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For many people, their pets are more than just beings they happen to feed and share a home with; they’re part of the family. These family members can’t always come along during long vacations though, so many owners turn to a kennel service. In Flagstaff, Kingsmark Kennels is a community favorite.

Kingsmark Kennels has been family-owned since 1962 when COO Shannon Gottschammer’s father opened it to breed and show Border Collies. Gottschammer took over the company in 2005 and co-owns it with her husband Rich, saying they’ve been able to modernize the facility and services offered since then.

Executive suites look like ritzy hotel rooms with tiled floors and walls, flat screen TVs turned to Animal Planet or DogTV, and personal courtyards. Kingmark also has their own in-house grooming service, Ruff N’ Cuts, to further pamper the pooches while they’re away from home.

“It actually became so popular that we had to open a new location just for the grooming,” Gottschammer says.

Salon manager Cindy Wallace has been a groomer for over 29 years, the last three of which have been spent with Kingsmark. She says her favorite part of working with animals is “taking them from being scroungy to exactly what [the owners] want, 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.”

When owners are trying to decide between hiring a pet sitter or boarding their dog while they take a trip, Gottschammer says it all comes down to reliability.

“We’re not going anywhere and sometimes pet sitters’ plans change,” she says, whereas with a boarding facility, “you know that [your pet is] going to be in a safe, stimulating environment where they get activities and continual love.”

With a ratio of one staff member per 15 animals, and workers on hand 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, owners can have peace of mind knowing there will be a trained professional ensuring their dog is happy and healthy at all times. Each staff member is certified in pet CPR and first aid, as well as canine body language.

The kennel offers a variety of activities for dogs like agility courses, soccer, tug-of-war, pool parties in the summer and they also provide gourmet treats made by Bosco and Roxy’s Inc. with human-grade ingredients. The most popular activity for customers though is the Romp N’ Play Doggy Day Care, with an average of 50 dogs enrolled each day to socialize with others and use up their restless energy.

“They love it when their dogs come home exhausted,” Gottschammer says.

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