It's a dog's life at Uniontown kennel

August 25, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Yuppie puppies don't go to kennels when their owners are away. Classy canines can go to camp in Uniontown.

Camp Yuppie Puppy opened a few weeks ago on a 108-acre farm, off Uniontown Road. Pedigreed pets and mutts of diverse lineages can hang up their leashes at the 12-"room" facility, where owners can board their dogs for a night or a week or more.

Pups may arrive at their shaggiest and get an appointment for a dip and clip with one of three groomers during their stay. Customers can select the most suitable hair styles from a wall full of snapshots of well-groomed customers.

The kennel is a 75-year-old remodeled farm building, complete with heat, air conditioning and soundproof interior walls.

"Some [visiting dogs] don't want to leave," co-owner Brenda D. Quinn said.

The interior concrete-floored rooms are partitioned for privacy. The runs are fenced but allow tenants "to talk to each other."

"Inside the building, they don't have to see each other, if they don't want," said Ms. Quinn, a groomer with more than 20 years of experience and a lifelong affection for dogs. "They can relax and get away from it all, too."

She does keep an eye out for signs of incompatibility among her tenants.

"We like to keep happy neighbors," she said. "If one dog doesn't like another, we'll move him."

Dogs who share the same owners and homes can room together at camp.

During day hours, the dogs also have access to their own 10-foot-long outdoor runs. Any canine who needs human companionship or an energy burn-off will also get a brisk walk on a leash.

"Some dogs are hyper and need more people contact," said Ms. Quinn.

In the unlikely event of an attempted runaway -- there has never been one -- leapers would encounter a 10-foot-high catch fence behind the kennel.

Owners need not worry that finicky eaters will go hungry. Those who refuse the doggy bill of fare are treated to Ms. Quinn's "special diet" of hamburger and rice.

"Nobody turns it down," she said with confidence.

Since Ms. Quinn and her husband, William F. Quinn, moved to the property they named Margaritaville about four years ago, they have divided their time between gutting and remodeling their 200-year-old farmhouse and raising Thoroughbred horses.

"The horses race at many tracks, but most are home now," said Ms. Quinn, pointing to the many horses grazing in nearby pastures.

The house is also home to the Quinns' three children, one Irish setter and three African gray parrots, who chat with each other constantly. The loudest of the birds is Bubba, whose cage in a large bay window affords him the best view of the grounds.

Two years ago, Ms. Quinn decided the farm would also be ideal for Brenda's Grooming, a business she operated in South Carroll for many years.

"I have always enjoyed animals," she said. "I started the business years ago. It gave me the opportunity to work and stay home with my children, too."

The Quinns wanted to remodel an old farm building behind their home and make it into a kennel.

A few neighbors in Carroll's smallest town objected to the business. Many wrote to the Board of Zoning Appeals listing concerns with increased traffic and noise.

"We went back and forth with the Zoning Board, but we finally got approval last month," said Ms. Quinn. "We won't be a nuisance to people in town. We don't want increased traffic or noise either."

The board decided the outbuilding "is suitably located on the farm for use as a kennel" and its use as a kennel is "reasonable and appropriate."

Average stay for the customers is about five days, but animals can board for as long as their owners are away. Ms. Quinn said homesickness is not a problem.

"Dogs have no concept of time," she said.

She assures worried owners the sad faces they see staring through the cages as they pull away from the camp will be transformed the minute they are out of sight.

"When the owners are gone, the dogs get curious," she said. "They look around happy as anything."

Weekends are the most popular times. Slots fill quickly and reservations are recommended. Information: 857-8230.

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