Work is a doggie day-dream for Mark and Buffie Higley, owners and operators of the new Roverwood Ranch, a Leavenworth business that provides dog kenneling, boarding, grooming and day care.

Work is a doggie day-dream for Mark and Buffie Higley, owners and operators of the new Roverwood Ranch, a Leavenworth business that provides dog kenneling, boarding, grooming and day care.
Here, Higley talks to the Leavenworth Times about his new business geared toward taking care of man's best friend.

1. As lifelong dog lovers, how long have you been planning for your new boarding facility, Roverwood Ranch?
"Researching was vital and with research came working in different dog care facilities in the Kansas City metro area. My manager and I wanted exposure to all different types of dog-care facilities — see their daily operations, is the staff happy, are the dogs happy — and build upon what seemed to work well and what needed improvement.
"Our facility was built on safety and longevity — materials and products chosen have dog comfort and safety in mind. We spared no expense to make sure ranch guests' needs are met and their owners can feel confident in our services, staff, and facility. Above all, we wanted to build a facility where we would feel good about leaving our beloved, four-legged companions."

2. What is your personal philosophy about how best to care for people's pets when they are boarded in an unfamiliar environment?
"At Roverwood Ranch, we treat each dog guest as a member of our extended family. Every ranch hand pack employee has dogs and considers them as their four-legged kids, so we strive to provide the exact same loving care to each ranch guest.
"This hopefully will give peace-of-mind to owners while they are away from their beloved companions. We want to offer personalized care to each dog, so we designed the facility with that in mind. We can only house a small number of dogs for overnight stays and we maintain small play groups to make sure each dog receives the attention he/she deserves.
"When we have a new dog sign up for services, be that day play or overnight stays, we offer each dog a Howdy-Do Day, which is a free six-hour day of play. We want to get to know the dog and vice versa. We want to make sure we are a good fit for the dog and owner's needs before coming to play on a regular basis or staying for a long period of time while the owner is away.
"Knowing the dogs is vital because the more we know them and their personalities, the better we can serve them."

3. You offer a climate-controlled play space and an outside romping area with ranch hand pack members supervising play at all times. How does this indoor/outdoor play space facilitate a fun, interactive and good workout environment for the dogs?
"Having an outdoor play space was key for us. We want to provide each dog with the luxuries they have at home, be that lounging indoors or running around outside. We offer two play spaces, one for the little pawtners and one for the big pawtners.
"Dogs pick-and-choose what they would like to do while at the ranch. Some prefer to walk around and socialize on a calmer scale, while others love to wrestle and run with their pals on the soft, green turf outside.
"A ranch hand pack member provide supervision in the play areas and interacts with the ranch guests by petting, playing ball, talking to, and loving each of them. A busy, fun day at the ranch makes for a tired pup in the evening, which allows owners to kick back after a long work day and not worry about entertaining a hyper dog."

4. Webcams are one of the unique features of your boarding facility that allow pet owners to watch their canine partners from home, office, hotel, or by way of a smart phone. What other amenities does the facility provide to ensure comfort and safety for companion animals? Any plans for new amenities?
"Yes, our webcams allow owners to check on their lil' pawtners throughout the day. It is a great feature to offer and quite entertaining for owners to watch their fur-children interact with others.
"In addition to the web cams, we have a security system in place for the safety of our ranch guests as well as a climate-control system that alerts us if the temperature in the facility drops one degree.
"Each overnight ranch guest receives a sleeper suite with a comfortable, raised bed. When our ranch guests are taking a break from socializing, their sleeper suites provide a safe, relaxing spot for them. We tell owners to bring whatever will make their dog's stay more like home — favorite blankets, beds, toys and/or bones are put in sleeper suites. Happiness and safety are priorities at Roverwood Ranch."

5. What has been the most rewarding aspect so far of operating a boarding facility in the Leavenworth area and who have been some of your more memorable lodgers?
"Meeting the dogs and their owners of this community is most rewarding.
"Designing and building Roverwood Ranch was rewarding in itself as we could see our dream become reality, but when the dogs began to walk in for day play and overnight stays our hearts soared.
"We are in the dog-care business because we love dogs. Being around them gives us a warmth and happiness like no other. Each has a unique personality and their personalities make our days bright at the ranch.
"We have so many wonderful customers and ranch guests it is too difficult to name just a couple.
"We want to thank everyone who has supported us, and here's to many happy years ahead for Roverwood Ranch."
— Rimsie McConiga