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Abbie Lake Kennels celebrates a decade of dog bliss
April 9, 2012
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Open house Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

DELANO, MN – In dog years, Abbie Lake Kennels in Delano has been open almost a lifetime, but for owner Jill Piechowski, 10 years is just the beginning.

“We’re very appreciative of all the support from our customers,” Piechowski said. “We have many who’ve been with us all 10 years.”

The public is welcome to attend an open house celebration at Abbie Lake Kennels (8875 Highway 12 in Delano) Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Free cookies, dog treats, coupons, door prizes, dog massages, and dog toenail trimming will be available.

The open house will also include low-cost spay/neuter services from Kindest Cut, in partnership with the Animal Humane Society.

Kindest Cut services are performed in a mobile surgical unit and are available to cats, dogs, and rabbits. Services are geared to pet owners with limited incomes who could not otherwise afford sterilization for their pet.

Surgeries are performed by licensed veterinarians who are skilled at small animal care, with fees ranging from $40 to $100, depending on the gender and species.

Abbie Lake Kennels
About 12 years ago, the Abbie Lake Kennels site belonged to the Animal Humane Society. When Piechowski and her husband, Todd, heard that the space was available, they decided it was a great location to start their own dog boarding business.

“We named it Abbie Lake Kennels because we live on Abbie Lake in Buffalo,” Piechowski said.

In addition to overnight stays, dogs also come to Abbie Lake Kennels for daycare and grooming.

“We recently added dog massage,” Piechowski added, explaining that the service is especially beneficial for dogs with high anxiety or medical issues.

Another new feature is cat boarding. Owners can drop off their cats at the kennel, where they will be taken to a private room at the nearby home of employee Kathe Schmitz.

“We feed them on the owners’ schedules, clean their litter boxes, and play with them,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz has been part of Abbie Lake Kennels since November of 2005.

“I grew up with poodles and Labs,” she said. “It’s just totally natural for me.”

Schmitz and Piechowski vividly remember the day they met.

“I had been driving by, and saw a ‘help wanted’ sign,” Schmitz said. Interested, she immediately turned around and got out of her car.

“She walked in and said, ‘I’ll make life easier for you,’” Piechowski recalled. “And, she’s done that ever since. She has been pivotal for our success.”

Abbie Lake Kennels has a handful of other part-time employees, as well, including two professional groomers.

Piechowski said customers feel comfortable having their pets at her facility because of the one-on-one attention.

“It depends a lot on the weather, but the dogs usually get out six to eight times a day,” she said. “They get a lot of playtime together.”

Dogs are divided into groups by size, age, playfulness, personality, and sometimes gender while they enjoy time outside in a fenced playground area.

Piechowski said she feels like a “grandma” for the dogs.

“I get to know all the different breeds – without having to take them all home,” she laughed.

According to Piechowski, people board their dogs for a variety of reasons, such as vacations, weddings, home remodeling, moving, selling a home, and more.

Sometimes the dogs only stay for half a day; other times they stay for months. Drop-off/pick-up times are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“People tell us that their dogs start wagging their tails before they get here,” Piechowski said.

Although dogs look forward to their time at Abbie Lake Kennels, they are always excited to see their owners again, Schmitz said.

“My most favorite part of the job is when I reunite them,” she said. “The owners are so excited, and when their dog sees them, the dog goes ‘Oh! I remember you!’”

To learn more about Abbie Lake Kennels, call (763) 972-2433 or go to www.abbielake.com.

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