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Baxter and Beasley Offers Doggie Daycare and More

New business is family affair for longtime dog lovers.

Dogs have a new home away from home with the opening of Baxter and Beasley, 313 W. Colfax St. The business, which opened in late September, offers canine daycare and boarding, as well as training and grooming.

With a 4,000-square-foot indoor play area, Baxter and Beasley is located in an industrial building that sits right next to the Palatine Metra station’s parking garage. The site is ideal, says owner Mike Daidone. “We have nothing but dog-friendly condominiums and apartments around here.”

Mike has about 25 years experience and has been a professional trainer based on the north side of Chicago for the past 10. Along with his wife, Sharon, Mike was looking to start his own business. The Daidones considered locations across the Chicago area, finally settling on Palatine because their daughters, Jennifer Riordan and Joanna Worthington, live here.

Riordan and Worthington are also part of the business. “We wanted something to pass along to our kids,” Sharon said.

Riordan works the reception desk and also handles the bookkeeping. “Jenny is the most organized person in the whole family,” her sister said. Worthington, who is on maternity leave from an ad agency in Chicago, is in charge of marketing. She created Baxter and Beasley’s distinctive sign and logo, which is also rooted in the family. The business is named for a pair of long-ago family pets, and the logo is the silhouettes of those two dogs.

Worthington also drew up the plans for the reception and retail area before her father could. “If he had his way it would be white cinderblocks and a bulletin board in the front room,” she joked. The retail area stocks dog bowls, hand-crafted leather leashes and Fromm dog food, which Mike considers the best on the market.

Dogs who stay at Baxter and Beasley, whether it be for a day or a week, spend little time in cages. They often are in the play area or, weather permitting, in the 3,000-square-foot, fenced-in outdoor play area behind the building. Dogs play and exercise together under the guidance of handlers that Mike has trained. “They [dogs] need socialization. They need stimulation,” Mike said.

Aside from Daidone family members, Baxter and Beasley has five full-time employees: trainer Kelly Steinhoff, groomer Christopher Sjrema and three handlers, who are certified in CPR and first aid for dogs by the Red Cross. “I was looking for people who were involved in dogs and had a very calm, gentle attitude about them,” Mike said. “I think I hired a great staff.”

The play area at Baxter and Beasley has a rubber floor that is scrubbed and disinfected three times a day. “We’re neat freaks,” Mike said. Baxter and Beasley has been certified and licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The Daidones spent a year preparing to open their business, and in that time news broke about Muddy Paws, the Deer Park dog boarding facility where 34 neglected dogs starved to death. Mike considers it imperative that his customers know their dogs are safe in a secure place with trustworthy caretakers. “I enjoy transparency,” he said. “I tell my customers, ‘You are cordially invited to visit our facility anytime, unannounced.’”

When visitors walk into Baxter and Beasley’s lobby, the first thing they see is an imposing flat-screen monitor behind the desk with security-camera views of every room and hallway where the dogs would be. “I would never let anyone have my dog if I didn’t know what was going on,” Mike said.

Although Baxter and Beasley offers many services to dog owners, training dogs remains Mike’s passion. He is always willing to take on a difficult case. “I like working with aggressive dogs,” he said. “I like rehabilitating them.” Mike works with several animal rescue organizations, including Great Lakes Lab Rescue, Midwest Dachshund Rescue and the West Suburban Humane Society.

Even before it opened, Baxter and Beasley had a waiting list of clients. “The location next to the train station really helped, with commuters coming out [of the garage] and seeing the sign,” Riordan said.

Because the business is family-operated, Baxter and Beasley can be flexible for the customers, Mike said. For instance, if an owner misses his train and will be late picking his dog, someone will be waiting for him (providing he calls). “The biggest thing we have to offer is service,” Mike said.

A full schedule of obedience classes goes into effect Oct. 25. More events to introduce the business to the community will follow, including a “Howl-o-ween” dog costume party Oct. 29 and a pet wellness clinic Nov. 6.

Baxter and Beasley’s family atmosphere is impossible to miss. Sharon especially enjoys spending time with her grandchildren when they bicycle over after school to do their homework. Bringing the family together was one goal of the business. “It’s working out really well,” she said.

For more information on Baxter and Beasley, visit the business’ website or Facebook page, or call (847) 358-9663.

The phone number that was originally published in this story was incorrect. The information has been corrected.

Sharon October 18, 2011 at 02:01 AM
I took a tour of the place and the guy refused to give me references for training, He left he left on bad terms. RED FLAG!
pamela October 18, 2011 at 02:18 AM
I LOVE this place, the family, and all the staff. My GSD is eager to spend her day with the other dogs and I have every confidence that she is well loved and cared for while at "school". Mike has credentials that everyone who knows trainers and dogs knows about...he doesn't have to prove a thing :) You go, Daidaone Family and thankyou!
Jennifer Riordan October 18, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Thanks for the great article Jeffrey...just one thing...the phone number to Baxter and Beasley is 847.358.9663. The number listed in the article is actually our fax number.
Brian Slupski (Editor) October 18, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Hi Jennifer Thanks for pointing this out. I have fixed the story and added a correction at the end.
Jill May October 18, 2011 at 06:06 PM
I have been several times to Baxter & Beasley and am most impressed with how professional the trainers and handlers are. Kudos to Christopher for managing to clip my dog's VERY curled back dew claws. Jennifer couldn't be more helpful and friendly - you can tell she knows that business inside and out!
Mike Daidone October 18, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Sharon, I am very sorry you had an unpleasant experience at Baxter & Beasley. In regards to my credentials, I have been training dogs for the last 25 years as an independent contractor. When I first began in this business, I learned my trade from Alex Rothacker, a wonderful and well-respected dog trainer in his own right. Ever since then, I've been working independently and am fortunate enough to have finally followed my own dream -- opening my own business with my family. I sincerely hope your initial impression doesn't discourage you from coming back. We would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to work with you and your dog. If you have any questions please feel free to call or stop by! - Mike Daidone, owner of Baxter & Beasley
Larrysmom October 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM
My husband and I have been very impressed with Mike and his facility. Had Mike over for a private training session and he provided us with great training tools that have made a huge difference in our dogs behavior as well as our confidence level with our dog. We have also brought our dog over for "daycare" several times and have just signed up for the advanced training class. We can't say enough great things about Mike and his staff.
Palatine Pride May 18, 2012 at 08:06 PM
My only visit I brought my dog to have her nails trimmed and dremeled. Her nails were not dremeled which is good since one was already bleeding. Felt weird walking in, results support the feeling. Wizard of paws in hoffman estates is worth the drive.
Mike May 22, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The dog in question was quite excited and also had an accident in the grooming room - it was very difficult for our groomer to cut and dremmel the nails which were curling under - when this occurs, the vein known as the quick is extremely long and is more apt to getting nicked. We were successful at dremmeling the nails. I would venture to say that, unfortunately, every groomer in this business has had a dog's nail accidently get nicked. The Staff at Baxter and Beasley

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