Former horse barn goes to the dogs

Katie Chapman and her dog Jada at the new Fox and Hound Canine Retreat. Glenn Ogilvie

Cathy Dobson

It’s pick up time at the new Fox and Hound Canine Retreat doggy daycare and the playground is full of wagging tails.

“I’m sorry it’s so noisy,” laughs owner Katie Chapman as she talks above the barking. “We’ve had a busy day.”

Chapman opened The Fox and Hound last August with husband Jake after the couple bought a 50-acre horse farm at the corner of Michigan Line and Brigden Road.

They converted the huge, grey horse barn into a grooming salon, indoor playgrounds to accommodate different sized dogs, a large arena for training, and a retail store with natural and holistic dog food.

This spring, they are replacing most of the horse stalls with overnight accommodation for four-footed clients. Until the sleeping suites are finished, the dogs are sleeping overnight in a doggy lounge.

There’s currently room for 30 dogs in daycare, 15 dogs overnight, and there will be space for 25 overnight when the sleeping suites open in a few months.

“We’re about 60% of the way there,” says Chapman. “Our master plan is to offer all our services under one roof.”

The arena could be ready for agility training by May and will be rented out to other trainers for performance sports and obedience classes.

Outside the 8,000-square-foot barn, part of the property is used for off-leash playground areas. The front 10 acres are designated for dog shows.

“We have an open concept that makes us different from a kennel,” said Chapman.

Each dog is assessed on size, temperament, age and activity level so they can be placed in an appropriate play group.

“We’ve got a lot of interaction among the dogs, so that they’ll have fun and be relaxed at the end of the day.

“I believe that a tired dog is a happy dog,” said Chapman.

She grew up in Arkona, helping out with her dad’s foxhounds and Jack Russell terriers as they pursued various dog sports.  She became a certified dog groomer and later was the Ontario sales rep for a dog food supplier.

“My whole life has been dogs,” said Chapman, 32.

When she and her husband started a family, she rethought her sales career and put a business plan together for The Fox and Hound Canine Retreat.

“I have Jack Russell terriers,” she said. “They’re a busy breed and they set the tone here. It’s been quite a ride so far.”

The Chapmans have hired a full-time groomer, a trainer and three full-time doggy daycare attendants.

Grooming prices vary from $30 to $100, depending on breed, size and style. Daycare costs $2.50 per hour and an overnight stay is $20.

The Fox and Hound Canine Retreat is located at 2437 Michigan line. Call 519-542-0070 or visit www.thefoxandhound.ca or Facebook.

 

NEW RMT ON CHRISTINA

Chantal Bergeron, Registered Massage Therapist, is accepting clients at her new practice on the sixth floor of 546 Christina St. North.

Bergeron, 36, graduated in 2014 from Lambton College’s RMT program, having won an award for academic excellence in her second year.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in healthcare,” she said. “To see someone’s smile after treatment, see their pain lift and their quality of life improve, that’s why I like massage so much.”

Bergeron moved to Sarnia from Cornwall to take Lambton’s RMT course and, shortly after becoming certified with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, she established her own office under the mentorship of RMT Dayna Baxter.

OHIP pays for massage therapy in some cases and many benefit programs cover it.  Otherwise, Bergeron charges $50 for half an hour or $80 for an hour.

She takes appointments seven days a week, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Call 519-328-7474 (cell) or 519-491-9121 (office) or email at sarniarmt@hotmail.com.

Got an interesting business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.