By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
Windy Pines Boarding Kennel wants to make dogs feel at home and their owners feel at ease.
The boarding facility, owned by Kelly Rollyson, officially opened on Memorial Day weekend. The manager is Barb Tims-Wright, who has been a veterinarian technician for 17 years.
The site is located in Belgium, near Grafton, off Gawthrop Road, which is half a mile from the U.S. 250/U.S. 50 split. Rollyson said the location between Fairmont, Bridgeport and Grafton is convenient for customers, and people have also come from Morgantown and Buckhannon.
She said her father raised dairy cattle and her grandfather had a farm, so she grew up around animals. As a kid, she was constantly bringing dogs home, and today five dogs are part of her family.
For seven years, Rollyson has been breeding keeshonds, and families who want to bring these puppies into their homes come from across the country.
“Once you’ve had one, you just don’t have another dog,” she said of keeshonds. “They’re fantastic family dogs, which kind of led into the kennel.”
Rollyson decided that instead of just taking care of the keeshond puppies, she wanted to create a facility where owners would feel comfortable leaving their beloved dogs while they were away.
She and her husband of 26 years, Jack, found the perfect spot next to their home and built the kennel from the ground up. The project took about 3 1/2 years to complete.
“He did it for me because this is something I’ve always wanted,” Rollyson said. “This is just something natural for me to do.”
With the large number of dog owners in the area, she felt there just weren’t enough boarding facilities and saw a definite need.
Windy Pines Boarding Kennel offers overnight to long-term care. It is open seven days a week and — with the owner on the premises — is staffed 24 hours. Pick-ups and drop-offs are not allowed on Sundays.
The facility only has 10 runs in an effort to avoid overcrowding and so the dogs get individual attention. The pets that stay aren’t just stuck in a cage, Rollyson said.
She said the dogs have the opportunity to run around in an outside, fenced-in play area or in a big nearby field, and also go on walks. They are taken out about every two to three hours, or at least six times a day. An inside play room allows the animals to still get exercise during bad weather.
“We don’t treat your pets like dogs. We treat them like part of our family,” Rollyson said. “They’re not just dogs. They are parts of our families, and they deserve to be taken care of.”
She commented that every dog is different, and she and Tims-Wright never put two dogs outside at the same time unless they come together. And they always stick to the owners’ wishes on feeding.
The boarding kennel also has a wash room for bathing and clipping dogs’ nails. The business plans to offer grooming services in the future.
“We just love them all,” Rollyson said of their guests. “We take just about every breed, big to small.”
However, the facility is unable to accept pitbulls due to its insurance policy, she said.
Rollyson and Tims-Wright, who have known each other since 1993, see eye-to-eye and work really well together, they both said.
In its more than two months in business, Windy Pines Boarding Kennel is doing “shockingly great” and has been staying pretty full, Rollyson said.
She said the kennel keeps her busy, but she loves seeing the different breeds come in and interacting with the animals.
For more information, call Tims-Wright at 304-677-3919 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or contact Rollyson at 304-203-3343 on evenings and weekends. Visit Windy Pines Keeshonds and Boarding Kennel online at www.windypineskeeshondsandboardingkennel.com.
Email Jessica Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.