A large, corn silk-colored dog lounges in a patch of grass as the autumn sun dapples his fluffy coat with light. While the relaxing canine feels at home in the natural environment, he is actually lying in his own private backyard space at Katy Dog Suites off of Clay Road.
Co-owner Robert Sherlock said the facility was created to be different than your average boarding facility.
“Most kennels are all concrete,” he said. “We have little grass areas, dog doors that are really easy to get in and out of, and private rooms that are air conditioned and heated. We want to keep it as homelike as possible.”
Each “suite” also comes with a loft-style bed that supports the guests’ joints, and a window that lets in natural light. The dogs also have the chance to take picturesque walks through the facilities 22 acres of practically untouched Texas countryside, and play with other dogs who are visiting there as well.
Sherlock and his wife first realized the need for this unique kennel experience when they were looking for a place to board their own dogs when they traveled from Texas to their native Australia.
“We wanted to build a place where we’d feel comfortable leaving our dogs,” he said. “It’s something we had as a goal.”
While Sherlock and his wife had always owned and trained dogs, they knew they needed to do some serious research if they were going to create a state-of-the-art facility that was different than anything they’d seen before. Sherlock traveled back to Australia and studied the most successful and highly-regarded kennels in the country.
When he returned from his overseas travels, he set to work implementing these ideas into his first large-scale boarding facility in The Woodlands, which contains 160 suites, and then into the newly-built Katy Dog Suites which is big enough to care for more than 300 dogs.
The facility is so large in fact that it is considered one of the largest boarding facilities in the world, and was the temporary home for many of the dogs displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“There were a lot of dogs at NRG Stadium after the hurricane,” Sherlock said. “We ended up taking in a lot of dogs from [the stadium]. We worked with the SPCA and took in almost 300 dogs between our two facilities.”
Not only are the Sherlocks and their business partners passionate about caring for animals in crisis, but they are also passionate about providing their guests’ pet parents with peace of mind when they are aware from their furry friends.
Along with social media updates, including pictures and videos of their canine guests, Katy Dog Suites also provides round-the-clock care from the facility’s resident dog experts.
“We have a couple that live on the premises and are full-time staff,” Sherlock said. “They both used to work at the Montgomery County Shelter and have worked with rescue groups and shelters for many years.”
The owners want each dog to get the kind of care they’d receive at home. Pet parents are encouraged to bring familiar food, toys, and a blanket or sheet for their bed.
“We really want to provide a service that’s not a hotel, but more of a place where people feel comfortable leaving their pets,” he said.
Sherlock hopes that the care they give their guests will help them to expand into providing specialized care for pets of deployed soldiers or older people who have been moved to nursing homes.
“We want to be eventually be able to help people who are looking for long-term care and provide it to them at a discounted rate.”
The theme of kindness is evident throughout the facility, and is partly due to the Sherlock’s faith.
“These [dogs] are all God’s creatures, and you’ve really got to treat them well,” he said. “We’re trying to take care of these pets and really make sure they’re getting well-looked after.”