Animal wellness center being developed in Aurora – Chicago Tribune


Jim Minick still gets a bit choked up when he thinks about his bulldog, Elmo.

The senior, ailing dog of Rick and Mary Ann Minick was in need of care more than 14 years ago. They took him to a place that had ongoing treatment, but did not have 24-hour, seven-days-a-week staffing.


When the Minicks came to see him the next day, Elmo had died during the night.

“We decided there has to be a better way to do this, ” John Minick said. “We vowed to never, ever have an animal die alone. That will never happen here. ”


Here, is All Pets Wellness, an all-inclusive animal wellness center Minick swears is so unique that, once it’s up and running, it will be a model for centers across the country.

“This is the flagship, ” Minick said a few days ago in the building at 1975 Melissa Lane on Aurora’s far West Side. “From this Aurora center, we will sell this around the country. We have the passion, the commitment to get this done. ”

The Minicks have been caring for older dogs since 2005, and in 2008 began working on the concept they say does not exist in the more than 23, 000 clinics across the country.

These people started working on the Aurora site in March 2021, when they were introduced to the site of a former fitness center in the shadow of Interstate 88 on the far West Side. It is located near the Orchard Road exchange with the tollway. They now have their conditional zoning from the city, and are going about finalizing their financing.

As Minick leads a visitor around the cavernous former fitness center, his optimism that the money will be there, and for the grand plan for the more than 7, 000-square-foot center, is contagious.

“This is going to take the country by storm, ” this individual said.

The particular theme park design will include: 24-hour, seven-days-a-week staffing; boarding for both dogs and cats, along with an outdoor area for dogs; state-of-art medical and rehab services; a pet bereavement area with an outdoor memorial garden; dog training and behavior programs; a client care advocate program; grooming; the boutique gift shop with merchandise and food; plus an indoor dog park.

The Minicks plan to offer veterinary care, as well as rehab services that will include equipment such as the Vimago GT 30, a CT scanner Minick says provides a 98% accurate diagnosis of ailments and conditions. He adds that this center will have pain trace, a system to better pinpoint where an animal may be in pain.


The center eventually will have veterinarians on staff, starting as a general practice clinic and moving into specialization.

“It’s one-stop shopping, ” Minick said. “We’re just bringing it under one roof. ”

The middle also will include general areas for the public, for people who might just want to come by, have coffee and be around animals. There will be rental areas for parties and meetings that includes a kitchenette.

There will be an outside area with a fire pit and the center intends to make use of swimming pools that already are there – one for a swim club, and the other for animals to use.

“Everybody wants to be around creatures, ” Minick said.

To that end, he or she intends to open the center in particular to senior citizens and military veterans, who might use the exposure to animals therapeutically.


“They could even become part-time employees, ” he said.

Minick said the company is in the final phase of getting its financing, and will use a phased approach to opening.

He said the first phase will be the recreation side, which he said will be up in 90 to 100 days of getting the final financing. The medical side will be phased, but he stated he expects to be “fully operational” within nine months of opening.

“And we will take this franchise across the country, ” he mentioned.

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