NORWALK, Conn., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pet parents across the U.S. have entrusted Best Friends Pet Care (www.bestfriendspetcare.com) with the care of their dogs and cats for more than 14 million pet nights over two decades – far more than any other company in the industry.
Founded in 1992, Best Friends will celebrate its 20th anniversary with free doggy ice cream and cookies for visitors to its 42 locations June 2-3.
"Our founders pioneered the idea of a national hotel chain for pets to reassure clients of a consistent high standard of care no matter where they went," said Best Friends President and CEO John Heyder, who has been with the company since 1996. "For two decades, we've led the industry in innovation, designing services and amenities that are meaningful to pet parents and safe and healthy for pets."
Best Friends changed the face of pet boarding with its flagship center in Norwalk, Conn. in 1996. Responding to pet owner feedback, the company designed a facility offering boarding, grooming and training all under one roof. It was located in town, rather than in a rural area, addressing pet owners' demand for greater convenience.
"Pet lovers were so excited by the concept, they almost blew the doors off the building," notes Heyder. "We opened in October and were full, with a waiting list, for Thanksgiving and Christmas that year."
Other innovations have included: its much-copied doggy day camp program, launched in 1998; the first online reservation system in the industry; its use of technology, webcams and social media; special amenities like holiday dinners and bedtime stories; and its travelling Treat Truck, which visits local dog-friendly venues giving away canine treats.
Because of its leadership, Best Friends was selected to be the exclusive pet care provider for Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, where the company opened a 50,000-square-foot Pet Resort in 2010.
Over the years, Best Friends has made a priority of giving back to its communities, organizing adoption events for local animal rescues and hosting educational programs for pet owners. The company's holiday Angel Tree campaign, now in its 12th year, collects donations to help homeless pets at more than 80 shelters.
Best Friends campaign to put pet oxygen masks into the hands of firefighters was responsible for equipping fire departments in more than 500 towns and cities across the country, including the entire state of Connecticut and all 100 fire stations in Houston, Texas.
About Best Friends
Best Friends Pet Care Inc. (www.bestfriendspetcare.com) offers customized and comprehensive care -- including boarding, day camp, grooming and training -- for dogs and cats at 42 centers across the county, including in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and at Walt Disney World.