For Deborah Wilson and Chris McKinnie, a pet idea found a reality after a few Internet searches and a vision for a new career path.
The owners of The Kennels of Springdale are living their dream by running their very own pet boarding facility in Arroyo Grande, Calif. This month, Wilson and McKinnie celebrate their one-year ownership of The Kennels of Springdale, which features training, grassy playyards, grooming, heated flooring, and kennel Web cameras.
Running the facility has become their new priority for Wilson and McKinnie.
Graduates of the University of California at Santa Barbara where they first met, their love for animals created a tight bond for these two friends. McKinnie recalled when the two of them would ask the “Wouldn’t it be great if…?” question. “We started looking on the Internet to see what business would allow us to be with animals,” and thus The Kennels of Springdale began.
While exploring the Internet for their new start, Wilson and McKinnie discovered a kennel that was unlike any other, having undergone a million-dollar renovation only a year before. The two women then seized the opportunity to purchase the kennel from Lynn Taylor and made the big move to the Central Coast in 2006. Situated on a plot of almost ten acres, the kennel has indoor and outdoor runs for dogs. Some of the new runs feature such luxuries as gradient heated flooring, private yards, and even closed-circuit Web cameras so owners can keep watch on their pets through the Internet when they are away.
To run The Kennels of Springdale, McKinnie gave up her lucrative career at a law firm while Wilson maintains her full-time job to ensure company survival when business is slow at The Kennels of Springdale. Living in one of two homes on the property and working 24 hours a day, seven days-a-week, McKinnie gets her break when Wilson comes home to work every other weekend. The two discovered that they had made a major change of pace and priorities with this new lifestyle, but just the change they were looking for and are now happy to be caring for the lives of animals.
Wilson has 30 years experience working at hospitals, including as a human resources director at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and currently as an administrator at Glendale Memorial Hospital & Health Center in Glendale, Calif. In her spare time, she volunteers at the Glendale Humane Society. Guided by her new second-career, Wilson recently attended the Animal Behavior College to receive a state certification as a dog trainer.
McKinnie worked as a financial manager for 2 major law firms as well as providing contract suport with several Fortune 500 Corporations in the Bay Area. She also enjoyed volunteering at the San Francisco Humane Society. McKinnie grew up with a love for animals, had a dog sitting business as a teenager and having lived on a ranch with horses Today, she lives on The Kennels of Springdale property and does the day-to-day management of the kennels.
With the daily hard work and labor of love, Wilson and McKinnie in the last year have improved The Kennels of Springdale in more than just material ways. McKinnie says, “We frequently receive compliments that we go above and beyond the expectations of our clients. Our staff are noted for their affection, care and attention to the needs of the dogs and cats in their care.” We always hear, ‘It’s such a clean, warm, loving environment!’ ” Wilson agrees. “We strive to be more like ‘Your pet’s home away from home.’ ”
Other staff members at The Kennels of Springdale include independent contractor, trainer Kenneth Brown. With 30 years of experience, he has been nicknamed the ‘Cesar (Millan) of the Central Coast’ in reference to the popular host of the National Geographic Channel’s program “The Dog Whisperer.” To round out the team is dog groomer Cheryl Reynolds, who previously owned a grooming business in Santa Barbara with a large following. Reynolds says, “I moved to the area and sought employment at The Kennels of Springdale because I heard it was the kennel of quality.”
To celebrate one year of ownership under McKinnie and Wilson, the kennel is hosting a series of special events: On June 23, the facility hosted a clinic for problem dogs along with other events through the summer and the rest of the year. In October, the kennels will feature a special on-site pet photographer to help pet owners capture fun and poignant pictures with their best friends. Within the next couple of weeks, our new cat space will be finished and ready for new residents.
The Kennels of Springdale is a full-service facility featuring quality grooming and training services. The business is open daily for drop-off from 9:30 am to 12 pm and for pickup from 4:30 to 6 pm.