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New boarding house a 'luxury' for dogs

Staff writer

Chingawassa wasn’t the only celebration in Marion on Saturday. People and dogs roamed freely throughout and around a new pet boarding house at Spur Ridge Veterinary Hospital at 901 Industrial Rd. at an open house that included a bouncy house, kids’ games, and door prizes.

Several clients who came to view the new boarding house said they appreciated the care their pets got and the concern the operators showed for them.

Brett Heathcock of Hillsboro and Trayce Warner of Florence both said they received condolence cards from Spur Ridge after pets had been put down.

The Warners have two Schnauzers, Minni Mae and Powder Puff, who had teeth that needed fixing, but the cost was prohibitive. The hospital found a money source to pay for it, Warner said.

The family is considering boarding the dogs at The Lodge, as it has been named, when they go on a cruise in October. They have neighbors who usually care for their dogs when they are away for a day or two, Tracy said, but they wouldn’t want to impose on them for a week of care.

Warner said she has known Spur Ridge owner Brendan Kraus since he took over Mike Moore’s veterinary practice in Florence in 2004. The family considers Kraus a friend.

“Brendan answered the phone in the middle of the night, when my dog died and I was freaking out,” she said. “He talked me down and said he would come in early to have her cremated.”

Cristy Miller of Florence and her daughter, Amber, and son, Dominic, were looking for lodging for their dogs — Blu, an Australian Shepherd, and Pretty Girl, a Border Collie mix — while they go on vacation this summer. They liked that they could pick up their dogs on a Sunday. Another boarding place they were considering didn’t allow Sunday pickups.

Selena Diepenbrock of Lincolnville came just to see the new house.

“It’s luxury for dogs,” she said.

The new 40-by-60-foot metal building, which matches the vet hospital, has 21 kennels and a few cages. Fifteen kennels have 14-foot artificial turf runs with pet doors that allow dogs access to a covered porch. A large fenced-in area in front of the building provides a place for dogs to play.

Brendan’s wife, Tina, said last spring almost 20 people came asking for a place to keep their dogs and had to be turned away. The 15 spaces that were available in the main building now have been transferred to the new building, which can house 25 to 30 animals.

Veterinary assistant Leann Klenda said the Memorial Day weekend was a perfect time to be open. It provided a boost to the business.

Since moving his business to Marion in 2009, Kraus said he has seen steady growth in treating both large and small animals.

The term “hospital” signifies that his clinic can keep animals longterm, he said. New technologies have improved x-ray, digital, and ultrasound capabilities. Spur Ridge also has in-house laboratories.

Kraus attributes the increasing demand for dog boarding to the way people view their pets.

“Pets are considered as companions more than in the past,” he said.

Pet owners often perceive pets as an important part of the family and are concerned about the animals’ welfare, he said.

The Lodge at Spur Ridge provides two diets clients can choose between for their animals, or people can bring their own pet food. Kraus said an overnight stay costs $23 compared to $40 or $50 in other boarding places he has seen.

“We want it to be affordable for our clients,” he said.

High school students are hired to clean the facility.

A sharp rise in the pet population has led to greater demand for veterinary services.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary occupations are expected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, a rate three times faster than other occupations.

Veterinary hospitals are expanding their pet treatment options, with treatments similar to those offered to humans.

Last modified June 13, 2019

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