Donated Carriage Hill dogs spreading happiness
June 25, 2009 | By Pat Krochmal
Carriage Hill Kennels, a Glenview hotel for dogs and cats, is becoming known for more than boarding, grooming and bathing.
It is becoming the go-to place for youth-oriented organizations to pick up a pup for fund-raising efforts.
And that is because Christopher Cocallas of Northfield, who manages the family business with his sister, Francine Barnes of Northbrook, donates some of the AKC registered labrador retrievers, labradoodles and English springer spaniels he breeds.
They are usually the hit of silent auctions. Who can resist a well-bred puppy wearing a big red bow?" Barnes asked. "And Chris's dogs all are so good and steady that they can't go wrong."
"So far, Cocallas has donated pups, valued at $500 each and up, to Glenview Youth Services, a non-profit social service agency devoted to the children of Glenview, Northbrook and Northfield Township; Allendale, a residential treatment center in Lake Villa for childhood mental illness; the Haven, a youth outreach program with 24-hour crisis intervention and other programs; and Lambs Farm, a non-profit in Libertyville serving people with developmental disabilities.
Cocallas also has donated pups to the Dogs with Disabilities Service Dog Association to be trained as service animals to work with disabled patients. And he has provided pups free to local youngsters facing devastating illnesses such as cancer.
"This little girl came in with her family looking for a dog. When I heard her name, I knew that (radio station) US-99 was doing a telethon to help pay for her medical expenses. She picked out a dog and named it 'Survivor." I couldn't take their money. I had to give the pup to her," Cocallas said.
A teenager who had attended Glenview South High School was battling pancreatoblastoma when her parents dropped in to get her a labradoodle. By the time the sale was written up and Cocallas heard her story, the pup was a gift.
And the boy who had a tumor wrapped around his spine also left with a priceless puppy.
The reason for the gifting goes back to the 1960s, when the siblings spent summers with a cousin who was handicapped. Eventually, he had to move to Lambs Farm, Barnes said.
"How can you not want to do something to help when you are blessed with good health? she asked. "And in our family, who has been in the kennel business since 1961, it probably had to be through dogs."
The siblings' parents, James and Doris Cocallas, established the kennels after leaving the restaurant business, which her father hated, Barnes said.
"He loved dogs so much that was all he ever talked about. He would be pouring coffee for a customer and talking to him about dogs. So when the former owner of the kennels put the business up for sale, my father borrowed $10,000 from his mom and worked out a deal," she added. "The first month they had to sell my mom's car to make the payment."
However, the business has not only thrived since then under the Cocallas touch, but also is now expanding.
Construction began last Oct. 16 on a new 5,243-square-foot building on the kennel's site at 2218 Waukegan Road. When completed in the fall, it will feature an 800-square-foot, zero-depth swimming pool designed specifically for dogs, a canine fitness center, grooming facilities and new offices. The facility will offer: swimming, play time and exercise areas, indoor fitness center, training and a pet boutique.
"When you are blessed," Barnes said, "you just have to give back."
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