about us

  • We believe in creating a safe and nurturing environment, where dogs can thrive and have fun. Dogs are social creatures just like us, but what does it mean to be social? Social relationships are formed through familiar, postive interactions. Can you imagine if every day your work environment changed; different bosses, managers and staff? Things would be pretty chaotic and uncomfortable, right? Dogs feel the same way!

    Our philosophy is to provide calm energy and clear communication with all the dogs who come to Zen Dogs Chicago. Consistency is very important for dogs to feel truly happy and content. We believe our methods and practices encourage dogs to be in their natural and balanced state of mind.

    A Quick Note -

    As I go through all of my photos (about 4,000) from Zen Dogs to choose photos for our new
    website, I keep seeing the same things. Love, Friendship and Peace between all of the dogs.
    Our Pack is one big happy family who trust each other. They share such tenderness and
    closeness that strange dogs are not able to do.

    Every day I feel so privileged to be a part of something so wonderful and powerful, a true sense of zen.


Our mission

    We strive to honor the true essence of dogs as beloved family members and Zen Dogs Pack members.
    We promise to provide your dog with love, leadership, understanding, exercise and balance each day.
    We want to be a positive influence in your dog's life, and nurture good behavior.
    We hope to teach people a new insight on dogs through training, nutrition and natural products to enhance the quality of everyone's life together.
    We strive to build a trusting, dependable and lasting relationship with you and your dog.


  • Cynthia Russell
    Owner Zen Dogs Chicago

  • Patrick Lawlor
    Puppy Bus Driver

  • Ashley Mayfield
    Play Group Trainer

  • Jon Polich
    Lead Trainer

  • Danny Ray
    Play Group Trainer/Puppy Bus Driver

  • Keegan Sherlock
    Play Group Trainer

  • Darrien Sommer
    Play Group Trainer/Groomer


Zen Dogs saved my foster dog's life. He came from the streets of Chicago and had few social skills. He did not like other dogs. He was reactive on a leash and very difficult to walk. He had been kicked out of a couple of foster homes and had no place to go. Cynthia was my only hope.She and her staff did an amazing job rehabbing his behavior. He was eventually adopted!
Lauren Rhone

FCACC Foster

Cynthia and Zen Dogs have been fostering malamutes for us for over a year now, and we cannot say enough good things about them! The facility is fabulous, the employees are smart and dog savvy, and Cynthia is top notch. I would highly recommend Zen Dogs for boarding, training, or just a fun doggie daycare experience for dogs of any breed.
Vicky Meluso
Executive Director


I've known Cynthia Russell for years. Zen Dogs is a reflection of her long track record of
knowledge and skills in training and caring for all the dogs who call Zen their home
away from home. It's easy to honestly recommend their services, simply because of the
expert care and the incredibly "zen" environment found there.

Bruce Silverman, VMD, Owner, Village West Veterinary