By Jacob Mathias
A lifelong love of dogs led to a career for Carol Wesenberg, owner of the Dog Star Resort in Wisconsin Rapids.
Wesenberg worked for about 13 years at Renaissance Learning, an educational software company, before moving into business on her own and building the 17-acre dog resort from the ground up in March 2011. Dog Star offers dog boarding for short and long-term stays and daycare often hosting more than 50 dogs. Available to the dogs is air conditioning, in-floor heat, outdoor swimming pools, outdoor play equipment, large and secure outdoor play yards, an indoor playroom, large private rooms, grooming facilities and attention provided by experienced staff who are certified in pet first aid.
“I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve been involved with them since I was a kid,” she said. “I took care of neighbor dogs…it’s always been a passion of mine.”
Prior to starting the resort, Wesenberg was active with the Clark County Humane Society as a board member and fostered many dogs as part of a border collie rescue. She also worked at a dog boarding and day care facility that is now the location of the South Wood County Humane Society. As she worked at the humane societies and dog care facilities she realized the way to continue doing what she wanted was to start her own business.
Wesenberg said she’s always connected with dogs.
“To me they’re very honest. You can tell their feelings. You can see their reactions,” she said. “With humans it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to feel out a person’s true nature and with dogs I’ve always kind of naturally connected with them.”
When she first opened the resort, Wesenberg maintained her full-time job with Renaissance Learning until the resort became self-sufficient, a goal she said came much quicker than she’d anticipated. She added more kennels soon after opening to allow for more dogs but she said at time’s it’s overwhelming because she often doesn’t have room for all the dogs that need boarding.
“It’s hard to say no,” she said.
In the future, Wesenberg is looking to replace the dog’s swimming pool and replace some turf in the outdoor play area. She also wants to expand the dog’s play area.
Wesenberg lives on the resort and has nine dogs of her own and they keep her busy when she’s not running the business.
“When you get involved in dog rescue, you tend to sometimes get attached to some of the ones that you fostered,” she said. “Some of them were ones I was fostering and ended up adopting.”
The Dog Star Resort is located at 5325 80th St. S. in Wisconsin Rapids. Wesenberg encourages dog owners to visit during her lobby hours which run daily from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Tours are available for those interested in seeing what the facility can offer their dogs.