsletter should give you an idea of what you can expect to see, and we hope we can answer some questions for you in advance of seeing you on March 1st from 3 to 7 at Rex’s Place for our Grand Re-Opening!

None of this would ever have happened without our clients’ years of support and patronage — while we celebrate our success, we also celebrate and thank YOU!

It feels a lot like Christmas, even with this crazy yo-yo weather! We haven’t been able to take anyone on a facility tour since early in 2020 — a full four years ago — and we were a much different organization then with a very different physical presence. And now, finally, we get to show everyone our newly re-done building — the whole building!

When we opened in 2010, Rex’s Place occupied just the north end, along with cage free boarding and the yard just down the alley. Today, we occupy the entire building, from 2114 to 2020 Ashland. There is so much that Kathy has always wanted to do, and now that is coming to fruition. There was a lot that needed to be done as well!

So…what can you expect to see?

Let’s start at the front door!

Our new entrance is almost at the center of the building façade. We have floor-to-ceiling glass so we can see out and you can see in, which is a lot safer than opening a solid door and just hoping that no one is on the other side. We are looking forward to a lot fewer surprise encounters between dogs and people on their way in and out. Once we bring a dog in, we can safely take that dog to any area of the facility. No more trying to herd one dog through a play room! What’s more, every dog area has more than one entry/exit point.

Beautiful new rooms

From the new counter where we can do our clerical work, there are paths to the north, south and west. To the north are our first ever Tiny Room and our new Gentle Room. (The Tiny Room is the first of its kind in the entire area!) They are all separated with higher walls and gates, and the walls are painted in fresh new colors — a different color for each room. We can’t wait for you to see our new coves as well. Instead of baseboards that were hard to clean and even harder to maintain, we have built new coves along the walls. Flooring is state of the art.

To the south of the counter where our Ambassador Bailey will be working a few days each week, you’ll see our Puppy Nursery where all the little ones go to Puppy Skillz Camp and practice their socialization. You can also see the Day Care Plus Room just behind it, safely divided off. Like the Tiny and Gentle rooms, spaces feature the same upgrades.

New Additions Front & Back, Up & Down

The staff room overlooks the Training Room

The staff room overlooks the Training Room

If you head west from Bailey’s counter, you see a long corridor. The first door on the right is our dedicated training room for both classes and private training sessions. The corridor continues west, where you can see a stairwell up to the overlook. There you will find our staff lounge and the managers’ office. Finally, when our team members go on break, they have a dedicated, clean and quiet place to relax. And they have earned it; our team works hard! The managers also have space where they can concentrate on their managerial duties. You can read more about that here. The staff even have an aquarium to help them decompress on their breaks. It was really important to Kathy that the staff be properly taken care of in this project, and this space is one part of that care.

Beneath the staff area there are other hallways. On either side at several points you will see dedicated storage areas for equipment and supplies, and you will also see two new restrooms.

One of the main reasons this renovation took so long was that, for decades, four different businesses were using this building at any given time, and each of them had different requirements of different utilities, including the plumbing and sewer systems.

Prior to this renovation, we often had the plumbers in twice monthly because the toilets in our areas could not flush. Long story short: the whole building has all new plumbing and sewer lines. We can flush without fear. The laundry machines (in the new laundry room) always drain now. The mop buckets can be filled and emptied without worry. You’ll see dedicated washing stations throughout the building as well as laundry and a beautiful feeding room. And perhaps best of all: for the first time, we have hot water too!

At the west end of the building, you will find the Ball Room (hooray!) as well as the Wrestling Room, and the new boarding kennels. We now have 45 kennels total, with easy-to-clean floors and sound dampening on the walls. So we have increased our kennel availability by 50%.

About the kennel renovation…

Some time back before the renovation began, Kathy visited another area boarding facility. She was honestly horrified. In addition to a very hard-to-navigate building, this facility had 150 kennels. Keep in mind that Rex’s Place has had kennel boarding for 10 years. Our staff works very, very hard taking care of every kennel guest. But 150 kennels? Kathy never wanted to risk that kind of size, with the staff burnout, the noise burden on neighbors, the chance of dogs getting overlooked, the lack of interaction. This will be our last boarding expansion. We don’t want to shortchange anyone on quality of care.

See the Arena!

Don’t forget to come into the Arena for demonstrations all afternoon! Rex’s K9 Sports Arena is truly the finest facility for canine sports in dog's eye view of 8700 sq ft of turfthe entire Chicagoland area. Featuring Forever Lawn turf (you’ll wish the whole world was this nice to walk on!) and top-notch equipment, Rex’s K9 Sports Arena is the perfect place for Agility and Rally. We offer classes and competitors can rent this space to prepare for their upcoming events. It’s a gorgeous space and we can’t wait for you to experience it.

Improvements inside and out

agility demos at 4 and 5 in the Arena, rally at 4:30 and 5:30 in the day care plus room, ratting at 5 and 5:30 in the Training Room

click to enlarge this image

The outside of the building has all new lighting. Our neighborhood is both commercial and residential, and a number of us live near Rex’s Place. We want the business to contribute not just to the business community but to the quality of life as well. Our murals, designed and painted by Jay Ryan, on the outside add to the neighborhood aesthetic, and we also hope you enjoy the artwork inside the facility as well. Our own Kennel Manager Kira is not just an excellent manager and dog handler; she is also a gifted artist and are so proud to feature her contributions throughout the inside of our entire facility.

Come see demonstrations!

Join our amazing trainers for displays of all you and your dog can do at Rex’s Place! There will be Agility demonstrations in the Arena, Rally in the Day Care Plus Room, and Urban Ratting in the Training Room! Times and locations are on the image here (just click to enlarge it).


So… where the <…> have you been lately, Kathy?

from Kathy:

I suppose it’s time to address the elephant in the room, or on the block, since so many of you see me outside every morning. Or you used to see me. I’m still here, but I have not been out front of the building in a while And with the exception of the Grand Re-Opening, you won’t see me out front for a while yet.

Some of you may be aware that I have been dealing with aFib for quite a while now. A few years back, I actually got rid of it. And then, it came back and it was very different than it had been before. I now deal with persistent aFib. What that means is that my heart is always out of whack. Always. I am always lightheaded, I am always out of breath. I don’t sleep well, no matter how tired I am. And despite following my doctors’ instructions to the letter, despite an ablation and defibrillation and acupuncture, it will not go away.

There aren’t words to describe the frustration I feel. Winter is a hard time for me anyway as I’m one of those people who really needs sunshine. But 5 months of my heart running amok is like Chinese water torture.

And then, a few weeks back, my good ankle failed me. Many of you over the years have seen me recover from ankle injuries and surgeries. One of my ankles has always been weak. The other one was strong. That was until last month, when I took a step and it simply gave out under me. It didn’t break, thank God, but I did suffer a high sprain, and as my ankle doc likes to say, I got it but good.

I have had to keep my foot elevated now for 3 weeks. I can drive, but I suffer for it afterward. I can’t walk my dogs, so you can imagine that bringing dogs into the daycare every morning is out of the question. Our Canine Chauffeur has been picking up my dogs every morning for the last 3 weeks. (If you haven’t tried our taxi service for your dog, I highly recommend it!)

This brings me to the subject of my staff. If you have not met Chloe and Rodolfo yet, our day care managers, I hope you will take the time to meet them at our Grand Re-Opening. They have always been fantastic employees and really outstanding team leaders. But while I have been ailing this year, they have stepped up in a whole new way. As much as I miss seeing all of you in the mornings, I don’t worry about the business because Chloe and Rodolfo have taken care of everything. They are truly running the operation. I could not be more proud of them.

And Kira has been running the kennels like a fine machine. Our morning crew, José, and Luis, start every day seamlessly. Kree, Angelo, Keino and Antonio close the day care every night with professionalism and care. Angel, Jeneen and Markia do such an amazing job in Day Care Plus. The whole staff handles every day with absolute aplomb. And as rotten as I feel physically, my heart is so full knowing that this extraordinary group is a genuine team and runs the business as if it were their own. And as much as she would rather I not mention her, Jeannie has been my consigliere for years, taking care of our technology, our marketing, the Rexmobile, and a bunch of other things you would never see but if they didn’t happen, you would notice.

So that’s where I have been. I miss all of you too. And I really look forward to seeing everyone on Friday. I really hope you can stop by, see our new space, and say hello. It’s been a long time.

On behalf of my amazing staff,