For those of you who have been reading about Phoenix, here’s a little bit of context.
My sister Melody became the “pet aunty” of Oahu by accident. She’s always loved horses, and a few years
ago sold her lovely home in Kailua to move to Waianae (I can see those of you who understand Hawaii’s social
geography wincing), so she could buy a horse property. She then proceeded to fill the open-air stables with registered quarterhorses.
Across the exercise area was a dog kennel. It was small–only about 16 large runs designed for dog families, rather than individual animals. Because Melody hates waste, and the kennels were sitting there, she decided to turn them into a pet boarding facility–but with a difference.
While many dog boarders house small animals in crates, keep large animals in runs, and, if the animals get play time at all, exercise them together, Melody wanted better for her guests. She cleaned the kennels, painted them, and disinfected them, set up food preparation and bathing stations, expanded her existing business relationship with her local vet (with around six dogs and nine horses of her own she already knew him well), and hired an assistant who works part time as a vet tech. Then she opened for business.
Melody’s a marketing professional; she decided that the “value-added” components of her business would all center around the dogs’ safety and happiness. Each dog–no matter how big or small–has a large indoor/outdoor run. Dogs from the same family can share a run (they get put into the largest one), but most dogs have private space. All of the runs face out onto open, active spaces; the dogs can watch what’s going on if they like. Twice a day each dog gets play time–and that means actual “play time”–with someone to throw a ball, play tug-of-war, or just hang out with them. Melody encourages dog people to bring their animal companions’ beds, favorite foods and treats, and toys.
The upshot of all this is that, as one dog owner told her, “My dog knows when we’re coming here. When we make the turn onto your road he just goes nuts. He loves it here.”
While Hawaii was under the tsunami warning Melody had a full house–something like nine horses, twenty-seven dogs, and I forget how many people, all seeking safety from the threat. “It felt like Noah’s ark,” she told me. “I was up at 1:30 a.m., getting gas for my car and the generator, and filling everything I could find with water for all the animals and people.”
She has a website and blog, and it’s all about animals, and boarding them, and keeping them happy and healthy. You should check it out here. Meanwhile, though, here are a few of her guests–don’t they look happy?