Paws & Claws Of Morganton Makes Boarding

Baker offers private grooming sessions for dogs with severe anxiety.

When dogs stay at Paws & Claws of Morganton, they get the care offered by larger luxury boarding and grooming facilities but on a smaller scale which allows for more individualized, personal care, according to owner Heather Baker.

Baker, who has been grooming dogs for six years, recently opened a luxury-boarding kennel at her grooming shop in Morganton. Because the kennel is small with only five luxury boarding suites and is located behind her home, Baker is able to offer round-the-clock supervision and care for the dogs she boards.

“I wanted something small so I could give more attention to the animals. I wanted to provide luxury boarding,” explains Baker. “I have the same philosophy with the grooming: It is more about taking time with the pets. I want to be sure each dog is taken care of individually.”

Baker’s goal when she opened the grooming shop was to offer a shop that would get to know each pet and its owner and tailor the care to each pet’s needs.

“This is not a production-type place. It is not quantity but quality for me. The dogs I groom are in the room with me the whole time they are here so that I can see them,” explains Baker. “The biggest complaint I hear is that when people take their pet to be groomed, they have to talk to a receptionist and when they ask how the dog did, they are told, ‘He did great.’ If I have a problem with the dog, I will tell them what they can do to make it less stressful for the dog the next time.

Baker treats the pets that board at Paws & Claws like she treats her own pets – with love and care. And, they get lots of attention.

“I wanted to provide a place to bring pets to be taken care of, not just maintained. I’m not a big name-brand place: The person that meets you at the door is the person who will take care of your pet the whole time they are here, which I find is very important with boarding. I have no weekend or after-hours staff that will be handling your pet other than me and my family.”

Because many dogs experience anxiety when being groomed, Baker takes the time necessary for each dog to feel comfortable with her. She also offers private grooming for pets with severe grooming anxiety.

“There are no other dogs in the shop during a private grooming session. From the time they get here, I focus only on their dog, and the owners can stay.”

A software developer, Baker opened the grooming shop when she was laid off from her job with a software company two years ago. She had groomed part time prior to that. She opened the boarding kennel in October. The grooming shop and boarding facility are located on 25 acres of land that has been in her family for 50 years.

The luxury boarding suites each have glass doors that allow a lot of light to come in while still separating the dogs. They also have raised cots, fluffy blankets and a television. She takes the dogs out at least four to five times a day to play in one of the two outdoor play areas and to potty.

“The owners can bring anything they want to bring to make their pet feel at home,” she says. “They can bring the pet’s whole little room from home if they want to.”

The key ingredient that makes Paws & Claws of Morganton’s boarding a luxury experience is that the boarders get individualized care pretty much 24/7.

“Because I live right next door, I can check on them and take them out late at night. They don’t have to wait for someone to come in the morning,” explains Baker. “I am on the property 24 hours a day.”

“I don’t just maintain your pet. I take care of it just like I would my own.”

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