Country clubs aren’t just for humans anymore.
Scott Burnley, Paul Blackburn and Rebecca Blackburn have opened a 15,000-square-foot pet boarding, day care, grooming and training facility called Pet Station Country Club that aims to offer pets a luxury experience while their humans are at work or on vacation. The club is on 6.4 acres at 4800 Murphy Lane, off Highway 22.
“This is the culmination of a dream,” said Paul Blackburn. The Blackburns had always wanted to open a pet country club, he added, with all its bells and whistles, but it made more sense to open Pet Station, a smaller pet boarding and grooming facility in Norton Commons, nine years ago.
The list of services and goods at Pet Station Country Club includes fro-yo for dogs ($5), a 15-minute cuddle session ($8), 15-minutes individualized play time ($8), swim time in the zero-entry pool ($16 for 20 minutes) and multiple overnight boarding options (ranges from $21 to $65 per night), among any other services.
Burnley, who learned to train dogs at Starmark Academy, will oversee the day-to-day operations as general manager and helps conduct daylong evaluations to learn a dog’s personality, temperament and how it reacts to toys, humans and other dogs.
The pre-evaluation questionnaire includes 60 questions that give Pet Station Country Club’s trained staff an idea of a pet’s personality before it even comes in. The evaluation helps the business ensure that pets with complementary temperaments are placed in the same play groups.
“It’s very detailed,” Rebecca Blackburn said. “You wouldn’t want a dog in here who wasn’t comfortable.”
The business mainly caters to dogs, but it also has cat condos for cat owners who are going out of town. They’ve simply found that there isn’t as much demand in the Louisville area for grooming and boarding services for cats, said Paul Blackburn.
Although the country club is already open, construction is still wrapping up, and they are waiting for the grass to grow outside where dogs will have pens they can run around and play in.
Inside, Pet Station Country Club has a 4,000-square-foot area for its daycare where no more than 15 dogs at a time can play with each other. The area features K9Grass, which was engineered specifically for dogs and makes it easy to clean up messes and helps prevent the spread of microbes. Daycare costs $25 per day, but daycare packages and an annual membership also are available.
The ramps, jumps and other agility equipment help build the dogs’ confidence, Burnley said, while practicing obedience around other dogs can make them better pets at home.
“If they can learn in this environment that’s more distracting and there’s other dogs, that helps when they get home,” he said.
Whether coming in for a grooming or staying in one of the boarding rooms, the goal is transparency. “You can see everything,” Rebecca Blackburn said, gesturing toward windows that allow owners to look in while their pet gets a haircut and bath.
Pet Station Country Club also has eight premium suites with memory foam dog beds, raised food and drink bowls and the PetChatz system, which allows owners to video chat with their pets and even dispense treats.
Other boarding options include 93 private rooms and the luxury lounge. The lounge is for dogs 21 inches tall or shorter and is exactly as it sounds: It features benches with memory foam mattresses on them, a small teepee dogs can lay inside, two little dog hammocks, and a private fenced outdoor area that the dogs can access at any time.
While some may think Pet Station Country Club is a bit excessive, for many pet owners, their animal is like a child to them. In fact, some have deemed pet-related spending as recession proof; U.S. consumers spent an estimated $60.59 billion on their pets in 2015, according to the American Pet Products Association.
The entire Pet Station Country Club facility was designed for pets with their humans in mind, said Rebecca Blackburn.
“It’s for a pet to be engaged, and it’s for an owner to feel comfortable.”