Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 9, 2014

Pet passion evident at Tin Woof Inn

Tim Preston
The Independent

PRINCESS — Scott and Gale Templeton love their five dogs, in addition to all others entrusted to their care.

As they built their new business, Tin Woof Inn at Boyd County’s Paul Coffey Industrial Park, the Templeton’s passion for pets is apparent everywhere you look. Private doggy suites with art on the walls and a television mounted above offer first-class accommodation for owners who want the most at-home feel for their extended family members; large training/activity lots divide indoor/outdoor kennels; roof lines were extended to provide increased shade for guests who like to lounge outdoors; a freezer is stocked with raw foods specifically for dogs and cats (yogurts, lamb, chicken and beef blends); and a new swimming pool will soon be installed to allow for fun and competition as part of the nationwide “DockDogs” trend. Even the most “regular” of their enclosures are purpose built and powder-coat finished, eliminating the chain-link-fence look many animal lovers consider a turn off.

“We tried to put a lot of thought into it before we built it,” she said while taking a visiting former employee on an impromptu tour of their new facilities, pointing out features they only dreamed about at the Morehead location.

“People thought we were nuts when we built a boarding kennel in Rowan County — even our family,” Scott Templeton said this week as he, his wife and their staff prepared for a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Ashland Alliance at 11 a.m. Friday.

Supported primarily by people associated with the university and hospital in Morehead, with an ever-increasing number of customers from outside the immediate area, the Rowan County Tin Woof Inn has since grown to three times the amount of business the Templeton’s had projected. While reviewing their business data, he said they noticed an unusually high number of patrons traveling from the Ashland area just to take advantage of their services — ranging from simple boarding to daycare, training and beyond.

“Boarding is generally two-thirds of what we do, but daycare is a pretty significant part for us, too,” he said. “Grooming is probably the next half,” praising the skills of in-house groomer, Jennifer Baker, and her 25 years of experience. Daycare, he notes, is often good for both the pet and the owner, providing a chance for the animal to get exercise and socialize. The daycare option can be especially valuable to people who have large dogs and small yards which limit physical activity, he said.

The new Boyd County location, near the I-64 interchanges in Cannonsburg and Coalton, provides a more convenient destination for existing customers, as well as expanding their market to include nearby Ohio and West Virginia. Tin Woof Inn started in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2000, and the Morehead operation opened in 2007. The pet-care place was named “Rowan County’s Best New Business” in 2008.

The two original facilities now have more than 80 runs, with more than 6,000 square feet of climate controlled boarding, day care, grooming and retail space. The Morehead facility also operates a 4,000 square foot indoor training arena.  The business has been built on superior customer service, professional designs and operations, convenient seven day a week hours and a unique “one price” boarding rate where all activities are included in the daily boarding fee.

“We have been excited and encouraged by our growth and had to decide whether to expand our facility in Morehead or go into a new market. When we looked at our client list we saw some 100 clients from the Olive Hill, Grayson, Ashland areas and felt we would have a good foothold in far eastern Kentucky,” he said. “We knew that there was a market to be served because there really was no place for people to leave their pets when they travelled. We now have well over 1,000 clients from more than 100 zip codes, and clients from more than 10 zip codes come from out of state.”

The Templetons met while working together at a pet-boarding business in England, and were married in London. She was born and raised near Mansfield, Ohio, and spent summers in Rowan County, while he claims previous residence in at least 30 different places, although he identifies Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas as the places where he grew up. They have five Australian Shepherd dogs, Yuma, Giggles or “GiGi,” Asa, Catcher and Surf, each with his or her own awards and citations from agility competitions. Yuma and GiGi, for example, are well on their way to additional titles, while 12-year-old Catcher is a certified therapy dog. Surf, he says, is their best candidate to train for dock-diving once their new pool has been installed and filled.

The Ashland Tin Woof Inn opened this week and features more than 50 indoor/outdoor runs, upgraded suites, seven outdoor play yards, a dedicated “cattery,” grooming room and more. The Templetons and staff will be welcoming the public, and their pets, for a ribbon cutting Friday, as well as hosting a grand-opening event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with participation games including a hot-dog race, dress-a-dog relay, and dog look-a-like contest, complete with refreshments as well as entertainment by the classic-rock band Better day Parade.

For more information, visit either of the Tin Woof Inn pages on Facebook, their website at tinwoofinn.com, or call (606) 928-3000.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.