LIVINGSTON, NJ — Knowing that choosing a pet care provider should be taken as seriously as choosing a childcare provider, brothers Robert and Michael Gonnello are making that decision easier for Livingston-area residents by bringing a highly successful doggy day care franchise to the community.

Opening in September at 81 Dorsa Avenue in Livingston, The Barker Lounge will provide year-round doggy daycare, overnight boarding and grooming at a facility that boasts more than 11,000 square feet of indoor space and more than 4,000 square feet of outdoor play yards featuring the “safest, most sanitary and comfortable doggy grass in the industry.”

According to the Gonnello brothers, The Barker Lounge is “not your standard kennel,” and their team has gone “to great lengths to ensure it.”

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“Our Animal Management program has been designed not to simply ‘occupy’ our four-legged guests, but rather to enrich their lives mentally, physically and socially,” they said in a joint statement. “All of our doggy daycare and overnight boarding guests participate in ‘All Day Group Play’ while with us. All day long, they'll be both inside and outside in our 15,000-plus square feet of indoor and outdoor play area—wrestling, playing on our jungle gyms, playing ball, chasing bubbles and meeting new friends.

“The only times not spent romping around with friends is when it's time to eat and sleep…that's it. And if your doggy needs a bath, a full grooming, or just his/her nails clipped, we do that too.”

The owners also noted that the facility is climate controlled year-round with a state-of-the-art air purification and filtration system for the dogs. The Livingston location is also fully equipped with indoor and outdoor security cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day.

These are only two examples of how The Barker Lounge Livingston ensures that safety is the top priority.

“All of our guests must be friendly towards other dogs and people, and are thoroughly screened prior to being permitted to use our services,” the owners said. “Screening includes a full day's behavioral evaluation (Meet & Greet), as well as a thorough health check to ensure that your dog is in good health, free of parasites and all communicable diseases, and current on all vaccinations.

“All of this information is managed with our own proprietary software to keep track of your doggy's health information, behavior while in our care, and to keep in touch with you along the way. We've even developed our own doggy-tracking software to keep track of every single doggy in our facility, their arrival and departure details, playgroup details, and a ton more to help us ensure accountability and smooth operations.”

Once a dog has completed the screening process and begins using The Barker Lounge services, he or she will be very carefully grouped in a small group of dogs that are similar in size, temperament and play styles. 

According to the Livingston owners, the humans selected to lead these play groups have all completed a two-month training program and successfully passed a test demonstrating their abilities. They will undergo continuing education and additional testing throughout their employment with The Barker Lounge.

“You can rest assured that we only hire group leaders who absolutely adore doggies and will treat yours like their own,” they said.

Growing up, the Gonnello brothers were taught that their pups were not just pets, but members of their family who deserved days full of fun, play and love. When they first found The Barker Lounge as customers, Robert and Michael said they were both taken aback by “the love and attention [their] dogs received in The Barker Lounge’s care” and the joy they saw in their dogs’ eyes every time they pulled into the parking lot.

Most important to them was seeing how satisfied the pups were to spend their days playing with their furry friends while their human were off at work or traveling.

“When we decided to start a business of our own, teaming up with The Barker Lounge was an easy choice,” they said. “We quickly realized that we would love nothing more than to spend our days providing a safe and fun environment for our four-legged friends, and that The Barker Lounge franchise shared our passion for improving the lives of dogs everywhere.”

Robert and Michael are also intimately familiar with the Livingston community, as they grew up just down the road in Millburn/Short Hills.

Although Livingston and surrounding towns are home to thousands of dogs, the brothers realized that there are only a handful of pet-related businesses servicing these communities. Having also seen the effect that existing Barker Lounge facilities in Cranford and East Brunswick have had on the nearby communities, Robert and Michael knew that the dog-friendly community of Livingston would welcome them with open arms.

“We are eager to show Livingston just how passionate we are about caring for the communities canines and just how excited your pups will be to make new friends in their play groups,” the said.

The Barker Lounge is now accepting pre-registrations for all dogs. Prospective customers are encouraged to try out The Barker Lounge for free to help them decide if it’s the right fit for them and their dog.

Visit to learn more or to submit your registration form. 

After completing the registration form, customers will be contacted about their free tour and Meet & Greet as well as the early-bird specials being offered when The Barker Lounge Livingston opens in September.