The kennel sits on the left side of the house as you enter the driveway. Out in front of the kennel, there is parking for two cars. You can see the top of the runs on the left of the second picture. Visitors can now enter the breezeway through a door near the front of the garage. The entrance is behind the small fence on the right.
This is the interior of the breezeway shortly after it was built. Once inside the breezeway, there are four other doors which lead to the garage, the kennel building, outside to the runs and inside the house by the whelping room and laundry room. There is also a window to add light.
There are six runs are on this side of the kennel and a large, fenced exercise area encloses the space. The seventh run, a puppy pen, is on an adjacent wall separate, but within view of the bigger dogs.
This view looks past the big runs to the small puppy run toward the outside of the breezeway. It is now finished in cedar siding like the house and the kennel building and is covered with its own roof. If you look carefully at the first photo, you can see another door going into the breezeway. This one is very close to the interior door to the house. If you went inside that interior door, there would be a whelping room on your left (originally a storage closet, about 7 X 8 foot. That opens into the laundry room and there is a door dog out into an exercise area for the pregnant Mom. She can jump over a small barrier from the whelping room and go outside whenever she likes (unless we bar the way!) There is a bathroom beyond that laundry room which was very convenient.
There are two windowed doors and seven windows in the kennel. Because we live in deep woods, we wanted as much natural light inside as possible. Each inside pen is close to a natural light source. The walls are painted a cheerful yellow with special washable, white panels (called "pig" panels!) on the bottom half of the inside pens. These panels are used in pig barns and do not scratch and can be easily washed.
The kennel's inside dimensions are 20 ft. by 35 ft. As you enter through the door you see the individual dog pens on your right, grooming tables and tub in the middle and my computer work area in the far corner. In the first photo, your back is to the puppy pen and another small cabinet.
There is a laundry tub as well as a washer and dryer on the left side wall. It is nice to have a place to wash dog rugs separate from our clothes! A simple thing we added that I like a lot is a retractable electric cord that pulls down from the ceiling over the grooming tables.
At the end of the room between my desk and the end run is a couch against the wall. It is a nice place for visitors to sit as they play with puppies, but most of the time, you can find two or three dogs napping or playing there as I work.
There are four Hunter fans to help circulate heat and to move the air in summer. With our wooded setting, we do not have many really hot days, but if we do, we have a mist system that sends a fine spray of water over one end of the runs and lowers temperatures 10-20 degrees. If it terribly hot, we recently added two window air conditioners to keep the dogs cool.
A tall, narrow cabinet and large, plastic shelves take care of storage, along with another cabinet over the washer and dryer. A table near the tub holds a small refrigerator, microwave and shampoos. Looking out the window, you can see the door into the breezeway, giving visitors an entrance directly to the kennel instead of going through the house. Inside the kennel, at the far left of this photo, is the kennel door into the breezeway.
Six indoor pens line the long wall.
The door to the outside runs is between the first and second pens.
Enlarged pictures of past and present dogs line the walls.
Ch. Ready enjoys the big, corner pen and Phoenix and Salem, play together in another pen.
Wires and Dalmatians are side by side in their individual pens. The pens vary in size, but all are five foot deep. The largest is over 7 ft wide and the smallest is just under 5 ft. wide. The widths were determined by where the studs were in the walls and also by the placement of the back door. The largest run is separated from the others by the back door out to the runs.
There are six in/out pens along the long wall, but there is also a temporary "puppy pen" on the short wall. When puppies are moved from the house to the kennel, they have their own space separate from the older dogs. The "Rover Enclosure" is portable and can be fastened to the wall as shown or quickly taken down. With its gate open or when it is down, dogs that are loose with me can go in and out. The pen's small size allows me to step over to get inside.
Each outside run has a hard plastic resting pad outside the door. This provides a place for each dog to sit off the concrete outside. All the runs are covered with wire as we do have coyotes and various other critters out here in the woods.
The outside runs are the same width as the inside pens (approx. 5-7 ft.) and are 19 ft long with a concrete walkway at the ends. The area surrounding the concrete walk has been graveled for drainage, but there is wooded space for the dogs to run beyond that.
Our dog doors are the top of the line model from Pet Doors USA. They are double Plexiglas with a door that splits in the middle. This works well as even small puppies can push open one side, yet the biggest Dalmatian can go through the same door.
A roof was added over the puppy run after the first winter. The last year we were in Illinois, we also built a roof over the other six run. It had alternating clear and shaded panels and kept the weather, leaves, acorns and more out of the runs. It was an enormous help with snow. We then added a privacy fence beyond the sidewalk at the end of the run. It had a gate that opened into our large, wooded exercise pens. The photos show the roof in progress without the front enclosed and without the privacy fence.
We use the Kuranda beds because of their durability and ease of cleaning. Because the kennel is built on a concrete slab, double blankets are kept on the dog beds during the coldest weather. The hard rubber kennel flooring inside the pens also helps insulate.
In winter, both the Wires and Dals spend lots of extra time loose in the kennel with us as we work on the computer. They love playing in the snow and running through the woods, even in the coldest weather. In spring and summer, the dogs enjoy the shady coolness of their runs. While they still each get their house time, we find they bark less and seem more content in the kennel than they did when crated or in the downstairs pens. The big exercise yards are filled with ferns and tall trees with chipmunks and squirrels to chase. It's a good life for dogs and for us too.
Inside the main house, we had another dog door out of the kitchen, leading onto the screen porch. A second dog door opened from there to a large graveled, exercise area for the "house dogs." Well, actually to two different ex areas depending on what gates I opened. One of the gates also lead to the deck and there were gates off the deck that opened to two different large, wooded play areas.
Hmmmm.....I can hardly believe how much we did for those dogs.! :)
In 2004, we added a fenced agility area next to the barn with two small "holding runs" for dogs waiting to work. We start each young dog on the equipment to gain confidence and to just have fun.
If you are seriously interested in our puppies and would like to see the kennel and dogs, please call or drop us an email and we'll try to find a good time for your visit. Please keep in mind this is not a business but our home. All visits are by appointment only.