Fur Baby Bliss Offers Resort Style Boarding and Grooming Part 1

Jennifer Beckman dreamed of owning and operating a boarding kennel facility since she was in high school. It all came together in September 2020 when Fur Baby Bliss, LLC was established. The business first opened for boarding in January 2021. The establishment offers luxury boarding services and spa/grooming for those who spend the night.

Small Town, Small Business

Beckman was born and raised in Frankenmuth and lived for five years with her husband in Marquette before settling in the Lowell/Saranac area in 2019. The couple has three dogs, although just weeks ago they had to say goodbye to the fourth furry member of the family. 

The original business plan for Beckman was to provide a doggie daycare service with a boarding concept and hire a groomer as the business grew. Shortly after moving to the area, she put herself into an internship program of sorts she created for herself. She worked with Tami Porteous at Avalon Pet Salon in Cascade as a bather so she could understand the grooming businesses. Porteous ended up inspiring Beckman to consider being a groomer. Beckman also did an internship with a daycare company in order to further develop her business plans.

“[These experiences] allowed me to quickly figure out which avenue I wanted to go with the business and learn more about each area,” says Beckman. “I quickly determined the grooming piece fit much better into the luxury boarding concept to serve client needs and this gave me the opportunity to build a more intimate bonding & trusting relationship with the dogs in my care, which was the experience I was looking for.”

The grooming aspect quickly grew on Beckman and she realized training to be a certified groomer would help in understanding dogs even more. This in turn would also understand the “challenges and stresses of the trade” as she started and grows her business. She also realized that the daycare concept would require more overhead, expenses, and experienced staff. 

“Grooming has been an extremely important service in helping me grow the business in the last year and establish a trust with my clients that I was looking for,” says Beckman of including this component in her business plan.

She has also worked with dogs through fostering, has been active on animal shelter boards, volunteered, worked on fundraising, and continued to pet sit and keep current on training to help establish and continue to grow Fur Baby Bliss.  

Being certified, trained, and continuing to further education and understanding of dogs is important for Beckman. A few years ago she invested in the Knowing Dogs training series through The Dog Gurus. She says it was a great way to learn how to read dogs, understand their body language to prevent conflicts, know clues for when a dog is stressed, and be able to communicate with dogs in simple ways. The business is much more than feeding dogs and playing with them all day.

Focus on Boarding

Since high school, Beckman has had the goal of owning and operating a boarding kennel facility. During this time she read books about establishing pet sitting, boarding, and doggie daycare businesses. She went to business school with the purpose of running a small business for dogs. 

“Dogs have been my passion since I was an infant. I think I was born for this! I spent much of my childhood through adulthood pet sitting for my family, friends, and neighbors,” comments Beckman on her love for animals. “If someone needed someone to trust to care for their pets (cats, rabbits, dogs, horses, etc.) they called me.”

Beckman says business school taught her she needed to work for her dream. She went into banking to learn about lending, financing, forecasting, and budgeting, and to work with small businesses to learn about their success and failure when operating. She enjoyed this learning but eventually decided she learned enough to put everything together and make her dream a reality.

Fur Baby Bliss offers boarding and grooming and spa services to those who spend the night. A maximum of 10 dogs are at the facility at any given time. 

“This is by design so that it is a small, intimate experience for your dog in a small pack group for the dogs to roam around and play with,” says Beckman. “Because of its social design, our facility is not for all dogs. The idea is for your dog to be on a vacation as well. To have a calm, serene, yet fun atmosphere for the dogs that mirror as much to a homelike atmosphere as much as possible and avoid stresses on the dogs while their humans are away.”

Home-Like Atmosphere

Beckman feels that Fur Baby Bliss sets itself apart from other boarding facilities because it tries to mirror a home-like conditions for the dogs. There is a social atmosphere where dogs intermix, play, lounge around and develop bonds with each other. Dogs get to be dogs. They get to roam freely in the yard or indoor playroom, while supervised, throughout the day during their stay.

“Working with many different dogs over the years, I have become a strong believer in the Pack Mentality of how dogs learn and work together,” says Beckman of watching dogs interact. “It’s an amazing thing to see happen and it inspires me how they quickly develop a secure hierarchy within their small groups.”

Before a first-time boarder can be put on the schedule a required visitation must take place. Beckman meets with the pet parent and dog to ensure the setting is comfortable for the dog. It’s also a good opportunity for a pet parent to tour the facility. Beckman says not all dogs are good with being or wanting to be social. Putting dogs who are not used to or comfortable in social situations could make them fearful, stressed, and lead to conflicts with other dogs. Quarrels between dogs are not tolerated as the goal of this social style of boarding is a well-balanced play yard where all visitors are comfortable and safe so it feels like a second home.

Each dog has a private, luxury suite to sleep and rest in. The area includes a cot, food station, blankets, pillows, and a TV for background noise. A large fenced in area allows dogs to play and interact with each other. There’s a playscape, shaded pergola, and rock hill to sniff around. There is also a large indoor playroom where dogs can sleep on a futon or hang out in a doggie tent when it’s too hot, rainy, or the dogs just want to take a break.

“It is my goal that all clients and their dogs can expect a peace of mind in knowing their dog is safe, secure, in a clean and sanitary environment that is fun, managed, and has a routine daily structure for their dogs to feel safe and protected in,” comments Beckman. “Most importantly, that their pets will be loved like my own and happy!”

Click here to read part two of our article! For more information about Fur Baby Bliss, visit their website, Facebook page, or Instagram page.

Photos courtesy of Fur Baby Bliss and used with permission.

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