Glacier K9 Resort & Spa: A Cool Place for Pets
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by Glacier K9 Resort & Spa
Imagine vacationing at a resort that has spacious suites with breathtaking views, offers unlimited activities, and caters to your every want and need. That’s exactly what Christie Becker and her husband, Jake, envisioned when they decided to build Glacier K9 Resort & Spa.
Christie entered the pet care field in 1996 when she opened a pet grooming business. Over the years, her business grew and she and Jake decided to expand and open a pet resort. Christie and Jake did extensive research, visited facilities and went to conventions. They found the perfect location on 24 picturesque acres near Kalispell, Montana.
“We are a tourist area,” says Christie. “We’re thirty miles from Glacier National Park. We are near Flathead Lake and just outside of Whitefish, which is a huge ski area. And, we are only one hour away from Canada.”
Jake was in construction, so he designed and built the entire resort. He planned out everything from the huge, inviting brick fireplace in the lobby, to the placement of windows for the most magnificent views.
“We put a lot into the heating /cooling / cleaning systems,” says Jake. “With all the viruses, etc. going around, we wanted to make sure that we were top–notch for that when we built the facility. We have four independent heating/cooling systems. Each one has an air scrubbing filtration system. We have a minimum of twenty air exchanges per hour. We also added three energy recovery ventilator systems that constantly supply outside air to the building. The air always smells fresh, not doggy.”
The resort has epoxy chip flooring throughout. Every floor and wall surface was designed for easy cleaning
“We wanted to keep the moisture low in our building, so we opted not to install trenches and kennels that have to be hosed down to clean,” says Christie. “We use Health Technology equipment and products to clean everything.
“We have cinder block kennels with full glass doors, and we also have some manufactured suites. Some of the suites have heated floors while others have windows with breathtaking views of the countryside. We also have a Tiny Town area where we board the small dogs. We wanted to keep the homelike environment, so the suites have raised cots, comfy fleece bedding and TV’s.”
There are a variety of extra care services, gourmet treats and bedtime ‘tuck in’ service available for the guests. Each dog is taken out at least five times a day. The owners really like all the individualized attention their pet receives.
The resort can accommodate 50 to 60 overnight guests. They have 35 suites, Tiny Town and a slumber room. The slumber room is especially popular with the daycare dogs when they stay for overnight boarding. They already get along with each other during the day, then they have a slumber party at night.
There is a caretaker’s cottage attached to the 5,000 sq. ft. building, so there is someone on the premises 24/7. In Montana the weather doesn’t always cooperate, so it’s a real bonus to have staff there even when others are snowed in.
Their daycare usually averages about 35 dogs a day. Boarding dogs can also participate in daycare at a reduced rate. They have over 8,000 sq. ft. of outdoor play area fenced and equipped with K9 grass. There is also a large indoor playroom. Both areas have lots of play equipment, climbing structures and a fun water feature/splash pad area.
“We have an enrichment style of daycare,” says Christie. “Owners can add it on to their standard daycare package. A typical day at Glacier K9 includes up to 10 hours of structured activities such as agility, brain puzzles and mental stimulation, ball and retrieval games, themed activities (pool and birthday parties), as well as playtime and rest periods.”
Social media, especially Instagram, has become a big thing with the Glacier K9 pet parents. They want to see photos of their pets enjoying daycare. Owners who sign their dog up for an enrichment program are guaranteed to get a picture to show what their dog participated in. When the owners share the photos with their family and friends, it’s great free advertising for the resort.
“Social media has become such a big part of our world today,” says Christie. “We don’t have high–speed internet where we are located, so we can’t have webcams for the owners to view at this time—but we do post lots of photos.”
Cats also get their fair share of pampering. They have their own private area adjacent to the lobby. It’s quiet, yet they get to see everyone coming and going. The cats each have their own condo, and they also get individual free time in the lounge area where they enjoy play equipment, climbing structures and toys.
In addition, there is a large retail area near the crackling fireplace. They do a brisk business selling collars, leads, apparel, toys, treats, food and more.
“Our website, www.glacierk9.com, is very user–friendly,” says Jake. “People can see everything we offer and can make their boarding and daycare reservations online. A la cart and add–on services for the pets can also be selected when making the reservations.”
The resort has a state of the art bathing area, where they offer baths, nail care and additional spa services to pamper the dogs before they head home after their stay.
Business has increased so much that Christie and Jake are planning to expand. “We are adding more fencing this summer,” says Jake. “And, we would like to build another large building to accommodate our increasing daycare, training and enrichment programs. That will allow us to do more boarding in our existing building.”
Glacier K9 is busy year round. The resort caters to many vacationers in the summer. Glacier National Park does not allow pets, so many people leave their animals for daycare or a couple of days boarding while the rest of the family does their sight–seeing. And, all winter long they have a brisk business from pet owners who love to ski.
So, while their owners are heating things up on the slopes, the pets are chillin’ out and having a cool vacation of their own at Glacier K9 Resort & Spa.