Misty Pines Pet Company & Dog Park
Profile Of Success
By Kathy Hosler
Photos by Misty Pines Pet Company and Dog Park
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Nestled on a wooded knoll, completely hidden from the outside world, Misty Pines Pet Company and Dog Park is a little slice of heaven for pets and their owners.
Located in Sewickley, Pennsylvania since 1975, Misty Pines has built a solid reputation of providing the highest quality of pet care services to their clients. They provide the usual things that you would expect from any pet care facility—dog and cat boarding, doggie daycare, training, and dog and cat grooming. But, that is only the beginning of the unique features that abound in the twenty–five acre complex.
Jeff Woods, President and Founder of Misty Pines, was born into an animal loving family. “As a young boy I used to accompany and help my father, who was a Veterinarian, on his farm calls,” says Jeff. “I was very fortunate to have a lot of dog and people experience while I was growing up.”
In addition to his love for dogs, Jeff discovered that he had a real talent for training them. One of his first clients, a paraplegic, asked Jeff to train a Doberman to be his service dog. Word of his training ability spread and Jeff soon founded Misty Pines. Over the years Jeff has offered training in everything from puppy pre–school, to obedience, agility, master bird dog training, and everything in-between. He specializes in Animal Behavior Consultation and works with a lot of dogs that have behavior problems.
Following the family tradition, Jeff’s daughter, Aimee Kollinger, is now the Vice President of Misty Pines. And, not surprisingly, Jeff’s young grandchildren are also growing up in the business.
Although they started small, Misty Pines now has a 12,000 sq. ft. facility that includes a state–of–the–art 5,400 sq. ft. training center, and a cutting edge daycare and exercise center that integrates the indoor and outdoor environments. The remainder of the twenty-five acre property encompasses their gorgeous dog park that includes the spring fed pond (complete with dock for dock diving classes and competitions), a pond pavilion, a one and one half acre fenced in area (for off–lead free play), and wooded nature trails.
Misty Pines can accommodate 60 dogs and 15 cats for overnight boarding. In addition to their indoor kennel area, each canine guest has 24–hour access to their own outdoor run with a skylight roof to protect them from the elements. Both the indoor and outdoor areas have radiant floor heating.
We all know that boarding can be a stressful experience for pets. At Misty Pines, they have a pre–board program. To ensure a smooth, stress–free introduction to a new environment, pets have the opportunity to come in for a trial visit during the daytime hours to get acclimated before they actually arrive for their stay. This lets the owners and the kennel staff see how the pet will react to this new situation.
They also have a pre–check in option. An owner can call ahead of time to select their pet’s playtime options, snack selections, as well as finalizing grooming instructions. This saves them time the day they bring them in to board.
Their new indoor/outdoor daycare area is really unique. The indoor area is divided into four sections—for puppy, adolescent, adult, and geriatric. They are filled with wading pools, play equipment, and toys. A huge picnic pavilion structure erected over the daycare yards enables the entire outdoor yard to be under a roof. It gives the dogs the protection of being indoors yet the feeling of outdoor freedom.
Their spectacular convention and training center has over 5,000 sq. ft. of space with a large balcony area. It is used for the many classes and is also available for rental to dog clubs and to those who want to hold workshops, dog shows, and birthday parties (both human and canine). The balcony has a gorgeous fireplace, lots of comfy seating for the owners, and a huge viewing window that overlooks the daycare area.
“Everyone has different goals when it comes to training their pets,” says Jeff. “We offer group and private obedience lessons, agility and specialty classes, bird dog training, and a two week board n’ train program.”
“Our board n’ train program is like a ‘boot camp’ for dogs,” Jeff continues. “We keep a daily journal on each dog. Every time we work with the dog, we put in entries about the dog’s progress. At the end of the stay, the owner gets a copy of the journal.”
Jeff also teaches a ‘Growl–less’ class for highly reactive dogs. And, Jeff has designed and patented a specialized training collar called The Scruffy Guider collar that has become an invaluable tool for many of his clients worldwide.
The training center is always a hub of activity at Misty Pines. And after their classes or other activities, owners and pets love to socialize in the fabulous dog park. There is a multitude of playground equipment for the dogs and lots of benches for their owners. Dogs can run free and play in the fenced–in playground. They can swim in the gorgeous pond and learn how to dock dive. And, hiking throughout the wooded nature trails is a favorite for owners and dogs alike.
Jeff and Aimee both agree that a large part of Misty Pines’ success is due to their wonderful staff of about twenty people.
“We continually support and train our staff,” Aimee says. “And we emphasize the importance of outstanding customer service. We want to make the day better for everyone who comes through our doors—and we want their experience with us to make them want to come back.”
“Even simple things are important,” Aimee continues. “Just making a phone call to an owner who was nervous about leaving their pet, and reassuring them that their pet is doing fine. That can be a huge relief to the owner and make a lasting impression on them.”
“Everyone has trials and tribulations,” adds Jeff. “When they step inside our facility, we want to make people and pets happy! Life is about trying to improve everything you do and enjoy doing it.”
“We don’t run Misty Pines for the money,” Jeff adds. “We run a good business—and money follows.”
From its humble beginnings forty years ago, Misty Pines Pet Company and Park has skyrocketed to success. And it all started with a special family and their love of pets.