Victoria Elena Nones is the owner of Chicago’s Dog Lounge, SIT Social.
A care facility by day and party-lounge function room by night, SIT offers events to suit any dog owner and their needs.
And they do this with quality, service and care always in mind.
Victoria’s passion for her business and love of dogs is embodied through SIT and the quality of service she offers, which is why this dog lounge is so successful.
How did you come up with the idea for SIT Chicago?
SIT was born out of a desire to do something I love, a necessity for financial stability, and the ability to be my own boss.
Have you always been a dog lover?
Growing up we had so many large breeds of dogs in my family.
My mom has a big heart and is the type of person who would give the shirt off her back to those in need.
Our whole family always had a bleeding heart for dogs that was installed in us from a young age, mostly by my mother.
And for me, I feel a huge void whenever dogs weren’t in my life.
They are the true meaning of unconditional love, and humans can learn a lot from dogs.
How do you prepare for, and plan a dog event?
Prep for a dog event is usually pretty simple!
We just have to keep our cute little doggie lounge clean and setup whatever add-ons a client chooses.
We have an awesome selection of party inclusions from chickentinis and long island iced beef dog cocktails, customized dog birthday cakes, and even an E-Photo booth to take fun photos on the day!
We then confirm the date with a rental agreement and organise the deposit, and voila!
We are ready to doggie party.
Why do you think so many people are now celebrating milestones in their dogs life?
I think dogs have always been a great source of companionship, joy, love, humour, and happiness to humans.
We are lucky to call dogs part of our family.
I think people are starting to feel more comfortable expressing their deep affection and love for their pets in a fun and unique way.
It’s a great excuse to get together with fellow dog lovers/dog owners and friends and a great way to spend time together.
The humans get to chat and catch up, while the dogs get to socialize, play, and burn some energy.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of this job is seeing people and their pets come together to have a memorable experience and event.
There is nothing more rewarding than hearing how much fun a group had and how enjoyable the whole experience was.
In terms of also running a daycare facility, what are some of the most rewarding, and in contrast, more challenging aspects of your job?
Dog daycare is a lot of fun.
It means that we get to look after a range of different breeds of dogs, and it gives us lots of opportunities to be creative with the photos and videos we send our clients through our daily “pupdates” (pet updates with photo/video/bathroom behavior/demeanour).
Of course the challenging aspects of dog daycare and animal care in general, are three major factors that can contribute to stress – potty accidents, the volume and frequency of barking, and doggies with different personalities not getting along.
If we could get a dollar for every time we had to pick up dog poop daily, we’d be billionaires!
Earplugs help to drown out the excited barks, and playing anti-anxiety music helps calm down the dogs in the lounge.
When it comes to doggies not getting along (just like humans they can have their moments of needing alone time) we separate, redirect, and re-engage with them, to teach them behavioural manners and traits that will help them engage in large group environments.
Why did you choose Chicago as the foundation for your business?
I love Chicago!
It’s such a beautiful city.
The people here are kind and community oriented and I love how you get a sense of being in a big city (always having something to do) mixed with a very neighbourhood and community vibe.
Back in 2012 when you first opened your business, what was the initial plan? Did you ever expect it to be as successful as it is today?
The initial plan for SIT started as just a dog walking and in home pet sitting facility.
I originally just wanted to make a living doing something I enjoyed and over time it took off with huge success due to the quality of care I promised and delivered to my customers.
I hoped for it to be as successful as the company is today and have plans to continue growing it.
The dream is to eventually franchise.
Which dog function/ event is most popular and why?
The most popular events at our space are the private rentals for dog birthdays, our paint your pet’s portrait class (featured in The Chicago Tribune), and our doggie singles nights in partnership with Match.com.
We love hosting unique, creative, and community building events for dog lovers and owners and hope anyone reading this comes out to give one a try!