A Dogs Life

First Posted: 5/22/2009

PINNACLE Mrs. Doolittles Pet Hotel celebrated its twelfth anniversary last week. For owner Lee Ann Golden it has been a wonderful dozen years that she hopes will continue for quite some time.
The business first opened on May 15, 1998, offering pet owners an original alternative to traditional kennels.
At that time, Golden remembered, there werent any places that were providing dogs with an opportunity to come out and enjoy a vacation of their own. Most places were clinical while this was more of a camp for the dogs.
Located at 609 John Scott Road in the Shoals community, the roomy, secluded area provides an ideal campground setting. An acre of fenced-in countryside is divided into two big playgrounds with about two-thirds having been mowed and the remaining one-third wooded. Each animal also has its own indoor/outdoor run, complete with heating and air conditioning, music and night lights. Each dog gets a time for outside play each day as well as two business trips. As a personal touch, each of Goldens kids also gets a bedtime biscuit.
The business also provides care for cats and other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, snakes, lizards, and birds.
They can run and play and enjoy all the silly dog things they love to do, Golden said. Some of my kids, especially the ones who have been with me for awhile, are geriatric and cant play like they once did. They can leisurely walk and enjoy the outdoors, watching the others and listening to the birds singing.
With many of Goldens regular tenants now growing older, care is taken to provide a calm, relaxed, stress-free atmosphere. In addition to required shots, all animals staying at the facility are required to be spayed or neutered.
While Mrs. Doolittles has 24 dog runs and facilities for six cats, a well established client base has led Golden to limit new clients. For dogs, she now accepts only geriatric, special needs or referral clients.
While obviously loving her work, Golden is quick to admit that the aging of her regular clients has led to an increase in the most difficult part of her job, saying goodbye.
The only sad part of what I do, she explained, is when they pass away. When the owners let me know, we cry together. This has been their child and Im thankful to have been a part of their care.
But, she was quick to note, the benefits of her work far outweigh any negatives.
Ive been doing this for 12 years, Golden noted, and there has not been one day that Ive dreaded going to work. Im so fortunate to have found what Im supposed to be doing. This is a 7-day-a-week job, like working on a farm, but I love it. It doesnt feel like work and every morning everybody is happy to see me. Its fun and its wonderful.
Looking back, she continued, Im so thankful. Even with the economy, Ive been busy. People are going to take time to travel and I havent been as affected as some have. Ive been fortunate and I have a lot of great memories.
Appropriately, Mrs. Doolittles Pet Hotel can be reached at 325-DOGS (3647).

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