Doggone great

Sunday, 02 October 2005

Pets like Cedar Point, too


SANDUSKY - For pet lovers who happen to be coaster enthusiasts, Cedar Point's Pet Chek is the first stop of the day.

"We didn't have baby sitters at home and I can't leave my dog with just anyone," said David Reynolds of Marion, Ohio.

For $10, his Jack Russell, named Simon, spent the day in the park's air-conditioned kennel.

Simon wasn't alone.

Although Pet Chek has never reached capacity, it got close this year with 35 dogs. Pet Chek has 41 kennels.

"Some guests are traveling across the country and don't have a neighbor to baby-sit their pets, said Sandusky's Yvette Darden, an employee at Pet Chek.

"Sometimes they are traveling with children who don't want to leave their pets at home, so parents give in," she said.

Cedar Point has had Pet Chek since 1969, but many visitors don't know it's there.

Pets aren't allowed inside the park, but are allowed to be in the campground under supervision.

"He is a big baby and we didn't want to leave him at home," said Jenni and Shawn Egbert, New Knoxville, Ohio.

The Egberts brought their 9-month Weimaraner, Gunner, camping, but during the day, wanted to enjoy the park.

Ninety-nine percent of the pets left are dogs, but Pet Chek has had guinea pigs, cats, and a ferret and turtle.

They have never had an escape.

"We had a turtle named Mo this summer," Darden said. "When I asked (the guest) why he brought a turtle to Cedar Point, he said his girlfriend wanted him to, and they couldn't leave it in the car because it would cook."

The Pet Chek building is outside of the park near the Cedar Point Marina; and has looked like Snoopy's dog house ever since parent company Cedar Fair acquired the rights to the Peanuts in 1997.

"For the people who love their pets and travel with them, this is really important," said John McClure, manager of Cedar Point traffic operations.

The traffic operations took over Pet Chek because of the proximity to the park's entrance.

"We have about 15 repeat customers," McClure said. "Season passholders bring their pets a few times. We are mostly busy when the park is busy, which is in July and August."

Pet Chek has from one to 29 pets on any given day.

Liz Gelber left her hamster, Claire, at Pet Chek a few weeks ago. She was on her way from Long Island, N.Y., to move in for school at the Ohio State University when she stopped for a day at Cedar Point.

"I didn't want to worry about her all day," Gelber said. "If it got too cold or too hot."

Pet Chek doesn't offer overnight accommodations because that would mean proof of shots. There's also no veterinarian on staff.

"We once had an old pet who was breathing hard so we called the parents on their cell phone and went and met to talk with them in Frontierland," McClure said.

Owners fill out a registration form when they check their pet in and are encouraged to leave a cell phone number.

Most owners bring food for their pets, but Cedar Point will provide dry food and water, Darden said.

Owners are encouraged to come back throughout the day to walk and take their pets to the bathroom.

A fenced in area is connected to Pet Chek. An open area for running is behind the building.

"We are not allowed to pet or play with the pets. It would make Cedar Point liable if something was to happen," Darden said.

But that doesn't mean she doesn't care about the pets.

Darden learns all of the names, which led management to change the registration form to make room for the pet's name.

Every 30 minutes, she walks by the kennels and calls each of them by their names.

"It has a calming effect to call them by their names," Darden said, who doesn't have any of her own pets.

Sometimes when pets are first dropped off, they may be sad and bark or whimper, McClure said.

On request, family pets are sometimes doubled up in the kennels, but cats are kept away from dogs. Hamster cages are either put on the floor or in a kennel.

Pet Chek has even had pit bulls.

Darden said sometimes it's loud in the kennel, but the pets are usually respectful.

Also, "we have never had a guest forget a pet at the end of the day," Darden said.

Angie Fraccica of Bucyrus and her Pit Bull/ American Staffordshire Terrier mix named Abbie wait outside Cedar Point's Pet Chek. Register photo/JASON WERLING

Yvette Darden helps Liz Gelber of Long Island find a place for her Golden Hamster named Clair. Register photo/JASON WERLING

Scott Kitkowski, upper left, helps his daughter, Nicholle give the family's Welsh Corgi, Sandy, a treat before boarding the dog at Pet Chek. Register photo/JASON WERLING

Yvette Darden, right, checks in Gunner, a nine-month-old Weimaraner, lower left, at Pet Chek. Gunner’s owners, Jenni and Shawn Egbert of New Knoxville, Ohio, are also pictured. Register photo/JASON WERLING

An unidentified man walks his dog past Pet Chek. Register photo/JASON WERLING is your online guide to summer fun for Cedar Point, the LakeErie Islands and Sandusky area. Our site offers up-to-date information on area attractions, restaurants, hotels, gasoline prices, ferry schedules, swimming, birding and fishing, along with a complete listing of events happening in the Sandusky/Cedar Point area. To use our Webcam and zoom in on Cedar Point's rollercoasters, go to

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