GLENVIEW – It might not have happened at all. Francine Barnes’ father might have stuck with serving Greek omelets to Evanstonians in the family business. But one day, her mother spotted a kennel for sale in Glenview. After a few touch-and-go years—at one point, a car was sold to make payments—the world got a lot better for the region’s dogs. Careful, detailed grooming. Safe housing. Expert training, and more.
Fifty-six years later, Carriage Hill Kennels, which is owned by Francine and her brother Chris Cocallas, was named Business of the Year by the Glenview Chamber of Commerce. The Awards Ceremony is part of the Chamber’s Board Installation and Awards on January 10, 2018. The award arrived on the heel of winning acclaim as the best in pet boarding in the North Shore Choice Awards. Also included in the business: an aquatic center for dogs needing gentle exercise or just plain fun, and four puppy breeding programs (some of the puppies are donated to the Dogs with Disabilities Service Dog Association). And yes, “pet boarding” now includes cats.
But it’s the decades of helping Glenview and the region deal with abandoned, wounded, and lost dogs that express the heart and soul of the company. Growing up alongside the kennel, Barnes remembers helping to retrieve dogs trapped in hotel rooms. There was also an era of pit bulls, some wounded, left in the forest preserves to fend for themselves. Other dogs were lost in the middle of a spring cleanup or family event; still others were hapless runaways. When the owner of another kennel died, Carriage Hill took in all their boarders. To this day, Carriage Hill keeps a close relationship with police and Glenview’s animal control unit. “Sometimes the police officers took the dogs home after a while,” remembers Francine. “We have very good police in Glenview.” At Summer Fest, she continues to educate dog owners about keeping their paperwork and their dog’s microchip information up to date.
“Francine and Chris go out of their way to help, and to give back to the community,” says Erick Weingart, a Chamber member and owner Farmer’s Insurance in Glenview. The Weingart family also owns a Carriage Hill puppy, aged four months.
Submitted by the Glenview Chamber of Commerce.