Local pet care center caters to the pickiest guest
Best Friends Pet Care manager Karyn Chylewski gets a kiss from Sienna while Ruger poses for the camera. Chylewski won Best Friends' "best new manager of the year" award. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 13, 2012 11:28AM
PRAIRIE VIEW — The new guest is picky — and one of the best managers in the company is willing to work with him.
That guest’s name is Feathers, a male Yorkie taking up temporary residence at Best Friends Pet Care, 22096 North Pet Lane in Prairie View. The woman dealing with his quirk is Karyn Chylewski, and she does it with a convincing smile.
“He gets Cheerios split in half, because he won’t eat them otherwise,” Chylewski explained.
Yes, she repeats, the dog loves Cheerios but will only eat them if they are cut in half first. And yes, she is instructing her staff to cut Cheerios in half for a dog.
Such is life at Best Friends, which boards and grooms dogs, cats, a few birds and a few other kinds of small animals.
“We take anything that’s not poisonous,” Chylewski said.
Set on 8.5 acres, Best Friends offers a 3,000-square-foot main building with 360 “rooms” split into seven wings for overnight animals. One of a chain of 42 locations, the local center offers big-dog and small-dog day camps Monday through Saturday, training classes and a salon.
The business began in the 1970s as the American Pet Motel, and signs in the parking lot still bear that name. Best Friends purchased the operation in 1998, and in 2011, Chylewski became its newest manager.
As a new hire, she was eligible for the company’s Outstanding First-Year Manager award — and at a recent corporate meeting in Wisconsin, she beat five other candidates to win it.
“Karyn has an extremely positive attitude,” said Joan Nieman, Best Friends’s vice president of operations. “She went into a center and just turned it around. She got every staff member into the game.”
That means getting Feathers his dinner.
Feathers, a service dog, was dropped off Oct. 27 as its owner was headed to a nearby hospital for a surgery. Feathers had never stayed at a dog hotel before.
Before leaving, the dog owner also showed Chylewski how Feathers likes his bed made and his rice prepared.
Chylewski tried to reassure her newest client.
“If it’s doable, we’ll do it,” Chylewski said. “If it’s a simple thing like that, then that’s easy.”