As many know, Pet Treater is an amazing national pet subscription company nestled in beautiful Eastern Tennessee. With that being said, whenever there is an opportunity to chat about another local “pet centered” business/company, we go full speed ahead and we do it!
We spoke with the co-founders of The Houndry, a sweet local company that shares their love of doggies with the Oak Ridge, TN community and surrounding areas! They do both walking and grooming services, and the community loves them. They are also in the process of opening an new business called The Backyard….more about that later!
Q and A Time:
Pet Treater: It is obvious there is a love for pets that you and the others with The Houndry have, but what brought you to starting this business with your business partner Leah and what all do you do at The Houndry?
Amanda with The Houndry: I have been working in the dog daycare industry since 2008, and in the animal world since 2006, so it’s been a big part of my career for a long time. When Leah approached me in 2015 about possibly starting a dog daycare in our area with her, I instantly loved the idea of working with someone who had such an amazing heart for animals on our own business. We both have such high standards it was a no-brainer knowing that whatever business we formed the care and well being of the dogs and transparency with our clients would be the highest priority!
Pet Treater: What are some of the best parts of running your business in Oak Ridge, TN?
Amanda with The Houndry: We really love the people here, and the fact that it’s surrounded by beautiful greenways has benefited our business tremendously! We wouldn’t be able to offer adventure hikes to almost anyone in the city if we had built our business in any other location.
Pet Treater: What are the main differences between “un-board” and “board” training and why does your business prefer the “un-board” system?
Amanda with The Houndry: Our training is based on Fear Free methods, and while board and train is a great option for a lot of people, we wanted to think outside of the box for a safer but efficient method to accomplish the same goal. By the trainer coming into a home daily, the dog would still get the same level of training without putting it into a stressful and new situation. It also gives the owner a chance to be more involved. With board and train, the dog is learning how to listen to the trainer in the trainer’s environment, but with un-board and train they’re also learning how to listen to the owner in their normal environment.
Pet Treater: Do you have a lot of fur baby clients on the “dog walking” part of your business? Do you go to all your clients or do some come to you for the dog walking?
Amanda with The Houndry: Each employee picks up their assigned dogs and then meets the others at one of the greenways for an adventure hike/walk. We have groups of large athletic dogs that can take on the surrounding mountains all the way to a group of older, slower walkers who need flat trails with lots of smells. We get quite a few in each group, usually 3 to 6 dogs, and then we do 5 to 7 hikes a day. Overall it’s a good amount of dogs and has continued to grow (we will be hiring again soon!). People love the option of not having to leave home as their dog exercises and socializes!
THE NEW BUSINESS: The Backyard
Pet Treater: Now, tell us about that wonderful new business y’all have started and when does it officially open: The Backyard! We want to know all the goodness about this!
Amanda with The Houndry: The Backyard will be a beer garden and dog park combined! It will be “part one” of our new construction, and they just started clearing off the land to prep it for construction! We don’t know when it’ll be open, timing for shipping materials and scheduling for the different contractors is all over the place right now, but hopefully not too much longer as we’ve been working toward this since we closed our facility mid 2020.
The idea behind it would be to provide a dog park where you know the other dogs are vaccinated, all play was supervised by knowledgeable employees, and you can still watch your dog have fun!
There will be an acre of play space split into two yards: one for the big/confident dogs and one for the small or timid dogs. There will also be a small dedicated yard that people can use for their pups who may not be social butterflies but still want a place to play off-leash.
We will also have a sensory path on the outside of the yards filled with enriching textures, smells, and pet memorials for those who take their pups on the path. It’ll be right off the new Rails to Trails in Oak Ridge so people could hop off the trail and do a loop on our path or come into the park for a refreshment while their dog plays. The addition of canned alcoholic beverages is just an added bonus for our community because two things Oak Ridgers love are their beer and their dogs!
Pet Treater: What is one of the most memorable experiences you and/or your staff have had while working at The Houndry, LLC?
Amanda: Winning Small Business of the Year right before COVID was a big deal for us, it really boosted our confidence in the route we were taking with our business. Once COVID happened and it turned our business on it’s head, then it was just the amount of love outpouring from our clients and community that really changed our lives. We have been able to basically start over from scratch because of the generous community we live in!
Leah: The things that have stuck with me most since we opened The Houndry have been memories of our clients. We have always said that our clients are the best in the world, and it’s the absolute truth. Many of our clients have been with us since we opened; they’ve become like family to us, we’ve watched their dogs grow up and grow older, and they’ve supported us through thick and thin. I’ll never take this opportunity we’ve been given for granted, because without our clients and their belief in us, we wouldn’t be here.
I can’t say enough about these people at The Houndry, I met them at a vendor event in Oak Ridge a few months back and honestly I can say, they are exactly why “community” works! Perseverance and commitment and caring for what matters!
Local to Eastern TN, give them a try. Follow them on Facebook, so you can be aware of when The Backyard opens or to just give them support and a friendly smile! Get to know more about them and the wonderful staff they have.
With Many purrs and barks,