ESTEVAN - Jodi McLaughlin has always loved animals.
Now she gets to demonstrate that fondness with her new business, Happy Smiles Pet Resort, located at the Prairie Animal Health Centre on Breeze Street west of Estevan.
McLaughlin had a business, SoLo Dog Training, in which she provided dog walking and pet sitting services in addition to dog training. She moved away to Saskatoon for a few years, but decided to return home to Estevan.
“I contacted the vet clinic here, because I had heard that the previous tenant had moved elsewhere, so I was curious what had happened to this location, because I had worked at it back in 2014 when it was owned by the Prairie Animal Health Centre,” she said.
When she found out it was available, she knew it was the opportunity for her.
The business opened on June 29, and clients have been coming to her ever since.
Happy Smiles Pet Resort is focused on boarding and day care services. Eventually, she wants to get back into dog training. She is looking to train a groomer, as her younger sister can handle that work.
“The location we’re at right now, it’s next to the vet clinic, so that’s great, too, because then you can go up to the vet and come back here for day care. It’s a great partnership.”
There are other great kennels in the city, but McLaughlin noted that since other places are busy for the summer, Happy Smiles is a good place to go for last-minute trips.
“I’ve had a few returning clients from when I did work with SoLo Dog Training, and they are happy that I am back in business and providing good care for their dogs.”
Happy Smiles has 27 kennel runs and six areas for cats that she calls cat-ios. If they’re filled, some of them can have double occupancy. She tries to limit canine day care numbers to approximately 10 for the safety of the animals.
“If they’re social and they like to go play with dogs, they can come play in the day care, and if they’re boarding overnight, they can also go in the day care. They just get breaks right now. Right now I have them only for lunch. So they have their lunch break while the day care dogs are playing.”
McLaughlin said she has always loved dogs, cats and all kinds of pets, so being able to work with the animals makes her really happy. And she gets to do it while being back home in Estevan.
“With pet-sitting, I still care for them, but with boarding and day care, you can care for a lot more at once, while with pet sitting, you can take on a few clients a day,” she said.
Ever since she was a child, McLaughlin has grown up with dogs and cats. Her mother always loved dogs. The cats and dogs she interacts with are great.
McLaughlin is glad to be back in Estevan, and to have new dogs, puppies and cats to cuddle.
“I get a new dog that comes in, and I think I get a new dog to cuddle,” said McLaughlin.