One crazy dog leads to new business

By on September 16, 2011

Photo: Co-owner Sara Smith plays with Cassie in the outside yard at her doggie daycare business. The owners’ current dogs, Joey and Cassie, are there to show their friends the ropes. Smith said the idea of having a business like this started when she had a rambunctious pet. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Neal Jacobs used to be vice president of operations for an upscale clothing company. Now, he picks up poop.

Jacobs and his long-time friend Sara Smith are the owners of Elburn’s latest new business, Out ‘n About Daycare for Dogs, located at 630 Herra St. Since opening in August, business has been steady, keeping Jacobs busy with poop duty.

Both have been dog owners and lovers for most of their lives.

“It’s something that we love,” Smith said. “It’s like being a grandparent—they go home at night.”

Jacob’s company was sold, and he found himself out of work less than a year later. He stayed in Maryland for a while, then Georgia, where he and Smith considered opening a doggie daycare.

“It was very rural, it wasn’t going to work,” he said. “So I asked her, where do you want to go?”

Smith was born and raised in St. Charles, and her ancestors were early Sugar Grove settlers in 1836, so she suggested the Tri-Cities area.

The business has 10,000 square feet of play area, both indoors and out. The indoor area has heated rubber flooring and outside is gravel. Both areas offer play equipment and toys, and lots of room to run. During the summer months, there’s a pool.

Newcomers are given a free, two-hour evaluation to see how well they get along before being allowed to stay. Vaccination records are required to be on file. All necessary forms are available at outnaboutdaycare.com.

The owners’ current dogs, Joey and Cassie, are there to show their friends the ropes. Smith said the idea of having a business like this started when she had a rambunctious pet.

“It all started with that one crazy dog,” she said. “We had an Aussie that drove me bonkers.”

His trainer recommended daycare since dogs are a pack animal and being with other dogs fulfilled that need.

“The dog ate the blinds off the walls and separated the bars of the crate,” Smith said. “The daycare was like nirvana. He was happy and exhausted.”

Daycare hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and once the paperwork is on file, walk-ins are accepted. A full day costs $20, half day (out or in by 1 p.m.) is $10. Overnight boarding, which includes daycare, is $32 and is by appointment only. Phone is (630) 365-3100, and Out ‘n About can be found on Facebook.

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