Paw Print Inn Pet Resort & Spa: It’s Simply Pawfect
Profile Of Success
By Kathy Hosler
Photos by Paw Print Inn
Paw Print Inn is all that—and more. When you enter their lobby, it’s like entering a luxury resort for people. Its bright, spacious, very welcoming, and spotlessly clean. At the check-in desk, you are greeted by friendly receptionists and a full wall mural of pets having the time of their life.
When Kirk and Laurel Nicola were in the planning stages for their facility, they attended American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA) seminars, networked with industry experts, and visited facilities throughout the United States. Kirk is an engineer and he designed their facility to give pets a real vacation experience. The Nicolas had specific ideas about what they wanted in their building, and they weren’t going to scrimp or settle for less.
They wanted it to have a resort atmosphere where the pets enjoy roomy comfort and luxury services—not just a building where every inch is used to house as many dogs as possible. When he planned the interior layout of the building, one of Kirk’s priorities was to make the employee’s jobs easier. For example, the aisles in the building are very wide so that employees moving pets can pass by each other and not worry about altercations between dogs.
“Our entire facility was designed for pet comfort and safety,” shares Laurel. “Our building is 14,400 sq. ft. We have 100 kennel suites, four play floors that are each 800 sq. ft., a grooming salon and spa, a cattery, a boutique, and 8 double–fenced outdoor potty areas.”
“The building is divided into four distinct areas which allow us to minimize sound transmission and stress in the dogs, and we lowered the ceilings and used sound reducing tiles,” says Kirk. “We have a hospital grade HVAC system and UV light in the air supply to kill airborne viruses. We also have a 100 kilowatt back-up generator in case of emergencies,” he continues. “If we ever lose power, we don’t have to worry about the pets.”
The facility has a very efficient wet/dry vac cleaning system. The whole idea behind that system is to minimize water exposure to surfaces, which means there is less condensation and possible bacterial growth. All of the surfaces in the kennels, walls, and flooring are non–porous and they were selected specifically to work with the cleaning system.
The cattery is off the lobby, secluded away from the dogs. The Nicola’s designed the 7′ tall by 3′ wide cat condos. They had the multi–level enclosures specifically built vertically because cats enjoy exploring the different levels. Each unit is vented separately to guard against viral transmissions. Throughout the day, each cat or family of cats is given private playtime in the playroom that is equipped with toys and climbing structures.
They can house up to 130 dogs in their all-indoor kennel suites. They have fifty beautiful, powder–coated Club suites that are available in three sizes. And, their fifty large Signature suites have sound–proofed walls and full–length privacy doors.
“I think that we are the only facility in the metro Detroit area that offers these suites,” says Laurel. ” They are very quiet, they all have TV’s, and they are equipped with webcams so the owners can check on their pets 24/7.”
The canine guests are given four potty breaks a day. Each dog is taken to an individual potty pen outside. The pens are double fenced—the first fence is 6′ chain link and the entire outer perimeter is 8′ tall PVC fencing.
The Paw Print Inn uses artificial grass for their potty yards. It looks good, is comfortable for the dogs, and is simple to maintain. Each pen also has its own sprinkler system that makes it easier to keep clean. And, underneath the artificial turf, all the cement has radiant heat in it. Because they are located in Michigan, they experience months of winter weather. The heated floors of the potty yards help keep them free of snow.
“Our rates are all–inclusive and the overnight boarding dogs also participate in daycare. Our daycare is very structured. We offer a two hour playtime in the morning and another two hour group play in the afternoon. And when the pets are not on the play floors, they have downtime and are resting in a kennel,” Laurel says. “They are supervised at all times. We find it to be a more controlled and safer way to handle daycare. If a dog does not do well with others, they get private play time (supervised by staff) at no extra charge.”
The resort does offer optional a la carte services and treats for the guests that desire extra amenities. Private play sessions, Frozen ‘Bichon Freeze’ treats, Gourmet Pupcakes, and their Bedtime Story & Tuck–in service are some of most requested at the resort. Many of the more popular services and treats have been bundled into ‘Suite Doggy Deals’, and the owners can select these packages during check–in.
All breed grooming and spa services are provided by the skilled resort stylists. They offer facials, doggie massages, and exit baths for boarding clients. They also get a lot of customers who just come in for grooming. Another service that has become quite popular allows a dog to attend a half–day of daycare, followed by the dog’s grooming and spa appointment.
“We have a wonderful staff, and we all work as a real team,” says Laurel with a wide smile. “We opened in August of 2007, and many of them have been with us since the beginning. Our staff members get paid vacations and medical insurance. We spend a lot on payroll, but we feel that it contributes to our success.”
Laurel designed their website, www.pawprintinn.com, because visiting the website is the first contact some people have with the resort, it was important to her to make it as informative and welcoming as possible. Visitors to the Paw Print Inn Facebook page can take a virtual tour of the facility, including its expansive lobby, beautiful suites, play areas, and more.
“What sets us apart is our state–of–the–art facility, our high staff to pet ratio, and our procedures,” says Laurel. Kirk adds, “It is our mission to make sure that every pet that stays at the Paw Print Inn has a Pawfect vacation!”