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North Hills Monthly

Lucky Paws Lets Pets Live the Resort Life

May 31, 2018 08:22PM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

Brindle, a four-legged customer at Lucky Paws Pet Resort

Luxury suites and a swimming pool are essential components for vacationing at a resort. Add in an open field with agility equipment, a spa, a myriad of training classes, and lots of love and snuggles, and you have all the ingredients for the perfect canine vacation. 

Stay and Play a While

Lucky Paws, a four-acre facility just outside Cranberry, is a haven for dogs year-round, but now that the warm weather is here, the 23,000-gallon saltwater zero-entry dog pool is open for wading, swimming, frolicking and splashing. Dogs who come to day care or who are hotel guests can use the pool up until 3 p.m.; after that, the pool is open to the public.

This year, the pool has gotten a makeover, said owner Gretchen Fieser, who purchased Lucky Paws in 2014 after almost 12 years of working for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. 

“We had a concrete company come in and sandblast all the paint off the pool and we invested in a new epoxy paint, which is the same paint used at the Pittsburgh Zoo in the polar bear exhibit,” said Fieser. She added that it is not only aesthetically pleasing but also contains grit, providing traction so that the dogs don’t slip and slide when they enter the pool.

Fieser said that the pool, which she refers to as “dog TV,” is totally unique. “I am not aware of any other dog pool around where the public has access throughout the summer,” she said.

Like human pools, the pool at Lucky Paws is open seasonally, but the dog-swimming season is a little longer; Fieser will keep it open as long as the weather is nice. Last year, the pool was open until later October, commensurate with the unseasonably warmer weather. 

The pool is located in the middle of a fenced-in play area, which includes agility equipment, a jungle gym, tunnels, and lots of grass to sniff.

Good Dog!

Besides endless amounts of fun for pooches and their people, Lucky Paws offers agility, obedience and other training classes for dogs of all ages, in both group and private settings.

Dr. John Osheka leads a unique, six-week Nosework class in which he teaches dogs to use their noses to distinguish certain scents. He is currently working on training dogs to detect hidden articles that smell like clove, birch or anise. The dogs can take the class for fun or to become certified through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. Regarding Lucky Paws, Dr. Osheka commented, “It’s a great facility; it’s a very clean, friendly environment. The families that bring their dogs in are committed and fun to work with, and the staff is tremendous.” 

Lucky Paws’ employee Krista Lancy teaches a variety of training classes to puppies as young as eight weeks all the way through to becoming a therapy dog. “We also offer training while the dog is boarding or while at day care,” she said.

Susan Wagner is the executive director of Perfect Fit Canines, a nonprofit that trains service dogs. The organization does not have its own kennel; the dogs stay with puppy raisers until they are placed. Wagner needed a place to train the dogs, and after losing her rental space, Fieser offered her the use of Lucky Paws' facilities for training after hours.

“We’re really, really fortunate that she offered to donate space for us,” said Wagner.


Dogs whose owners arrange for them to stay at Lucky Paws while they are away have really hit the jackpot. As part of a continuing effort to invest in the property and turn it into a state-of-the-art facility, Lucky Paws recently completed a renovation to traditional kennels by replacing them with 46 brand new patio suites, so that dog guests now have access to the outdoors. “Think of it like a patio at your house,” said Fieser. “When it’s a beautiful morning, the doors are open for the dogs to go outside and enjoy the patio, with the option to go back inside.”

The suites, which feature heated ceramic floors, air conditioning and cable TV, also enable the dogs to have some alone time if they do not want to be around other dogs or people. Fieser added that Presidential Suites are in the process of being built and will be coming soon.

Cats are also welcome to board at Lucky Paws and have their own multi-level cat condos, which includes heated floors, cable TV, and a fish tank.

Puppy Love

Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of Lucky Paws is the love that emanates from the staff for their canine clients. “The staff just loves the dogs; they put the dogs first. We get attached to the dogs as if they are our own,” said Lancy. 

Debby Daff-Siggins has been bringing her Jack Russell, Brindle, to Lucky Paws for day care for seven years. Brindle is now joined by Rylie, age 1. Daff-Siggins knew she needed day care, as Brindle was an energetic puppy. After extensive research, she chose Lucky Paws.

“Lucky Paws was my pick because of the knowledge of the staff. They are trained in dog behavior, they have certification, and I felt the most comfortable entrusting them with the care of our dogs,” said Daff-Siggins. “The dogs are like their children, and that is exactly the place I wanted.”

Lucky Paws’ success is built on a platform of safety. “Every single dog that comes to Lucky Paws has a medical record with them that shows that they are current on vaccines and that they had a fecal test in the last year,” said Fieser, which gives the customer a degree of confidence that all of the dog visitors are in good health. She added that they do not “breed profile.”

For Fieser, going to work is a new experience every day. “We want to give everyone the absolute best. We are very grateful to our clients, and we love meeting new people and new dogs," she said. "We have incredible four-legged customers that I feel incredibly lucky to know. Every day, I look forward to meeting someone new.”

To learn more about Lucky Paws, visit