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Palm Beach Post, Monday December 17, 2001

Semper Fido: Pets watched all day, night

DELRAY BEACH -- Of all the dogs, cats, birds and other wild ones running around the house, Panda was by far the most ugly.

His fur was sparse. He didn't coo prettily. And he liked dark places.

But Panda was the first animal Arlene Wilson adopted, and she lovingly raised him from a baby.

Wilson was devastated when Panda moved on to the great sewer in the sky after her mother found the foot-long rat one day. But that didn't dim Wilson's devotion to four-legged creatures.

Wilson became a veterinarian technician. On the side, she started a door-to-door pet sitting service, which she later expanded to include transportation to doctor's appointments and airport pickups.

Now, the side business is becoming the main business.

The doors of Palm Beach Counties first 24-hour pet day-care service opened Nov. 17 in a 2,400-square-foot suite in the Park Ten industrial park off Southwest 10th Street.

The Pet Nanny Resort provides day care, boarding, grooming, transportation and medical attention from 24-hour attendants.

Mostly, that attendant will be Wilson, but she will get relief from her family. Her brother's been minding the store at night, and her mom, Sue Fernandez, has been painting for weeks.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Fernandez said recently as she dabbed finisher on the counter.

Once it's done, though, the Pet Nanny will be more than a kennel with a cool name.

The main area will be divided into four rooms for different-size dogs. Each room will have a wading pool, some jungle gym equipment, several toys and a plastic fire hydrant for those who can't wait until walk time.

The room isn't done yet, but the two boarders staying with Wilson last week didn't mind. They ran around the gym and scrapped over toys.

"They're going to have their own TV in here, with Disney movies," Wilson said.

A separate room will house cats and exotics animals such as ferrets, parrots, skunks and monkeys. No rats, though.

There will be no cages, either. The only time Pet Nanny tenants will be penned is for meals or sleeping, Wilson said. Those are the only cases in which Wilson can stand to see her babies behind bars.

"I can tell you, in a million years, I'll take care of 10 animals than one human," said Wilson, who has worked as a nurse's aide. "They might bite you one day, but the next they will show their appreciation for your help."

Wilson tried for two years to open her business in Lake Worth, Boyton Beach and in unincorporated Palm Beach County before settling in Delray Beach.

The why is simple.
"Delray was the first place to let us do this," Wilson said.

There are a couple of other businesses similar to Wilson's in the county, but she prides herself on offering overnight care and other unique, personal services.

A formal grand opening - including gift bags and free daycare gift certificates - is planned for Saturday, but owners going out of town for the holidays can schedule their pet's sleepover at Wilson's place now.



Boca Raton/Delray Beach News - Saturday, December 15, 2001

Pet day-care 'resort' opens today in Delray
by Shaheed Smith

Arlene Wilson planned to wake up this morning and turn a dream into reality.

After a year-and-a-half of setbacks, delays and bureaucratic red tape, Wilson said, she will fulfill a lifelong goal today when she opens her pet-day-care center, The Pet Nanny Resort.

The business will occupy a 2,400-square-foot facility on Southwest 10th Street in the Park Ten First Addition industrila complex in Delray BEach. It will serve as both a day-care center and a boarding facility for pets of all types and sizes, she said.

"I love animals," said Wilson. "When I was growing up, my house was always full of neighborhood strays. In fact, when my daughter was born, I was also taking care of two litters of kittens, while nursing my daughter. I don't know what I would do without animals."

While Wilson's business is not the first local pet day-care center, hers will be the first to offer the services of an onsite veterinarian technicianm, she said. She plans to offer pets limited medical treatment, such as treatment for epilepsy and diabetes, as well as care for disabled dogs.

Currently the only facilities that offer such treatments are veterinarian hospital, and according to Wilson, pets at hospitals are often exposed to contagious diseases.

"We see pets as part of the family, and we feel they should get the care that they deserve," said Wilson. "Our goal is to provide all pet needs under one roof."

Pet care will range anywhere from a few-hours stay while the owner is at work, to short or long-term boarding so clients can take a vacation knowing that their pet is in good hands.

Wilson already owns a family-operated pet-sittng service that offers in-home visits to care for pets while their owners are away.

"I think that it's an absolutely great idea," said Carol Belits, one of Wilson's first clients. "It's better that a pet is cared by a person who is a vet tech because you are certain that they will be taken care of and not just left in cages."

   
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