When you love dogs, there is nothing you wouldn’t do for them, whether they are your own or someone else’s. That is exactly how Gracie Smith feels about dogs; they are more than just four-legged creatures that she can love and care for, they are her friends and her passion.
That kind of devotion is what led her first, to consider opening a boarding facility for dogs; second, to actually doing it and; third, to loving every minute of the time spent as the co-owner-operator of Faithful Paws Pet Resort.
Gracie and her husband Les, have worked hand-in-hand to open Faithful Paws Pet Resort, a wonderful place for pets to be boarded or “dogsat” in a doggie day care kind of situation. But boarding and day care isn’t all Gracie offers at Faithful Paws Pet Resort, she also provides a grooming service there as well.
“I always wished I had a place for my dogs to go if we had to be away,” Gracie said. “Les and I started talking about it and realized we had plenty of room to make a pet resort happen. I am usually home and I am used to taking care of lots of dogs and I love dogs, so it just started coming together.”
Gracie’s reference to “lots of dogs,” refers to the eight St. Bernards she and Les have. Bertha, Booger, Daisy, Mae, Marshmallow, Panda, Slingshot and Squirt Gun complete the Smith family. At one point they bred St. Bernards, but not anymore said Gracie. Now, they are part of the brood, lounging, running, playing and enjoying life at Faithful Paws Pet Resort.
On the resort property, which is located north of Cut Bank, you will find six indoor/outdoor dog runs, 10 kennels, a dog grooming room and four huge, fenced play and run areas. It looks like a mini-ranchette that has been created just for dogs.
At night, everybody that spent the day outside comes inside to a kennel, where they are kept safe and secure while they are sleeping. “For their own safety, we lock the dogs in at night and that way they will be in out of the weather and kept warm. I also leave a television on in the building so they have a little noise.”
And no worries if your pet has some special needs, like medications or perhaps needing a little extra attention, Gracie can see to that while your companion is in her care too.
“Whatever their owners do for them normally, I will be happy to do that for them while they are here,” she said. “We have even had some little dogs that were uncomfortable staying in the kennels, so we brought them inside the house with us and that made them feel much better.”
She offers discounts for those pet owners with more than one dog, especially if they can be boarded in the same kennel.
While in her care, dogs get lots of exercise, if that is something they can tolerate, lots of love, which they all happily accept and lots of companionship from either Gracie herself or the other “friends” staying at the resort.
“If you want to bring their favorite bed, blanket or toy, that is always a good idea,” she offered. “And I do ask people to bring the food their dog normally eats.”
Since they opened their pet doors over three months ago, Gracie said she has been very busy. If you wish to board a dog or set up a grooming appointment, you can reach Gracie at 470-4951.
And speaking of grooming, Gracie will happily clip, snip, bathe, brush and comb your furry friend too. “I really like the grooming part,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I would, but I really love it. It is so fun to see the change from how they arrived to when they are done being groomed.”
The price to groom your dog depends on what grooming service you require or how much work it is to get your dog groomed. “It can range anywhere from $15 to $65,” she said.
Gracie also offers one more service at Faithful Paws Pet Resort and for pet lovers, it isn’t necessarily the one they like to think about, but it is a sad reality. “We created a little pet cemetery where people can come to have their pets buried if they are unable to find a place on their own property,” she said.
“I’ve built a little white chapel on the cemetery, making it a nice, peaceful place for pets and pet owners. This was something I really wanted to do for my own pets that we have lost and now I can offer it for others that have lost a pet they love so much too.”
It has been a labor of love getting the whole operation of Faithful Paws Pet Resort up and running, but it has been worth every minute for Gracie.
“You have to have lots of patience to do this and you have to love what you do more than anything, and I do,” she said.