Spoiled stays for special pets

2560 1600 In Good Company | Northern Rivers

Skye Park Pet Resort

104 Four Mile Ln, Clarenza

Visit Clarence Valley Northern Rivers-01
Spoiled stays for special pets

In 2014, a long-held aspiration finally came to fruition for Helen and Ian MacGregor when they purchased an existing pet boarding facility in bucolic Clarenza, with the dream of making it their own. They knew there would be challenges and a long road of toil ahead, but as dog lovers, it would be the best kind of work. 

Ian says, “We’re very lucky. We enjoy it, and people appreciate us. I don’t really think of it as a kennel, it’s more of a resort than anything. We even have a 5-paw restaurant,” he chuckles.

They changed the name to Skye Park Pet Resort (after their love for Skye Terriers, an ancient Scottish breed known for their loyalty and tenacity), and set about making it the best in the area. They streamlined processes, improved facilities and courted new customers on social media. Winning the 2018 People’s Choice Award at the Clarence Valley Business Awards is a testament to the way they operate. 

“It is our retirement, but it’s more than a full-time job”, Ian says. “It’s seven days a week, and during the holidays when we are at capacity (95 dogs and 15 cats), it’s all day long.” You can tell he loves it, though. 

Although Covid threw a spanner in the works for a few years, business is brisk again as travel picks right back up. They love having their ‘guests’ back. “The busiest we’ve ever been is in the last 12 months,” he says, but there are no plans to expand. They’re in their sweet spot and relish being able to provide extra attention to the boarders in the “geriatric ward” where oldies and the more fragile camp out in a special area behind the kitchen. 

Over the pandemic period, Skye Park remained open as an essential service for people needing to attend funerals or go to hospital. They also cared for the pets of essential workers. Job Keeper helped a bit, though they operated at a mere fraction of capacity. 

“I don’t really think of it as a kennel, it’s more of a resort than anything. We even have a 5-paw restaurant”

The bushfires, thankfully left them unscathed, though it was very concerning as the grounds are more like a wildlife refuge than anything. Someone was always on watch. Being out of a flood area meant they could take in the pets of locals who were in danger of a deluge.

From the start of November every year, bookings open for the busy holiday season that lasts from the beginning of December until the end of January. 

“We’ve had heaps of bookings today from locals,” Ian says. “We love to get the locals in, give them peace of mind because they support us during the year. We want to support them too.”

Helen’s extensive background in veterinary nursing and pet grooming, as well as both her and Ian’s history of being loving pet parents themselves makes a difference in the level of service here. For the safety of all dogs as well as staff, proof of vaccinations is required before ‘check-in.’ “We get everything from Great Danes to little chihuahuas here. We keep everyone safe and comfortable.” The most popular breed at the moment? Mini dachsies. 

“Ian and I place pet comfort as a top priority and feel that we are doing our bit to support best practice care and consideration for animals, and that fills our hearts with joy.” 

With 61 kennels and three large grassy exercise areas, all of the kennels are covered in shade cloth with a designated cosy sleeping area. A well-loved amenity is the complimentary clipping, grooming and warm hydrobath that is included with stays over a week or more, though these services are available anytime with an appointment, as are casual daycare stays. Cats are welcome too and enjoy a lovely clean lounging area for play or relaxation while they sun themselves in the breeze safely and securely.

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