Best Friends Forever

Your pets take good care of you. When you go away, take good care of them at a kennel with a little something special. Plus, There’s new leadership at A.I., and how to prevent diabetes.

Sydney the mastiff enjoys playtime in the inside yard at Camp Bow Wow in Newark. Photo by John LewisWhen Sue Towers traveled to Norway for two weeks, she didn’t worry about Wilson, her Portuguese Water Dog. Wilson spent time with Auntie Kim in Never Never Land, where hamburgers are served on holiday weekends and hugs and kisses abound.

Wilson is not a Disney character. He’s a real dog, and Never Never Land is a real place, a kennel and cattery between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. “They are absolutely wonderful,” Towers says of the staff, which includes manager “auntie” Kimberly Wade. “Wilson walks right in, tail wagging, and I’ve noticed many dogs doing the same thing.”

Leaving your dog for a day, a week or a month can be more painful than leaving a child at daycare or camp. The dog can’t tell you when the other kids are being mean, and you can’t explain that you’ll be back.

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But your pet is good to you, giving unconditionally in ways you can’t describe, so it’s only fair to be good back—especially when you go away. So like Towers, many pet owners seek places that have a paw up on the stereotypical kennel. Here are 10 places that take day care and boarding to the next level.

All Aboard Grooming
In Dagsboro, All Aboard (732-9268, has a brisk grooming and retail business. Boarders, however, check in for the “presidential suite,” which boasts a TV for couch potato pooches. Presidential and mini-suites have customized heating and air conditioning. Playtime means play with staffers only, not other pups. That’s also true for cats, who reside in “condos” with multiple floors. Someone is onsite 24 hours a day, and if you feel like adding to the family, the SPCA is nearby.

Bark Avenue Dog Day Camp
Dogs at this 3,200-square-foot Claymont facility (792-2403, are part of a family. “Most employees bring their dogs here when they’re working,” says owner Ben Burke. “We have customers whose kids work here during the summer. They all love dogs.” Fences separate dogs by size and temperament. There’s no daytime crating. Bark Avenue will also board pets who are daycare customers. They sleep in kennels at night, but a lamp and radio provide reassurance. During the day, dogs are walked every two hours. “We want to discourage accidents as much as possible,” Burke says. “Basically, we reinforce anything the parents are working on, whether it’s ‘no jump’ or ‘sit.’” Bark Avenue also offers spa services.

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Camp Bow Wow
This Newark business (738-2267, offers overnight “camping” and daycare. Dogs, separated by size and temperament, cavort in indoor or outdoor play areas. If your pet doesn’t play well with others, seek another option. “Owners, for the most part, know what works well for their animal,” says owner Laurie Williams. At night, campers retreat to heated and air-conditioned “cabins,” not crates. There are 10 cameras so you can spy on your pet via the Internet from the Caribbean. The high-tech facility also has an advanced alarm system. Williams lives four miles from the site, so she can respond quickly. She also runs Home Buddies, which provides in-home care services for pets.

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Dog Dayz Dog Daycare
In downtown Wilmington, this facility (655-5506, offers daycare and boarding for daycare clients. Up to 30 dogs hang out in one play area. “It works just fine,” says Brian Alessandrini, the “pack manager.” “The Chihuahuas can scare a Lab away if the Lab is in their face too much.” Boarders spend the night in crates or, if they are more comfortable, they sleep on a blanket in the main area. The business can arrange for pet sitting at home, and it offers bathing.

Doggies at the Beach
Humans stay with animals 24 hours a day at Doggies at the Beach in Rehoboth Beach (644-8200,, a crate- and kennel-free environment. An employee even sleeps with the dogs overnight. There are three play areas, which owners can view on webcams, and an outdoor potty area. On weekends, guests watch “Lady & the Tramp.” “They love the spaghetti scene,” says owner Jim Reiter. During Saturday dancing sessions, pets learn to cha-cha on two back feet, and once a month, a licensed veterinarian visits the site to give discount vaccinations for dogs and cats. The groomer also handles dogs and cats.

Doggie Playhouse
With nearly 4,000 square feet of indoor play space, Doggie Playhouse in Newark (456-3647, offers two climate-controlled rooms for comfortable play. During “nap time,” dogs are escorted to extra-large crates for a midday rest. Doggie Playhouse supplies the toys and bedding unless the dog is a boarder, in which case parents can bring bedding to foster a sense of home.

Tucked behind Fairfax Shopping Center in North Wilmington, the dog-only Dogtopia (622-8388, caters primarily to daycare guests but accepts boarders. Boarders are crated at night, but the rest of the time it is a joyful free-for-all. Dogs roam in one of three rooms. Animals are divided by size, age and temperament. Visit the website and click on the gym, romper room or lounge. Rooms are cleaned around noon, when pooped dogs take a nap and the real poop is whisked away, says manager Kelsey Dickinson. Dogtopia also offers grooming.

Page 3: Best Friends Forever, continues…

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Happy Tails Pet Retreat
Deluxe 4-by-5-foot rooms at this Georgetown facility (856-7900, boast windows and gated doors, while the 6-by-6 rooms feature all that—and a flat-screen TV. All accommodations have access to covered patios. Cats spend nights in 3-by-4 “cottages” with wall shelves for climbing and leaping. The larger “villas” have a window for bird-watching. Happy Tails also offers spa services, such as the Life’s An Itch bath with passion fruit, skin-soothing shampoo.

Never Never Land
Never Never Land (645-6140, is popular with both locals and visitors who rent beach houses that don’t allow pets. “We take anything—ferrets, fish, bunnies, snakes. You’d be surprised,” says manager Kimberly Wade. From heated and air-conditioned kennels, dogs have access to outdoor runs. Cats are boarded inside in cubbies with shelves for climbing. Homesick dogs who won’t eat are treated to owner Allen Quillen’s egg-and-cheese concoction. “That usually gets the most stubborn to eat,” Wade says. A few of the staff, including Wade, live on the property. “If someone is barking, I know it,” she says. “I can come and check on them.” Never Never Land also offers grooming and obedience classes.

Playtime Doggie Daycare
With 2,400 square feet for large dogs and 1,500 square feet for small dogs, Playtime in Newark (368-3100, encourages mingling. Padded flooring protects paws, and dogs are walked outside every other hour. Daycare guests are never crated. “We’ve had a lot of shelter dogs come through here who’ve been abused in cages, and it has a negative impact,” says owner Elissia Jones. If they want to take a nap, they simply flop on the floor. Boarders get a kennel for nighttime rest. Playtime also features grooming.


Know This:

Before you book daycare or overnight time for your pet, ask the facility the following questions to determine which site is a good fit.

  • Is there an age requirement for the pet?
  • Must the animal be spayed or neutered? What vaccinations are required?
  • Are toys provided? Can you bring your own?
  • Are there employees in each playroom at all times?
  • Is the dog crated at any point during the day?
  • Is the dog walked outside, or is it strictly an indoor facility?
  • Does the facility give the animals a temperament test and what is involved?
  • Are there extra fees for playtime, giving medication or feeding?
  • What is the check-in and checkout policy?
  • If the facility is a daycare, are boarded dogs still permitted to play together on weekends, when daycare services are closed?

 Page 4: New at A.I. | CEO Churchwell has big plans for the hospital.


New at A.I.

CEO Churchwell has big plans for the hospital.

New leadership at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children brings change. Under CEO Kevin B. Churchwell, M.D., that
means strengthening initiatives that are already under way.

“We are moving beyond adjusting the physical hospital environment to accommodating Mom and Dad in the patient room, and will be working to integrate them with their child’s care team,” Churchwell says. “And we will continue to focus on the needs of children before they reach our doors by further developing services like Nemours Health & Prevention and Nemours BrightStart! in our community.”

Churchwell came to A.I. by way of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville, which, under his leadership, was named one of the 25 best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

At A.I. Churchwell will support existing measures to improve facilities, as well as programs to enhance care. He hopes parents will look to Nemours for innovative solutions to health care needs. His vision may already be a reality.
—Katie Anderson

Page 5: Doctor’s Orders | Lucinda Mancuso Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Diabetes Education Coordinator



Doctor’s Orders

Lucinda Mancuso
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Diabetes Education Coordinator

“Eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a good weight and exercise are the three primary things for preventing diabetes. Being more physically active helps manage weight, but it can also boost insulin sensitivity. If you’re questioning whether you have diabetes, get yourself to a doctor, especially if you’re overweight, 45 or older or have a family history of diabetes.” 



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