Katie Chapman grew up with a love for dogs, specifically terriers and fox hounds, a favorite of her dad’s. As a child, Chapman attended dog trials with her dad, then later competed with her own terriers in performance events. After high school, Chapman attended a grooming academy to become a pet stylist and opened her first salon in 2000. In 2002 Chapman accepted a sales position within the pet food industry, educating retailers and veterinarians about pet nutrition. Chapman loved this position, but after eleven years and two children she decided a travelling job wasn’t going to work.
In 2012, Chapman opened a grooming salon in Camlachie. Business grew steadily, and Chapman began looking for a larger property. “We purchased a fifty-acre farm specifically for the land and barn. We completely gutted and rebuilt the barn to meet our specific needs.” The Fox & Hound Canine Retreat (F&H), located at 2437 Michigan Line in Bright's Grove, opened officially January 2015 with only the grooming salon. Within the year, construction continued and improvements finalized with overnight suites, indoor and outdoor play areas, a training arena, and retail space. “I wanted to open a small boarding facility. It had to be something that would be good enough for my own dogs, which is the standard for everything we do.”
“We started doggy daycare for fun, but now it’s the biggest part of our business. We consider ourselves a dog entertainment facility.” The key to maintaining appropriate canine behaviors is to provide lots of space and enrichment activities. Chapman ensures that dogs of all sizes can enjoy their time at F&H. “We have separate areas for small dogs, puppies, medium-sized dogs, and an abundance of space for big dogs. We are exclusive to the social dog. Every dog must complete a temperament assessment to ensure this environment is suitable for them.”
The F&H currently offers doggy daycare, overnight accommodations, professional grooming, dock diving, agility training, puppy socials, natural pet foods, and workshops. With between 180-250 dogs each day, Chapman relies on her staff to keep everything running smoothly. “I’m always bragging about my staff. They memorize each dog’s name and character. They keep the dogs safe and pour their heart and soul into this. I couldn’t do it without them.” The F&H has three full-time stylists, 24 full-time handlers, four part-time handlers, and three managers.
In 2019 the F&H renovated their outdoor space by installing additional artificial turf, opened the new inground dog pool and added in five new private play yards for quieter dogs. Moving into 2020, Chapman hopes to offer more training programs to the F&H. Inspired by her dad, Chapman chose her business name, The Fox and Hound Canine Retreat, in appreciation of him. The support from her family, parents, Julie, the first member of the F&H, managers Kelly and Beth, all the dedicated handlers and the dog community, couldn’t be greater. “The best part of this business is getting to hang out with the dogs.”