Lee — There are roughly 84 million dogs in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and, as their owners will happily tell you, every single one of them is different. Different shapes and different sizes, of course, but also different personalities, different tastes, different levels of training, energy and confidence — all considered, it adds up to a whole lot of different needs to be met.

And that’s not even touching on the 60 million cats lording over American households.

The staff at Love Us And Leave Us, with locations in Pittsfield and Lee, understand that every pet is an individual, and continue to expand their services to provide personalized care for animals of all kinds.

Slowing things down in the Housatonic Lounge

Most doggy daycare programs split up guests into “big dog” and “small dog” groups, but LULU has carved out another space just for puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with special needs. “We are excited for our new additional playroom, the Housatonic Lounge, which is a space for dogs that are shy, senior, or too small or young to be in the larger playgroups,” explained Heather Franckling, manager at the Lee location.

The room, located on the facility’s ground floor to ease access for dogs who might have trouble navigating stairs, is dominated by an oversized comfy couch perfect for lounging the day away. The Lounge also has plenty of open space to play when the urge strikes, but the group is significantly smaller and quieter than the other playgroups. “This room is attached to our office, and there are always people there to interact and snuggle the dogs,” Franckling said.

The designated space will allow LULU to take on younger puppies in a safe environment, Franckling explained. “When we have young puppies in there, it gives us a great opportunity to work on socialization skills and training in a small dog group with them,” she said.

A trip to the Spaw

In early 2022, the company’s Lee location unveiled an exciting new addition to the year-old facility: a fully-equipped grooming salon, complete with its own full time groomer, Libby Graham. Graham joined the LULU team in April 2021 as a dog handler, before graduating from grooming school this January. “We are so proud of her,” Franckling said. “Customers are raving about her grooms and we are expecting a very busy spring and summer.”

LULU’s services include conventional offerings like baths, nail trims, shed outs, full body cuts and sanitary trims (the “face, feets, and fanny” option), as well as luxury treatments such as mineral baths and blueberry facials. Graham also offers breed-specific cuts and happily accepts all fur types.

Daycare clients can schedule appointments during their pup’s regular stay, for added convenience. As in all the best spas, guest comfort is the top priority: “[Graham] takes her time with each dog, using an approach of providing an experience with the least amount of stress possible,” Franckling said. “We want every dog that visits us to have the best experience possible.”

Feline clients can enjoy the salon, as well. Graham offers nail clips, coat trims and shaves for even the fluffiest of cats.

Welcome to the Wildcat Den

And speaking of cats… Cat owners, it turns out, occasionally take vacations, too.

Love Us And Leave Us provides overnight accommodations designed with felines in mind. The Lee facility’s cat room is an airy, open space with multiple large windows and a giant cat tower perfectly positioned to watch goings on in the backyard. “In our Wildcat Den we have spacious catio enclosures, where the cats have multiple levels and six feet of space to sprawl out in, as well as fresh water fountains in each catio,” Franckling said. “We do take turns giving them time outside of their catios, and they are able to play in the room and perch on our large cat tree that sits in front of a large sunny window, with a view of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.”

Small animal owners can also turn to LULU for a safe place to board their less conventional critters. Staff work with owners to provide appropriate care and accommodations for small mammals, birds and reptiles — pets that aren’t often welcome in a typical boarding facility. In the last year, LULU has hosted a handful of small pets, including guinea pigs and even a ball python.

LULU hasn’t had any birds stay with them as of yet, but Franckling was enthusiastic about the possibility. “We want to see them all,” she said with a smile. “Every kind of animal.”