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Carol Nelson, with Squiggles, is a four-star innkeeper for critters. (Submitted photo)

Four-legged guests 'snuggle, snooze'

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The hotel business can be grueling (make that drooling) for proprietors anxious to make their guests happy.

Carol Nelson's nights and days are filled with guest pampering, playing, consoling, feeding and hospitality.

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The owner of Snuggle 'n Snooze Inn south of Dorset, a pet boarding service, has given careful thought to what makes a bed & breakfast just right for the company.

Dogs prefer blue so those rooms are a medium-hued azure color. For cats, lilac.

With nine dog rooms and four cat suites, Nelson has her hands full.

Of fur.

Each room is a single unless those pets come together and are used to close accommodations and can fit comfortably in their rooms. Guests don't have the opportunity to mingle with each other for fear of swapping germs.

Each room opens to an outdoor recreation area via a pet door. If a big dog needs more room to stretch, the yard is a fenced in 185-by-60 foot area. Each suite has its own glass door so the pets can see each other and the bright yellow living room.

The inn is on the Dorset Corner, at the intersection of Highway 34 and Hubbard County Road 11, "kitty corner" from the Dorset Liquor Store.

These are no slumdog accommodations. Each pet gets a bed and bedding, a rug and a taste of home. Nelson urges pet owners to send along a toy and the animal's food.

She thinks it's not good for pets to suddenly change diets. But there's plenty of treats to go around and spoiling is encouraged and appreciated. Each pet must provide proof of current vaccination.

Nelson quietly opened the inn in 2012 in her home and has been renovating ever since, doing most of the grunt work herself.

The work is never-ending. She's constantly running around with a wash rag to clean drool off the floor and wipe glass doors where canine and feline noses have just marked the spot.

But for an animal lover, it's a joy.

"I knew it was going to be a daunting challenge to design and open a quality, yet affordable, facility that was warm, friendly, and easily run by one individual," Nelson said.

She recalls her own boarding experience with dog Squiggles.

"The place was cold, hard, and dark with unpainted cement and no heat. There was nothing warm, cozy or inviting about the place. Since that time I have not boarded any of my other precious pets.

"With this experience in mind I began designing an environment that was as worry-free for pet owners as possible, stress-less for pets, warm, colorful, inviting, friendly, bright and cheery-with a safe place to play. I wanted to make a pet hotel where I wanted to keep my pet. Thus "Snuggle 'n Snooze Inn" was born.

There's top notch room service. Clean bedding, fresh water and sweeping or washing the floors is a multi-daily task. When a guest leaves the room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

In the yard, Nelson doesn't use fertilizers or chemicals that could be harmful to the guests.

Friday afternoon, Bailey Junebug and her kitty Frostin were checking in. Owner Raeann Mayer's other two cats could stay home for the weekend, but Frosty, as she's called, needed insulin and Bailey can't be left without supervision.

Bailey immediately made herself at home on the leather couch. Nelson gives all animals an adjustment time before they go to their rooms.

Both cat and dog immediately settled down, knowing they were in the hands of a pro.

Nelson gives reduced rates to long-term stays.

Each guest gets a pat on the head, a "Night night" and then lights out.

You can't say that about the Hilton. Nor would that establishment board three ducks, which Nelson brought in for the winter. And the proprietors of chain hotels certainly don't play ball with their guests.

"I also love the little guys (rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, reptiles and birds to name a few;) they are all welcome guests at Snuggle 'n Snooze Inn for a family's peace of mind."

She can be reached at 732-7387 or 732-PETS.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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