Creature Comforts Pet Resort
Profile of Success
By Kathy Hosler
Photos Provided by Creature Comforts Pet Resort
When you follow your dream, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Creature Comforts Pet Resort in Longview, Texas is proof positive of that. Tonya Read started Creature Comforts in November of 1996. It began as a pet sitting and dog walking service, and over the years became quite successful. But, from the very beginning, Tonya had a vision of more. She wanted to build a premiere pet resort that would focus on the comfort and safety of the pets, and peace of mind for their owners.
In 2011 Tonya and her husband, Bret, decided to take their business to the next level and build the resort of their dreams. After two years of intense research and countless visits to other facilities, the Reads had a big list of everything that they wanted to implement in their facility.
“We designed our facility as if we were on the other side of the counter,” says an enthusiastic Tonya Read. “Everything is what we would want for our own pets. It took us three years to get the funding, buy the land, and erect the building.”
Tonya and Bret’s dream came true on October 13, 2014 when Creature Comforts Pet Resort opened its doors. Their gorgeous 7,600 sq. ft. building sits on one acre of land. “In designing our building we focused on functionality, cleanliness, and guest experience,” says Tonya. “To achieve these goals we installed sanitation shoots, a filtered air system, and the use of medical grade cleaning solutions.”
The resort has a spacious 10,000 sq. ft. outdoor daycare yard and four 1,000 sq. ft. individual play yards. The main yard features artificial turf, bone-shaped wading pools, and a fun and unique splash pad adventure area.
Inside is an 1,800 sq. ft. playroom, 85 individual kennels, and a state–of–the–art cattery. Soft music plays and calming aromatherapy is used in the dog areas of the facility. Feline guests enjoy privacy and luxury accommodations in the Creature Comforts cattery. Each of their large cat condos has separate areas for feeding, sleeping, and the litter box.
“Our cattery is the first in East Texas offering 250 sq. ft. of open play space with floor to ceiling windows that are perfect for bird watching,” shares Tonya. “The cattery boasts a feline activity wall and a gigantic exercise wheel (picture a hamster wheel on steroids). Every cat gets its own private time in the huge play area.”
It’s not just the cats that enjoy lots of fun activities at the resort. “We average anywhere from 50 to 80 dogs per day in daycare,” Tonya says. “They usually play from 8:00 to 4:00 with a nap time in the middle. We don’t ban any breed from our daycare, we ban the actual bad behavior. Every dog must be evaluated before they are accepted into our program. The day they are evaluated, the dog is here from 11:00 until 4:00 and that first day is free. The owners get a complete report of how their dog did. Once a dog is approved, they can attend daycare whenever they want.”
One of the most popular features of the daycare activities is the splash pad. It is a 400 sq. ft. area filled with random water jets and bubblers, a fire hydrant that shoots out water, and a tall umbrella and a shower head that both spray water. Colorful LED lights illuminate the entire splash pad area and make it possible to showcase it during evening activities.
“For dogs that don’t do well in daycare, or for older or special needs dogs,” says Tonya “we have a ‘cozy room’. It’s a smaller room that has a bank of dog beds, a television, and toys. It’s a stress-free way for these pets to enjoy themselves in a quieter setting supervised by our caring staff members.”
At Creature Comforts their philosophy is ‘Active Pet, Happy Pet’. Even the pets that aren’t in daycare are taken out at least five times a day.
There is a full grooming salon at the facility where pets can enjoy everything from basic baths to pampering spa treatments. Large dogs have a walk-in shower and adjustable hydraulic grooming tables make the styling process easier for the pets and the groomers. They also have a large retail section that sells high quality food, treats, toys, collars and more.
Within the coming year they plan to add training, with Tonya and Carmen (Manager) acquiring their certification in basic obedience and behavior modification. Two team members will also be certified in Pet CPR and First Aid as instructors, keeping team members certified and offering local classes to
Bret’s specialty is overseeing the financials, their website, www.creaturecomforts.pet, and taking care of their social media sites; Facebook and Instagram.
“Our website is packed with information about our facility and the services that we offer,” shares Bret. “We post pictures of our guests on Facebook every night. All of the pet guests get their picture taken, even if they are not in daycare. We probably take 300 to 400 pictures a day. Our clients and followers love it!”
Creature Comforts has twenty-two indoor and outdoor high definition security cameras. “We can monitor everything that goes on,” Bret says. “If there is ever an incident, we can go back and review it.”
The Reads credit much of their success to the dedication of their fifteen team members. “It’s hard work, but our staff is great and they work as a real team,” Tonya and Bret say emphatically. “Our highly trained team members are what sets us apart from other facilities. They are all very knowledgeable about the dogs and are trained in Pet CPR and animal behavior. Each of them will go above and beyond to make sure every pet goes home happier than when they got here. One way we show our appreciation to our team is that every quarter we plan a special event or group activity for them.”
The Reads appreciate their clients, too and are planning some great things for them. “We are going to hold community social events,” shares Tonya. “We plan to have outdoor movie nights, where owners and their pets can come and enjoy evening get–togethers while watching the ‘big screen’.”
“I am going to start teaching classes, too,” she continues. “They will focus on topics like, how people can select the right pet for them and how to care for their pet’s grooming needs. And, we will also have classes in dog obedience and behavior modification.”
Creature Comforts may have had humble beginnings, but Tonya and Bret Read used that foundation to create their fabulous luxury pet resort—and they’re not done yet!