Lakeview throws dog lounge a bone

Dogs+and+their+owners+can+visit+SIT+Social%2C+a+dog+lounge+opening+in+Lakeview+at+3920+N.+Ashland+Ave.+on+May+14.%C2%A0

Victoria Elena Nones

Dogs and their owners can visit SIT Social, a dog lounge opening in Lakeview at 3920 N. Ashland Ave. on May 14. 

Life could become less “ruff” for dog owners in Lakeview with the May 14 arrival of a new “dog lounge.”

Victoria Elena Nones, founder and CEO of the pet boutique SIT Chicago, said she is “thrilled” to open the company’s first dog lounge in May for dog lovers and owners in Lakeview called SIT Social. The lounge will be located at 3920 N. Ashland Ave., a location distinct from the boutique’s 1504 N. Dearborn Parkway location.

“I want this to be like a dog’s living room—a space where they can come and be at their friend’s house to play,” Nones said.

Nones founded SIT in 2012 so dogs could receive a boutique version of doggy day care.

Nones said SIT offers an exclusive level of quality canine care, enrolling just 10–15 dogs. The daycare costs $30 and goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nones said.

The dog lounge will also offer various activities for dog owners including “Doggie Singles Nights,” which can take some stress out of human and pet socializing. This event costs $25 per person, Nones explained, but events like “Paint Your Pets” range from $80–$100.

“We know everybody here is single, and you bring your dogs out, [so] you’re here to have a good time,” Nones said. “It takes a lot of that pressure off so you can naturally socialize with other people.”

Entertaining types can come to  “Dogprov,” a live show in which owners can perform improv with their dogs.

Nones, who received comedy training at the Second City and is also the executive director of Women in Comedy in Chicago, said dogs will be able to participate in an upcoming improv showcase she is producing for SIT.

“Essentially, the improvisers take the dogs on stage with them and have the chance to find creative ways to make the dog part of a scene,” Nones said.

However, Nones said the dogs must pass a behavioral evaluation before participating in SIT events to ensure they are friendly, non-aggressive, healthy and vaccinated.

“We’re five-star rated online [on Yelp, Google and Facebook] and my hope is to continue that reputation,” Nones said.

Julie Schultz, a Lakeview resident who owns two 1-year-old huskies, said she is interested in visiting the dog lounge and is already familiar with SIT and another one of its programs, the “Paint Your Pets” portrait class.

Schultz, who sometimes brings her 1-year-old pups to her office as an editor at a video company, said she enjoys events she can bring her dogs to instead of leaving them at home.

“I always try to find lists things you can do with your dog in the city because sometimes cities aren’t the most dog-friendly places to be,” Schultz said. “Anywhere I can go and be able to include my dogs—I’m totally in.”

Quality care for clients and a desire to reinvent doggie daycare triggered Nones’ interest in developing a dog lounge, primarily for her clients. 

Ian Sherwin, is Nones’ boyfriend and owner and teacher at Ian Sherwin Gallery, the gallery next door to the SIT Chicago space. He and Nones came up with the class together, with the first one launching May 12.

After teaching a painting class as a BYOB social event for five years, Sherwin said many participants would bring their drink of choice and wanted to paint pictures of their pets, which is one of the many activities SIT now offers.

“[Nones’] concept is a place that we can have these pet owners come together with their pets being well taken care of and pampered a wee bit,” Sherwin said. “The benefit of this community is to provide a nice sanctuary for pets.”