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new showroom provides hounds’ hideaway: a home away from home for jonesboro’s pets
by Emily Merrell, photography by Melissa Donner

This holiday season, local pets can enjoy some vacation time right here in Jonesboro while their humans are out of town. The newly opened Hounds’ Hideaway offers dog and cat boarding, doggie daycare and grooming, including a DIY Dog Wash service.

Although the pet resort only opened its doors in Jonesboro in October of this year, owner and Jonesboro native Lacey Hawkins Vance has plenty of experience with keeping fur babies healthy and happy while their owners are away. In December 2015, she opened Hounds’ Hideaway in Conway after recognizing a need for quality pet boarding services.

“The idea for Hounds’ Hideaway initially started after I had a few bad boarding experiences of my own,” said Vance. “I traveled frequently for work and dreaded leaving town because options in the Conway area were so limited.

“Coincidentally, that same work travel led me to larger cities, where pet resorts are more common and doggie daycare was a part of all my coworkers’ weekly schedule. After visiting several, my husband and I started to talk about whether it could work in a smaller town like Conway, and from there we jumped into many months of research. … Our research eventually confirmed our hunch that Conway would be a good fit, and off we went.”

 

With roots in Northeast Arkansas, Vance says she had plans to add a location in Jonesboro before the Conway location had even opened. After Hounds’ Hideaway in Conway got off to a successful start, she put the plans in motion to open a Jonesboro location.

“After a solid initial response from Conway, we couldn’t come home without being asked when we’d put one here,” she said. “Jonesboro has several similarities to the Conway market that also make it an attractive place for this type of business, so we began seriously looking for property in August of 2016. We worked for six months looking at properties and just kept coming back to Congress Circle. We feel it’s a great place for business because it’s close to downtown and the bypass, but it still offers a quieter, more natural setting without a lot of traffic.”

Even with an ideal location and a knowledgeable owner, no doggie daycare would be complete without a passionate and dedicated manager. Vance found someone to fill this role perfectly – Hailey Knight. Although Knight was serving as executive director of the Downtown Jonesboro Association at the time, Vance quickly sold her on the idea of running Hounds’ Hideaway in Jonesboro.

“I honestly had never heard of dog daycare, even through my travels with previous roles,” said Knight. “I had to check it out, so I ventured down to Conway one day and saw the operation they had. It captured my attention immediately – that, and the hundred dogs that were waiting to be petted and cuddled. Once we sat down and she shared her vision with me, I was in.”

Knight says she will always be a downtowner, and the work she is doing with Hounds’ Hideaway is improving life for many Jonesboro citizens, which is something the Downtown Jonesboro Association always strives to achieve.

“Part of my role at DJA was to assist small business owners with setting up their business, something I always loved doing,” said Knight. “Now, being on the other side of the fence is definitely challenging, but I enjoy the work and the unique service we’re adding to our area.

“One of the goals within the Main Street realm was to focus on adding niche quality of life accents to your town to make it appealing to individuals from many different backgrounds. With Hounds’ Hideaway, we’re definitely achieving that goal.”

Hounds’ Hideaway in Jonesboro offers doggie daycare, overnight boarding for dogs and cats, and a grooming service, with plans to add behavior and obedience training in the future. The facility also includes a convenient DIY bathing area that pet owners can use for a fee.

“The DIY wash is easy to get hooked on,” said Vance. “We provide all the equipment – professional grade tub, shampoos, dryers, brushes, eye and ear cleaner, even aprons so you don’t get soaked – and the pet parents do the work. Then, we do all the cleanup afterwards. It’s perfect for anyone whose dog sheds a lot because it keeps the hair out of the tub at home, and the elevated tub makes it a lifesaver for anyone with a bad back.”

All Hounds Hideaway Pack Leaders are trained in pet CPR, first aid and head to tail wellness checks. They also attend dog behavior courses on a regular basis to strengthen their knowledge of dogs’ body languages and play styles. To make the time away from their pets a little easier, pet owners can see what their pets are doing at Hounds’ Hideaway as often as they like, with a regularly updated Snapchat account and Facebook group.

When asked if she had any advice for pet parents who might be anxious about boarding their four-legged family members, Vance offered comforting words of wisdom: “I always encourage nervous parents to try a day or two of doggie daycare before an overnight stay. This helps both parent and dog become familiar with our check-in and check-out process, allows us to get to know their dog – and vice versa, and gives us the opportunity to bring them into our pet parent community. Easing the human and furry jitters with a few play days makes for a super smooth transition to an overnight stay.

“We know that we’re taking care of someone’s best friend, so we’ve set ourselves up to have a high degree of accessibility and transparency so (pet) parents can worry less while they’re out of town, even if it’s just for the day. We give our pet parents many ways to get in touch with us even outside of lobby hours and are constantly letting parents in on what their pets are up to each day.”

Pet owners using Hounds’ Hideaway for doggie daycare often take to social media to share photos captured while at the pet resort, as well as snapshots of their pet sleeping at home following daycare. The term “hideawasted” has become a popular description for dogs that fall fast asleep at home following a day of playful activities at Hounds’ Hideaway.

Hounds’ Hideaway is located at 900 Congress Circle in Jonesboro. For more information on pricing, lobby hours and services, call (870) 938-0138, visit houndshideaway.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram @houndshideaway.