Home Daily Care Wagging Tails Pet Resort slated to open this month at old Heritage Farm in Easthampton – GazetteNET

Wagging Tails Pet Resort slated to open this month at old Heritage Farm in Easthampton – GazetteNET

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EASTHAMPTON — Two years after opening its first facility in Hadley, Wagging Tails Pet Resort, a dog day care, boarding, grooming and training shop, is opening a second location at the former Heritage Farm at 30 Florence Road in Easthampton.

Owner Christine Pratt bought the longtime horse farm from the Raucher family for $750,000 on Jan. 7 and crews began overhauling the property five days later.

Pratt said that when Donald Raucher first suggested that she purchase the farm, she didn’t take him seriously.

“At first I just laughed at him, but then I crunched the numbers and realized it was doable and it would offer so many more opportunities,” she said. “This gives us everything we need, it is like Wagging Tails on steroids.”

According to Pratt, Wagging Tails at Heritage Farm will be the rustic version of the high-end Hadley resort, where dogs will be able to play in an 11,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled riding arena, have access to outdoor exercise areas and hiking trails, and if boarding, spend their nights in one of the 24 large, repurposed horse stalls.

While the Hadley location offers dogs and cats services in a spalike atmosphere, the Easthampton site will provide dogs with a very farmlike experience.

“This will always be a farm and we will still be boarding horses here,” Pratt said, noting that behind the building that will house and service dogs, is a 32-stall horse barn. “The dogs can come here, smell all the smells, play, hang out, and go for walks and off-leash adventure hikes once we know they are reliable and have been vetted by us.”

The facility is currently being renovated in stages.

“It’s taking a lot of work to retrofit the property for dogs,” Pratt said. “Cleaning was a massive undertaking because the dogs require a different level of sanitation than horses.”

In a climate-controlled barn, former horse stalls of varying sizes are being pressure washed, sanitized, smoothed down and outfitted with floor coverings, dog beds, toys, chalkboards and room numbers.

“Most of these stalls are the size of an actual bedroom!” Pratt said.

The riding arena attached to the barn has been fully insulated and will be a large supervised indoor play area for dogs during the day, and open for horse activities in the evening.

In the new lobby, a reception desk, and a bank of closed circuit cameras have been installed so the staff can keep an eye on their furry clients.

Visitors to the facility will be greeted by a mural depicting dogs and horses enjoying themselves on the farm, while on the opposite wall of the lobby, the plan is to feature a display on the history of Heritage Farm, as a nod to the Raucher family who owned the property for almost 50 years.

Pratt said that the Easthampton location will be open for day care first, followed by boarding by the end of the month.

In addition to boarding and day care, the facility will offer grooming services, leashed and off-leash hikes, puppy and dog training classes, rally agility and nose work activities. A pool for dock diving is planned, as well as a retail store featuring collars, harnesses and leashes, toys, food and other canine necessities.

“We will have everything right here, I think that is what makes us different from the other centers,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that we are better, it means that we are unique.”

Pratt says that she will be able to care for 100 dogs at the new location.

“This place is so big that I could fit two of my current buildings into the arena alone and have room left over,” she said.

In time she said she also would like to offer dog rescue services.

“We would train and completely vet the dogs so that when they get placed, they stay placed,” she said.

The additional Easthampton location will mean that Pratt will expand her staff from 27 to 50 employees. She said that the industry standard for dog care facilities is 15 dogs per person.

How it all began

Pratt initially got into the business when she realized that her dog Wyatt was miserable when she would go to work at her administrative job.

Looking for a career that would accommodate her working with her sidekick, she landed on the idea of a dog board and groom business.

“That was it, he started it all,” she said while petting the 5-year-old black lab in a newly renovated stall. “Wyatt is actually the founder of Wagging Tails.”

Now two years into the business, she says she is currently at full capacity at her first location and that Wagging Tails at Heritage Farm will help to improve services offered in Hadley.

“Right now in Hadley I have three playrooms that are full,” she said, noting that rooms must sometimes be emptied to accommodate a dog that requires individual playtime.

“That is taxing on the dogs and the employees,” she said. “Here with this space, that will be a lot easier to deal with.”

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