Run by two sisters, the popular spot has a philanthropic mission

By People Staff
Updated March 18, 2010 03:05 PM

Animal-loving sisters Beth and Cheryl Staley were tired of the corporate world. With several dogs between them, they knew they wanted to start their own business – one with a pet-friendly theme. So six years ago, they opened the Happy Dog Barkery in suburban Chicago, a place where everybody knows your name – if you’re a dog!

The wildly popular spot in Downers Grove is known for its birthday cakes – the busy staff sometimes makes up to 15 a day – as well as savory treats like the “leaping liver cake,” ham and Swiss cookies and fresh-baked blueberry bites. “People have tried them too,” says marketing manager Chris McDaniel of the shop’s goodies. “All of the ingredients are human-grade, and come from the grocery store.”

But the Happy Dog Barkery isn’t all about treats: It’s about giving back too. “Beth fosters a lot of dogs,” says McDaniel. “And both sisters help so many dogs in the community.” The Staleys run rescue events outside their storefront on a weekly basis, welcoming pups of all breeds from as far away as Indiana. “There are always dogs here,” McDaniel says. They also donate proceeds from various store events to the rescue organizations they work with.

More than anything, the sisters value that personal touch – they’re on a first-name basis with their returning customers and even dog-sit for regulars. “They literally know every dog that comes in,” says McDaniel. “It’s amazing to see.”

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 jar natural peanut butter
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour (can substitute barley, rice or oat flour)
2 cups skim milk

1. Mix all ingredients together (add extra flour if desired).
2. Roll out flat and cut into your favorite shapes.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown. (And, most important, be sure to let the cookies cool before serving them to your salivating pup!)
4. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Chicagoland readers: Print out this article (with photo) for $1 off your purchase at the Happy Dog Barkery!