The 'hubby' Keith here. I still have a day job, but you may see me once in a while moving snow or on the back of a riding mower. I wrote this for my wife since she is a bit humble when it comes to speaking about herself.
Some of you might remember, Donna worked at Shores Kennels starting in 2001. Before that she had a 'normal' 9-5 job that didn't seem to suit her...
It wasn't long after we got married that she found the first addition to our family, an adorable puppy which we called 'Ammo'. We had to travel close to an hour to a pet store on the other side of Detroit, which I wasn't happy about since I worked a lot of hours at the time. But she had an instinct about the ad in the paper and her instincts were correct (as often is the case in regards to our furry friends).
He was a German Shepherd mix with floppy ears, but otherwise looked pure shepherd. Ammo was probably the beginning of the path that led Donna here.
He was highly intelligent and Donna recognized he would need training or he could be a "problem child". She enrolled in obedience classes which led to agility training and flyball where we made many "dog people" friends. We acquired three more family members in the next couple of years and all were taken to classes as well. They were all a larger breed: 'Bully' - a pitbull/lab mix (we think); 'Cinnamon' (my baby) - a chocolate lab; and 'Koani' - a pure Husky we 'rescued' from Donna's mother. Then she got 'Raider' - a high energy Border-collie. He was very train-able and became phenomenal at flyball and obedience. They were a bit much for our first house, but Donna kept things in order. It was apparent then she was meant to be a pack leader.
We never found the time to take a regular vacation in the first few years together and later on because of having four large dogs. Our only getaways were usually to weekend flyball meets where we camped with the team. We had a hard time finding a friend or relative who could house/dog sit for us and an even harder time (emotionally) leaving them at a boarding facility. Donna finally broke down and found a place she felt semi-comfortable with. We were not satisfied with the care of our babies however, and I figured at that time we would never go on vacation again! Of course neither of us liked that idea. The next year (much to my surprise) she found a place to entrust our 'kids' to: Shores Kennels. We were very pleased and left our dogs there the next few years until we bought a cottage up north and we usually took our clan with us.
...Donna worked at a couple of credit unions the first years we were together. I could tell she was never fulfilled in this career choice, even though she advanced her position at both places. I think it was after the second time we brought our guys to Shores, she started hinting about a possible career change. Gina Vesco owned Shores kennels at the time and she and Donna seemed to hit it off. Gina had done a great job with our 'kids' and had a great staff that loved them (and all the guests). I wanted Donna to be happy, so even though it was less income for us, she made the move.
Donna was very happy at shores which pleased me as well. Gina bred Cocker Spaniels at that time and Donna became smitten with them and started her own breeding program: Aurora Mist Cockers. It wasn't long before she became manager and her and Gina started talking about a live in manager position. We never worked out the details however, and a couple of years later I had a job offer we couldn't pass on. We ended up moving to the west side of the state. Donna worked for a couple of other boarding facilities including a big "chain" kennel which she also became manager, but she wasn't as happy as she was at Shores. She still kept in touch with Gina though, and came back to run Shores a couple times a year when Gina would go on vacation.
Gina approached us late in 2011 about purchasing the kennel and the rest as they say "is history".
I truly believe this is what Donna was meant to do and I think once you meet her, you will agree.
We would like to thank Gina for entrusting us with her 25 plus year endeavor and the terrific job she did making this place one of the finest boarding facilities around. We will strive to continue and improve on Shores Kennels excellence.
Thank you to all the clients, past and present, who help make Donna's dream, a reality.