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Photo by James Moss
Sarge walks on the underwater treadmill, which helps dogs recover from injury or surgery.
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Photo by James Moss
Sarge, wearing his protective goggles, sits while his owner and rehabilitation technician Cassie York uses laser therapy to help decrease ear inflammation.
Sarge is an excellent guinea pig. He shows off protective goggles, sits still while a laser decreases inflammation in his ear, balances on rubber balls and walks underwater.
But Sarge, whose full name is Sargent, isn’t a guinea pig — he’s a 4-year-old pit bull and German shepherd mix who belongs to Cassie York, a rehabilitation technician at The Dog House, which recently became fully operational after months of work.
“It’s been a work in progress to make sure everything got up to Hawthorne standards,” York said of the facility, which is operated by Hawthorne Animal Hospital. “We’re able to offer the best client experience and patient experience for people that come by.”
Hawthorne, which has served local pet owners for almost 60 years, acquired the facility for The Dog House in fall of last year and began renovating in October.
The Dog House has been in operation for grooming a few months, but expanded its services last month when it opened a dog park.
Since acquiring the property, Hawthorne has moved its grooming services to The Dog House. Grooming varies in price as it includes anything from nail trimmings to haircuts. The Dog House serves cats and dogs.
The extra space provided the catalyst for the additional facility.
“We wanted to have more room for our grooming facility,” York said. “We also wanted to have room for the treadmill and rehab. The building we’re at over there (Hawthorne Animal Hospital) is usually hopping enough that it was hard to find a place to put the treadmill and give it the space that it warranted. So getting this property was kind of the next natural step in the process to expand and make sure we had the room we needed.”
The unusual underwater treadmill helps dogs recover after injury or surgery.
The treadmill, which costs $45 for one session, is part of the facility’s rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation treatments include the underwater treadmill, balance training and laser therapy procedures.
“Laser therapy is a cold-laser treatment that helps increase blood flow to certain areas, decrease inflammation, and helps with pain,” York said. “So it’s really awesome.”
Because of these benefits, York often uses laser therapy to help pets recover from surgery. One laser therapy session costs $48.79.
In addition to grooming and rehabilitation, The Dog House offers dog training from Pam Piazza, a certified professional dog trainer. Piazza teaches puppy classes, obedience training, agility training and one-on-one training.
Another service is the dog park. Any of The Dog House’s clients can use the park, provided their pet is up to date on required vaccines for rabies, distemper, parvo and Bordetella and has a negative fecal sample.
Across all of their services, York said The Dog House aims to provide excellent customer service to pets and owners.
“We always put the patients first,” she said. “We want to make sure the patients themselves — the dogs, the cats, the animals — that come to see us are comfortable and that we’re giving them exams in a way that doesn’t scare them and giving them treatments in as gentle a way as possible.”
“As an extension, we want to make sure that care extends to the clients,” she said. “I want to sit down with my clients and explain to them what’s the treatment I’m doing with their dog and how it’s going to help.”
York said they also strive to create an environment where clients can ask questions without fear.
“We want to be approachable in that aspect in that they can come to us and know they’re coming to a place that will sit down and take the time to give them the comfort and the answers they need and want to hear to make sure their pet is being well-cared for.”
The excellent customer service is why Janette Minner keeps bringing her dog Meeka back to The Dog House.
“I brought her here because I’ve taken her to other places and she’s just so high-strung and so scared. They just do a good job with her,” Minner said. “And they do a really good job of keeping me informed.”
Katie Elrod, a client of Hawthorne Animal Hospital for 30 years, takes her 13-year-old dog to The Dog House as “prehab” to keep her strong and fit. They have used the treadmill twice. Afterward they use the dog park.
“We take her out to the dog park and she runs around like a spring chicken,” she said.
The Dog House, 24 Kettle River Drive in Glen Carbon, can be reached at (618) 288-3971. Grooming services are usually booked two weeks in advance. The Dog House offers rehabilitation services two days per week, although York said they hope to expand to seven days a week soon. Training classes are on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The dog park is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days per week.
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