Boarded pets roam free at Maple Shade resort

Photo by Jenn Lucas MAKING a dog look its best is one of the groomers at Villa La Paws, Amanda Boeman a cage-free boarding pet resort in Maple Shade.

MAPLE SHADE—Who let the dogs out? The people at Villa La Paws Pet Resort in Maple Shade did. The new cage-free dog boarding business opened recently on Route 41 and gives your pets the rule of the roost while you’re away.

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Most dog owners fret over what to do with their beloved pup when the go on vacation or travel for the holidays. The thought of their furry buddy penned up in a cold cage, sad and alone is enough to make almost anyone cancel their trip to save the dog the torment. But at Villa La Paws, owner and dog lover Mike Sinko says he wants owners to feel at ease leaving their dogs in his care.

“We visited Villa La Paws in Phoenix and couldn’t wait to introduce the concept to South Jersey,” said he said. “I was amazed to walk into a quiet, calm environment where the dogs seemed at home. As pet owners, we know the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pet is happy, comfortable and well taken care of is priceless.”

Co-owner, Linda Toogood, says it’s amazing how well the staff handles the dogs. She said when they go out to relieve themselves in the fenced in yard, they’re only allowed to go out one at a time. The trainer stands at the door and lets them in and out one-by-one, like in grade school. Also like in grade school, if the dog acts up or tries to push his way out, he is sent to the back of the line.

“It’s kind of funny because you’ll see a big dog like a Doberman pincher get told and shown to go to the back of the line and he’ll hang his head knowing he did something wrong,” she said.

The dogs are separated by size into different play area and sleeping rooms, Mike Sinko said. Before they’re even allowed to be boarded at Villa La Paws, dogs must pass a Good Citizens test, be current on vaccinations and to be spayed or neutered. In the sleeping rooms there are old couches and a few doggie cots, but owners are encouraged to bring whatever their dogs enjoy sleeping on most, Sinko said. Besides cage-free sleeping and playing environments, Sinko said, the specially trained dog watchers lead the animals in play to keep them busy, Toogood said.

The 7,400-square-foot pet resort and spa includes five play areas, according to Sinko, four for dogs based on size and temperament, with a separate room for young pups and petites and a room for cats. The facility also has a cage-free grooming shop and two large outdoor play areas.

One of the neatest features at Villa La Paws, according to Sinko, is that if pet owners miss Fido or Fluffy while they’re being boarded, there’s a 24-hour web cam going where parents can check on their fur babies.

“There are 24/7 webcams throughout our facility, both inside and out so pet owners can watch online, and even accessible on your iPhone, Droid or iPad, while you are traveling,” Sinko said.

The cat room is slightly different than the rest of the facility, Toogood said, because most cats don’t play well with other cats.

“We do have cages in the cat room,” she said. “But if the only cats we have are from the same home, they can roam free, but if there are a lot of cats, we need to keep them happy, and that usually means away from cats they don’t know.”

She said cat owners are also welcome to bring a bed, toys or anything their feline friends would want to keep them content during their stay. In addition to boarding, Villa La Paws offers a full line of grooming services and dog training.

For more information, call 856-608-7833, visit or connect on Facebook.

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