On January 29, 2020

Kedron Valley opens new boarding, daycare facility

By Virginia Dean

Kedron Valley Vet is opening a new boarding, grooming and daycare facility that is fast becoming this area’s go-to place in just a few short weeks since its official opening on Jan 3.

Blakeley Murrell-Liland and Philippa Richards, owners of the new business and the current KVVC veterinary clinic located at 1205 W. Woodstock Road, indicated that they have been thinking of establishing such a facility for a long time.

“We looked at various locations over the last several years but realized that this is where we should be,” said Murrell-Liland of the new facility located at 560 W. Woodstock Rd.

Former veterinarian Marie Casiere had abandoned the facility and business, known as Woodstock Animal Care, in the spring of 2018. The building was foreclosed by lender Live Oak Bank of Wilmington, North Carolina, known for its veterinary loans, who did not take care of it during the winter of 2018-2019, rendering the buildings and kennels into a state of disrepair. Casiere had installed radiant heat in the kennel area but, due to neglect on the part of Live Oak, all the pipes burst.

Last September, Murrell-Liland and Richards found local contractor Greg Jenne and Springfield Fence to bring the structures back up to high standards.

“All the rain, snow and ice had rotted out most of the kennel building from five feet down,” Murrell-Liland said. “The building had to be jacked up from the inside because the beams had also disintegrated.”

Now, the 11 kennels have new fencing inside and out along with some new concrete slabs and pressurized wood wedges for stabilization. In addition, each kennel has a new weatherproof plastic door and flap, and a wooden piece on the inside for extra security at night. There are three-foot high aluminum sheets (pieces) in between each kennel outside to allow for privacy between the runs and prevent potential altercations between dogs.

New copper piping, water boiler (heater), and three heaters have been installed inside the kennel area that has also been repainted.

“We’re hoping that some of the Art Department students will come over and paint some murals, too,” said Murrell-Liland.

Outside, there is a large play area and a smaller one to allow dogs of different temperaments and sizes to play with one another, Richards related.

The old pine tree that stood in front of the two additional outside kennels on the right side of the kennel building was cut down, Murrell-Liland related, because of the fear that its roots would continue to rot out and/or buckle the building and kennel slabs.

Inside, Murrell-Liland and Richards re-purposed the kennels with some taller than others.

“These are for the jumpers,” said Murrell-Liland. “We’ve got three tall ones for them.”

Dogs are free to come and go from the inside to the outside. The plastic door is magnetized so it will shut either way.

The vets are still figuring out what kind of bedding will be used.

“We have ordered in thick rubber mats to put down in the kennels that can be sprayed down to clean,” said Richards.   “People are welcome to bring their own bedding if they’d like, although all pets will be closely watched to make sure none of

the bedding is being chewed.”

Grooming at the new facility will be located in the main house, where cats and birds can be boarded or dropped off for daycare. Grooming was moved from the kennel building because Murrell-Liland and Richards wanted more space in a quieter area.

A new washing tub (with a walk-up ramp) have been discussed by the vets to be put into the current x-ray room and the current equipment moved out.

“We haven’t moved very far with the grooming because we still have some configuring to do,” said Murrell-Liland. “But we should be up and running soon.”

The main office will remain intact, with new furniture and fresh coat of paint. Murrell-Liland and Richards have hired a general manager who will be responsible for overseeing a staff of four, including someone who has ample experience in dog behavior who will oversee the staff members interacting with the boarding and daycare animals.

Upstairs, in the former surgery room, there will be room for cat boarding.

“We are currently set up to board cats, but we’re looking to get cat condos in a separate quiet area upstairs where there is lots of natural light from the skylights”, said Richards.

Also upstairs is a large newly painted apartment (walls and floor) that is offered for rent.  There is a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms, with front stairs leading down to a common room and the main office. A new fire system has now been installed, and parts of the roof have been replaced.  Adjacent to the main office is a room that Murrell-Liland said could potentially be for puppy socialization between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks.

“This is a critical part of canine development particularly in the way they see the world,” said Murrell-Liland. “More animals are euthanized with behavior issues than infectious diseases.”

Hours of the new facility are Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday by appointment.

Prices range from $27 a day for dog daycare ($18 for cats) and $35 per night boarding for dogs and $25 per night for cats.

“We are not allowing clients to pick up their dogs at will,” said Murrell-Liland.  “We will always have an employee available to discharge the animals.”

Murrell-Liland and Richards will be overseeing the facility but will remain actively involved in their veterinary practice down the road.

“As such,” said Richards, “we can stand behind and make recommendations. We will know how it’s run and that the animals are being well taken care of. We want to have a hand in it and know what’s going on. It’s nice that we can just go over and tend to the animals if we are needed.”

Richards related that she and Murrell-Liland are happy to provide a need in the community, and Murrell-Liland indicated that finally there is a place where people’s dogs can have fun and be well taken care of.

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