Every parent gets excited to celebrate their baby’s first birthday, and Chunk’s mom was no exception.
As with most birthday parties, there were balloons, decorations, party hats and, of course, a cake for the birthday boy.
The 1-year-old getting the royal treatment in this case was Brenda Ybarra’s beloved English bulldog, Chunk.
“He’s like my baby,” the 41-year-old said. “I have five other children, and I mean, he’s one of our family. We can’t imagine not doing a birthday party for him. He’s just like one of my kids.”
So she planned the celebration at Perfect Paws, a new pet salon and resort located at 2212 W. Fern Ave., in McAllen.
“His brothers are going to come, too, along with the breeder,” Ybarra said.
Games and playtime were scheduled, and there was even a cake for the dog — an organic wheat and peanut butter treat.
“Bulldogs are very sensitive,” Ybarra said. “They’re always allergic to stuff and there’s a lot of things you have to worry about, so the first place I thought of was Perfect Paws.”
Perfect Paws has been serving the Upper Valley since 2000, when the first location opened in McAllen. At the time, only grooming services were available.
At the beginning of March, the business’ second location opened its doors and now offers dog training, doggie day care, birthday parties and pet hotel services along with grooming services.
“Pet parents,” as general manager Adele Vega calls them, can’t always travel with their beloved pets, so sometimes they have to board an animal at a kennel. But Perfect Paws’ owners and staff wanted to offer something a little more special, Vega said.
“This is incredible, and everything is so well laid out and thought out,” said Charles Marina, a dog owner from Mission.
Marina, a realtor, loves his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but keeping his dog at work is distracting.
“This type of dog is very social and they’d rather be around a human than another dog,” Marina said.
So Marina, 58, took a tour of the resort and decided to bring Duke, his 6-year-old dog, to Perfect Paws three days per week.
“We’re planning on taking a vacation and leaving him here … I think my wife and I are more excited about this,” he said.
Day care at Perfect Paws starts at 7:30 a.m., and pets need to be picked up by 6 p.m. Alternatively, a half day of five hours of petsitting is an option.
“(Owners) say … ‘Just make sure they’re tired when we pick them up,’” Vega said.
Dogs get to spend the day with other canines, running, jumping and playing outside until they’re ready to head indoors where they’ll continue to play fetch, solve puzzles and get more exercise in the day care room.
The resort has more than 50 rooms for overnight stays, which vary in size to accommodate every breed from a teacup Chihuahua to a Great Dane. And each room seems more comfortable than a crate or chain-link gated dog run.
A basic room includes a comfy pet bed or cot, and a bowl of fresh water.
Each half door is equipped with a clear panel so the dog can see out, and above each room is an awning to make it seem more like home.
Penthouses are larger and include amenities such as a TV playing dog movies, and canine art on the wall.
Although the resort is preferred by dog owners, Perfect Paws makes room for cats, too. The smaller units, duplexes, are a good size for a cat and the staff goes to great lengths to make clients’ kitties feel welcome, too.
“We do have cat beds, cat toys, and those risers where they can jump in and play and hide,” Vega said.
Regardless of which room is chosen, all pets are treated equally, getting lots of attention from the employees.
“We have room service twice a day,” Vega said.
She explained the staff takes the animals out to do their business and play two to four times a day — or even more if the pet is used to going out more often.
Also, each room has a chart where staff members will mark when Fido has gone out, if everything was normal, whether he’s eating or if he happens to get sick, “so the client is always aware,” Vega said.
When night falls, the resort is locked down, but there is a night shift so the dogs and cats are never completely alone.
“That’s when we do our deep cleaning, at night, and also keep an eye on the dogs,” Vega said.
Pet parents like Marina are grateful for places like Perfect Paws, which Marina said he didn’t expect to see in a small city.
“It’s just unbelievable,” he said. “… This is a real tribute to the city of McAllen, to Adele and the whole staff … we wouldn’t take him anywhere else.”
For more information on Perfect Paws, call (956) 668-PAWS, or visit the website at www.perfectpawsresort.com.
Amy Nichol Smith covers features and entertainment for The Monitor. She can be reached at email@example.com, (956) 683-4420 and on Facebook.