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Eye On | Saddlerock Pet Resort — Pet pampering: It’s more than just a place to board animals

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Teka the dog sits in her kennel as Ron Lee, owner of Saddlerock Pet Resort, gets food for another dog. The facility, at 676 Circle St. in Wenatchee, offers dog and cat boarding and grooming.

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The aptly-named Saddlerock Pet Resort on Circle Street in Wenatchee sits at the base of the valley’s iconic Saddlerock and provides a safe and comfortable place for pets to stay while their owners are away.

A family business, Saddlerock Pet Resort is run by Ron Lee. The resort opened its doors in 2002 and has gained a loyal customer base ever since. A geologist by trade, Lee drove bus for Link Transit during a transition period before starting his business venture. He said a love for animals propelled him to start Saddlerock Pet Resort.

If you love dogs and cats and want to take care of them, it’s easy. It’s a physical job, but I get a lot of joy out of taking care of them and making them happy,” Lee said. “I think if you like what you do, it makes for an enjoyable life. We learn about every single dog that comes in here. We know which dogs are fence jumpers, which dogs are timid, which ones are a little aggressive. We learn about them, remember their names. I’m happy when I get to see a new friend more than once.”

The family-owned business is tightly-knit. One of Lee’s employees, Amalia Mathews, says it is the family atmosphere and rewarding nature of her job she values most.

This place makes you feel like family,” Mathews said. “It’s nice to have a boss (Lee) who is friendly and genuinely happy to be here. It just makes you feel good. When you are able to take an afraid dog that walks in that door and turn him or her into a happy dog when it leaves, that’s rewarding.”

The property and outdoor recreation area Saddlerock provides is spacious and allows dogs plenty of room to get their wiggles out with new friends. Pet owners are more than welcome on the property as well, as Lee encourages customers to take a look at the property before committing to having their pets stay there.

We have the largest area of all the boarding places in town by far,” Lee said gesturing toward his large field behind him. “We rotate the dogs in and out three or four times a day so they get fed and get enough exercise every day. We just have so much room to roam, and I think all dogs leave here happy.”

Although most of Saddlerock Pet Resort’s furry clients are of the canine variety, felines are also welcomed with open arms. Cats have a cat condo where they can watch all the dogs run around and receive the same sort of quality care dogs do. Other animals that have been boarded include ferrets, rabbits, iguanas, parrots, tortoises, hamsters, and lizards. Customers who would like boarding services for these animals should be ready to bring their own housing quarters.

Personal belongings from home are accepted and encouraged. Beds, food, toys, or other personal grooming products can be dropped off along with your dog or cat and may make them feel more at home. Ron and Cathy Lee do their best to remember every furry critter that walks through its doors, as well as the owners.

We remember every animal’s name that comes in,” Lee said with a chuckle. “And we try to remember as many human names as we can too.”

Saddlerock Pet Resort has more than just one trick. In addition to their boarding services, Saddlerock also offers grooming and classes on obedience.

Karen Hall provides grooming on site and has been in business longer than the resort itself. Each grooming includes a bath, toenail clipping, and expressing of the anal glands. Some grooms also require a haircut, while others receive a nice brush out after the bath.

The Lord gave me excellent groomers and I have been blessed to have great help around here,” Ron Lee said.

Hall also runs a seven-week long basic dog obedience class on site Thursday evenings from April through October. The class aims to be a good basic introductory class to basic obedience. It covers the sit, heel, down, come, finish, wait, and stay commands and incorporates invaluable socialization skills between the dogs. The goal is to have 12 or fewer dogs per class for more individualized training. The course is $70 for seven hours of instruction broken down into one-hour increments.

Although it pains Lee and his staff to turn away pets for care, Saddlerock Pet Resort does have a strict vaccination policy to keep all dogs safe. All dogs must be vaccinated for Bordetella (kennel cough), rabies, and parvo to gain admittance.

Saddlerock Pet Resort uses the American Boarding Kennel Association’s Pets Bill of Rights as a guide on how to care for pets and their owners while in custody of furry children. The Pets Bill of Rights is a code of ethical conduct member organizations adhere to. These measures are important guidelines, and also can give customers a sense of comfort.

Among the Pets Bill of Rights’ “Pledge To Your Pet,” guidelines, Saddlerock Pet Resort promises to put the care for your pet above all other business considerations, to maintain a sanitary environment, and to provide vigilant supervision around the clock. The pet’s dietary and medical needs will be attended to and the pet will be boarded in a place it feels comfortable based on size, weight, and breed. Comfortable levels of light and exercise are also promised. To see the full Pets Bill of Rights, visit www.ibpsa.com/.

Rob Monteleone, who boarded his cocker spaniel and poodle five times from 2015-16, said it takes about three minutes to realize what Lee does is a labor of love. He said the people of the Wenatchee Valley need to know about Ron and what he can provide pet owners, and want those pet owners to know what Lee can do for them.

We dropped the dogs off and were going to be gone four or five days,” Monteleone said. “We got back and when Ron brought the dogs out, they were looking to him for affection and attention, not us. They were well fed, happy, it was obvious they were tired which meant they were getting enough exercise. He’s always smiling when we show up. The resort is different than a kennel where you are customer X coming in a 2 p.m. and will be there for a grand total of 36 hours, it has that family atmosphere. I know he legitimately loves all animals and I would recommend him to anyone.”

There are no signs of slowing down the Saddlerock Pet Resort, and so long as there are critters who need tending to, there will be a dedicated and welcoming staff ready to oblige.

Well, we’re still in business,” Lee said. “We have to be doing something right.”