Royal Pet Resort
Where Pets Get the Royal Treatment
By Kathy Hosler
Nestled in the beautiful, rolling countryside near State College, Pennsylvania, is the Royal Pet Resort. This unique kennel not only cares for the basic needs of the pets they board, but they also focus on their physical and emotional needs. As its name suggests, all of the guests are treated like royalty.
“We are an activity-oriented boarding facility,” proudly states Becky Koleno, owner of the Royal Pet Resort. “Our philosophy is to give the pets we care for physical attention, plenty of exercise, and lots of activities. It keeps them happier, and they adjust very well to the difference from their home to the kennel environment.”
Becky has owned the Royal Pet Resort for 12 years, but the seeds for her vision were planted much earlier. “Years ago when I was a pre-vet student at Penn State University, I had to go away and needed to find a place to board my two dogs. I was very active – hiking, mountain biking, swimming – and my dogs did everything with me. I couldn’t find a single kennel in my area that would even walk my dogs.
“I knew at that time that I, a poor college student, would have paid anything to have my pets happy and well-cared for,” said Becky. “Light bulbs went off in my head, and many years later, the things that I had wanted came to fruition when I opened this facility.
“When I purchased the Royal Pet Resort, it was a standard, well-designed kennel with indoor/outdoor runs,” Becky continued. “It was functional and easy to clean – but I wanted more. My first goal was to build outdoor play yards for the dogs. We did, and our business grew. Then we built on our special cattery, which is completely separate from the dogs, with a separate entrance and window views to the outside.”
Next they added luxury suites for the dogs. Each one is furnished with a child-size bed or lounge chair, comfortable bedding, and windows with outside views, to ensure that their clients’ pets enjoy a home-like setting. Televisions keep those guests entertained when they have finished their day’s activities. Each of the luxury suites has its own 8-by-24-foot outdoor grass play yard.
Now the resort can accommodate about 100 pets. You can visit their website at royalpetresort.com to take a tour of this premier facility.
Each of the boarding dogs is taken outside into fenced play areas a minimum of three times a day. Hiking, one-on-one playtime, group playtime, and swimming are available to all the canine guests.
The Royal Pet Resort has a magnificent indoor swimming pool for dogs, which was designed by Becky. It has a special rock foundation all around it and has gorgeous waterfalls. It has a gentle sloping entrance (like a boat ramp) that the dogs just love. “It’s a lot of fun for the dogs, and it sure gets people talking about our facility,” stated Becky.
Another really popular program is their doggy daycare. Dogs are grouped by size and activity level and are continually supervised by staff members. There is more than enough room for even the most active guests. They have a 30-by-80-foot indoor playroom, ten 30-by-45-foot outdoor play yards, and a one-acre outdoor play area.
They offer pickup and delivery service in the resort’s van, which is driven by Becky’s daughter, Jennifer. She picks them up every morning, when they are bursting with energy – and then returns them to their home at the end of the day “dog tired” and happy.
The resort is very much a family-run business. Becky and her family of six children live at the kennel property. Becky’s 19-year-old son, Nate, plans to take over operating the kennel one day. The rest of her children are all very active in helping out all around the facility.
Another thing that sets the Royal Pet Resort apart from many other kennels is that they are equipped to board exotic pets and welcome them. “A lot of facilities don’t board exotics – and for good reason,” stated Becky. “I ran a retail pet store for ten years, where I specialized in hand-raised baby birds and working with exotic animals. It’s something that I really know and do well.”
They board everything from snakes, rats, turtles, pet skunks, reptiles of every description, and birds, of course. They have two rooms at the resort right now that are exclusively for birds.
“I caution people about boarding exotics unless you really know them,” said Becky. “You’ve got to train your entire staff about the proper sanitation and how to avoid any cross-contamination. You must pay strict attention to details, or it can be disastrous.
“Exotics are more sensitive to temperature and environmental changes,” shared Becky. “You’ve got to know things like […] the height a bird’s cage is set at can add to or decrease their stress level, that small birds can stress out a big bird, and that guinea pigs can be very allergic to cedar bedding.”
Becky says that a critical part of managing a facility is a knowledgeable staff. All of the primary staff members are trained and certified in pet first aid and CPR. They attend continuing education and training seminars every year.
“We are lucky to be very near Penn State University. We can access the pre-vet and animal science majors who want experience working with animals,” said Becky with a confident smile. “We’ve done some internships over the years, which worked well for all of us.”
Becky works really hard to train all her staff in group interaction, understanding dog body language, and how to keep the group plays really safe.
As busy as Becky, her family, and staff are with all the activities at the Royal Pet Resort, there is more. “I just bought a 200-acre farm, the Buffalo Run Farm & Equestrian Center,” stated a beaming Becky. “We are raising Tibetan Yaks and Gypsy horses and starting an equine boarding facility.”
It’s a pretty safe bet that whether it has hoofs, horns, scales, feathers, or fur, it’s going to get The Royal Treatment from Becky Koleno.