What do you do when you have to travel but your pet doesn’t do well in a boarding situation?
Well, if you’re Linda Burnsed, circa 2000, you make a list of all the problems encountered by your highly strung two year old Boxer, and you hit the road to find solutions.
“My initial thought was that ‘there had to be a better way.’ I had all these ideas I thought to be unique until my research revealed that those ideas were already a reality in other parts of the country. There were some very high-end kennels, primarily in resort areas, where the boarding experience was completely customized. I figured we could use a high-end facility here in Middle Tennessee and decided I couldn’t wait for someone else to get around to designing it!”
Call it a quest, call it an obsession … it became a passion:
“It took three years of research, including attendance at industry trade seminars and shows, meeting with veterinarians, architects specializing in animal hospitals and kennels, and weekend travels from coast to coast visiting other facilities, to design what I believe to be the ‘ideal facility.’ I saw some great facilities and met with experienced folks who generously shared their expertise and trial-and-error stories with me. I’ll always be grateful to Mr. Walter Morris and Ms. Joanne Morris, of Morris Animal Inn, a family owned facility in Morristown, New Jersey, who graciously provided me invaluable advice and direction. It was fun and it was exhausting, and it was really worth it in the end.”
Hundreds of Nashville pet owners would agree.
The property that would become The Farm at Natchez Trace was purchased in 2001. Ground breaking for the facility took place in the spring of 2003 with the grand opening of The Farm on February 13, 2004. Keeping only the original farmhouse, now Linda’s home, and the Barn, which would later be dog-proofed and become the centerpiece of the “Woof Club’s” indoor-outdoor all-season play area, the facility was custom-built over ten months.
Experts were consulted for both the canine and feline buildings, a healthy environment was made a priority, and no expense was spared: spacious suites were built with sound-proofing, piped-in music, and all-day movies; a fresh-air HVAC system was installed throughout; large grass playfields were prepared and surrounded with 6’ privacy fences and double entry gates; and a shady nature trail was created along the banks of the Little East Fork Creek which borders the property.
Linda saw her vision realized – and her problem solved:
“Bengal settled in well at The Farm. For the next two years, until her death in 2006, I never worried about leaving her behind when I left town. I took my first ‘guilt-free’ vacation in six years! I had two other dogs, Buddy & Scruffy, but Bengal was my barometer: if The Farm could make her happy, I knew we had a good shot with ANY dog or cat.”
The Farm welcomes all breeds, all ages and all temperaments of cats and dogs, but we will always reserve a special place in our hearts for the aged, the needy, the anxious and the recuperating; and we will always be a safety net for those pets who have found it difficult adapting to being away from home.
Savannah the boxer (left) and Jack the terrier mix (right), Linda’s current canine family.