Best Dolce Vita for Dogs - 2002
Central Bark Dog Day Care and Training Center
Readers' Choice: The Veggie Garden
Left alone for eight hours, most dogs look for something to chew. That is how hapless owners have lost furniture, shoes, and just about every other valuable possible to masticate. Central Bark is one of many businesses that has come to the rescue of the career-driven and guilt-ridden dog owner, although to get your canine enrolled feels like you're applying to an exclusive prep school. To gain admittance, owners must fill out a five-page application and bring said pooch in for a Saturday interview. Of course, the interviewers want to know whether the dog has had shots. But Central Bark also asks what commands your pooch knows, whether he or she pulls on the leash when walking, and if there are any particular breeds of dog or types of humans he or she doesn't like. Once accepted, friendly dogs are separated by size, age, and disposition, then let loose to play in a 5500-square-foot, air-conditioned indoor area or in a 1000-square-foot outside area, accompanied at all times by a "counselor" who encourages romping and squelches any developing turf wars over toys. Rates range from $18 to $22 per day, depending upon size. For the truly pampered canine, Central Bark also hosts birthday parties with cake, ice cream, and peanut-butter treats at $20 per dog.