The real poop: A dog-friendly B&B
The Paw House Inn caters to the unique needs of dogs and their owners
Owners Mitch Frankenberg and Jennifer Fredreck prepare breakfast.
(CNN) -- It's a vexing decision every dog owner must make: When going on vacation, do you board your dog at a kennel, leave it at home and hire a pet-sitter, or, gasp, dare to bring it with you?
Well, a Vermont bed and breakfast is trying to make that last option an easy and even fun one for dog lovers. Called "The Paw House Inn," this bed and breakfast specializes in hosting dogs and their two-legged owners.
"Whereas some places accept dogs or tolerate dogs, we cater to the unique needs of dog owners," said Mitch Frankenberg, co-owner of The Paw House with his wife, Jennifer Fredreck.
This couple opened their dog-centric bed and breakfast in 2001 in West Rutland, Vermont, near Killington. They fell in love with the area during ski vacations and weekends away from their New York home. But there was a catch: They owned dogs, large ones, which made travel difficult.
"We came up with this concept because we have big dogs, and it's difficult to travel with them," Frankenberg said. "We were really frustrated, because we'd find places that were pet friendly and we just were not satisfied with the service that we were receiving. And we thought what a great idea. There's got to be thousands, if not millions, of other dog owners who are experiencing the same problems we were."
There must be quite a few out there, because business has been brisk. A week after opening The Paw House, the couple and their new business were featured in a Boston Globe article, which they say helped get them off to a great start. Since then, business has grown steadily.
"Every year, we've had more guests than the year before. And we've had guests from almost every state in the country. We've had people drive to us from California and Texas and Kansas and Michigan," Frankenberg said.
The couple is hoping to open a network of "Paw Houses" across the United States.
"We studied the market. We studied our customers. We asked for our customers' feedback, and they've given us the feedback that we need to move on to the next phase in our business," Frankenberg said.
Guests at The Paw House are greeted with homemade cookies for their pets. Each dog has their own space in the Paw House's playhouse. And guest rooms come equipped with doggy beds.
To enjoy these amenities, guests at The Paw House have to follow a handful of house rules, such as making sure their dogs are vaccinated against communicable diseases and cleaning up their poop or other waste.
Rooms range in cost from around $150 to just over $200 per night.
Designed for dogs
The inn's layout and interior design were done with dogs in mind. The floors are wood, anything made of fabric has removable covers and is washable, knickknacks are rare, and there is a mudroom where dogs can be cleaned.
"When we opened up, we went through, took great measures to make sure that the inn was dog-proof," Fredreck said.
Both Fredreck and Frankenberg are new to the service industry. Before opening the Paw House, Fredreck was an attorney with the organized crime task force in New York City. Her husband, Frankenberg, worked in finance and technology for various New York firms.
They knew they were taking a big risk when they left relatively steady jobs to open their own business. But so far, they seem to be happy with the results.
"We have a tremendous quality of life," Fredreck said. "We do things together. We have a fantastic business. We meet people from all over the country."
Of course, the couple doesn't just provide lodging for other people and their dogs. They have a few of their own named Mario, Brooklyn and Shakespeare.
"This gave us an opportunity ... to really experience the joy that owning a dog brings to all kinds of families, all kinds of different income levels and all kinds of different socio-backgrounds," Frankenberg said. "It's a beautiful thing."
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