Woofington Luxury Petite Dog Resort & Spa
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by Mark Peterson Photography
Who would have thought that a little rescue dog named Toby would be the inspiration for a hugely successful vacation destination for dogs? It’s true. If it weren’t for Toby, there would be no Woofington Luxury Petite Dog Resort & Spa.
Lisa and Michael Larson were eagerly planning their two week vacation to the South Pacific. They made reservations for their dog, Toby to stay at a well–established boarding facility. They planned to drop Toby off on their way to the airport. As the Larsons were checking him in, they were asked if they would like a quick tour of the kennel.
“Of course we did,” recalls Lisa. “But, when we saw the accommodations, my mouth dropped open. The cages they kept the dogs in were crammed 3–high. I was really upset. It wasn’t at all what I expected from a highly recommended facility.”
“It was really disturbing,” said Michael. “Here we were, going on a luxury vacation, and our little Toby would have to stay in this place. Our dog does not sleep in a metal cage or on a concrete floor at home.”
It was on that trip that they decided to open the Woofington. The Larsons knew that they could do things much better than the place where Toby was boarded. Located in an extremely affluent section of the Twin Cities’ metro area called Lake Minnetonka, they were certain that an exclusive, luxury resort for small dogs (under 25 lbs, only) was exactly what their area needed.
“We opened the Woofington on June 27, 2016, determined to provide our clients with unforgettable services and amenities,” said Lisa and Michael. “We strive to provide a ‘Wow!’ experience to each guest, every time they are with us. We take that to heart in everything we do.”
When you step into the Woofington Resort reception area, you are greeted by the charm of British Colonial decor; complete with elegant chandeliers, spectacular artwork, and gorgeous oriental rugs all throughout the facility.
“We have 55 suites, and can accommodate 72 dogs,” says Lisa. “Ten of the suites have password protected webcams that allow the owners to view their pet at any time. All ten of them also have flat panel TVs that feature Dog TV channel.”
Their guests enjoy the comfort of raised Kuranda beds complete with thick fleece pads and cozy plush blankets and pillows. And, included in their daily housekeeping services, freshly ironed pillowcases are placed on their pillows every morning.
“Transparency is of the utmost importance to us,” Michael adds. “We want all of our guests and their owners to experience the welcoming openness of our facility. All of our suites have full glass fronts. We have over 17,000 sq. ft. of glass.”
Most of the guests bring their own food, but full gourmet meals, such as beef tenderloin, salmon or chicken can be individually prepared by trained chefs. Special treats like the Woofington cookies that are freshly made with carrots and peanut butter are a real hit with the pups.
Guests in the lavish Presidential and Dignitary suites get an extra thirty minutes of one–on–one time each night with a staff member who sits in the room with them and reads them stories and gives them belly rubs.
“Our Cyclo Vac wet/dry system cleans and sanitizes our entire facility with pet–friendly, veterinary hospital grade disinfectants,” Michael says. “We sanitize every night and clean constantly throughout the day.”
The guests at Woofington wear Pet Detect collars. A staff member removes the pet’s collar, and replaces it with a tear–away Pet Detect collar. It is printed with “I’m a guest at the Woofington” and includes the dog’s name and suite number on it. Wearing a tear–away collar prevents injuries to a tooth, paw, or toenail from getting stuck in a regular collar during playtime.
All of the boarding clients are also treated to daycare as long as they pass the temperament test. “We have a very interactive daycare. We have toys, tunnels, and agility equipment. There is a ball pit and a couple of pools to splash in.”
“We even have a bubble machine with bacon scented bubbles,” says Lisa with a hearty laugh. “The dogs sure love to pop those bubbles!”
There are both indoor and outdoor play areas that are about 1,000 sq. ft. each. The indoor play area has a 100% recycled rubber flooring that is really easy on pets’ joints and paws when they are running around. The outdoor area is equipped with K9Grass over 6″ of crushed limestone.
There are webcams in the play yards that allow anyone to watch the dogs enjoy a full day of fun.
“We have a little fitness center at the Woofington,” says Michael. “It’s especially geared for dogs that aren’t suited for group play, or senior or special needs pets. We have a mini doggie treadmill that allows them to enjoy a leisurely stroll (supervised by a staff member) in climate controlled comfort.”
The Woofington has two full–time groomers on staff. They do everything from a basic bath to full grooming and spa services. Pampering blueberry facials, exfoliating Dead Sea salt mineral treatments and unique creative coloring are just some of the services that the canine guests can experience. The dogs receive a complimentary exit bath if they stay five or more days.
They have thirteen members in their highly trained staff. Most of them are full–time employees and all of them are trained in pet first aid and CPR.
“We run our business by checklists,” says Lisa. “It really holds everybody accountable. We have morning, midday and closing checklists that cover everything from unlocking the doors, to checking voicemails, to giving medications. As the various tasks are completed, the person signs off.”
“Our website, www.woofington.com, and social media are very important to our success,” adds Michael. “We do quite a bit of Facebook posting. We try to post inspirational messages, famous quotes or dog facts, along with photos of dogs who are staying with us.”
Lisa and Michael are very proud of what they have accomplished and they plan to open more Woofingtons in the Twin Cities’ area and beyond. Little dogs and their owners absolutely love the Woofington. Their spectacular luxury accommodations, finest food, and five-star care has everyone saying, “Wow!” and “Bow–Wow–Wow!”