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In 2007, Rebecca Blackburn and her husband were walking their Great Dane through Norton Commons, the Prospect, Kentucky neighborhood in which they live. There were very few commercial businesses within the community at the time, and as they strolled past the empty spaces, Rebecca thought about how great it would be if a dog groomer set up shop there. Suddenly, she had an epiphany — they should open a dog grooming business!

Over the years, their dog grooming facility evolved into two locations of The Pet Station Country Club, which is committed to enhancing pets’ lives with extensive grooming, training, doggie daycare, and boarding services. Meet the owner of The Pet Station Country Club and our inspiring new FACE of Louisville, Rebecca Blackburn!

Rebecca Blackburn of The Pet Station Country Club

Introducing this week’s FACE of Louisville, Rebecca Blackburn.

After you had the idea to open a dog grooming business during that fateful walk, how did you get started?

My brother joined us as a business partner the next day, and we signed him up for grooming school. While he was going through grooming school, we did research. Our dog went to every grooming facility in town to see what we liked and didn’t like. That’s how we came up with the open concept we have today. It allows owners to see what the experience is like and know that their dog is being cared for. While we were researching facilities and the whole pet care industry, we knew that we were going to have a boarding, training, grooming, and daycare facility one day. We knew all the things we would have, but our goal was to start with one department and get really good at it. We wanted to understand both the industry and how to be business owners before we expanded.

Two receptionists behind the desk at The Pet Station Country Club

The Pet Station Country Club boasts two locations — Murphy Lane and Vine Crest Avenue.

Now you have two full-service locations: Vine Crest and Murphy Lane. What makes The Pet Station Country Club different from other pet resorts?

We have indoor and outdoor play yards, turf, real grass, K-9 grass, and a splash park. We also have a very good structure setup. Other facilities focus on just trying to keep everyone calm, whereas we engage in play. We engage with the dogs, and then we give them rest. Dogs are like kids; when they have too much togetherness, it can make them irritable. So, when people apply to be in our daycare program, we get their dog scheduled for an evaluation. We ease the dogs in and see how they do with different groups and play styles. We have seven groups, so each dog is assigned to a group based on its play style and temperament. If they like fast play and a lot of contact, for example, they’d go into what we call the “Track Team,” which is a more fast-paced group. If they like minimal interaction and just like to mingle, they might go into “Shy Guys and Seniors,” which offers more low-level play and is not overstimulating. We make sure every dog goes into a group that fits their playstyle, so they enjoy their time here. We do such a thorough evaluation because we want to ensure every dog is placed in the right group, as each one offers different types of toys, treats, and other equipment.

Also, our Vine Crest location partners with Golden Retriever Rescue and Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND). They lease us the land in exchange for us taking care of the dogs that they rescue until they get adopted out. We also built a state-of-the-art facility for them to run their nonprofit business out of. It’s a cool experience for our team; it feels good to take part in a nonprofit. With our help, they’re able to adopt out more dogs than ever.

Group of dogs in pet resort lounge area

Each dog who attends The Pet Station Country Club is assigned to one of seven groups based on play style and temperament.

Dog playing in splash park at a Louisville pet resort

The pet resort even has a water park!

RELATED: Meet the Owner of Louisville’s First Dog Park Bar

What is your favorite thing about owning The Pet Station?

My business partners and I — including my husband, Paul Blackburn; my brother, Adam Barr; Scott Burnley; Neil Morgan; and Alex Tinker — had this vision for The Pet Station. We wanted to create a wonderful place for dogs, their owners, and our team members, so my favorite thing is to see our team come to work with so much passion. They’re having a good time while ensuring the dogs are safe, cared for, and having fun. Then there’s the trickle-down effect: When dogs are happy and well-cared-for, it brings the owners so much joy and peace of mind. It’s very fulfilling to see the vision come to life and know that my team of business partners was able to bring this kind of environment to the community.

What’s a lesser-known fact about The Pet Station?

We are a local, family-and-friend owned-and-operated small business! People often ask if we’re a franchise. We take it as a compliment because we believe in having structure and running things professionally, but it’s very much a community environment.

Large black dog getting bath at The Pet Station Country Club

Grooming is one of many services offered at The Pet Station Country Club. The business also provides boarding, training, and daycare.

Two dogs sitting on cot

Precious pups about at The Pet Station Country Club!

Three dogs standing on ramp

Are you envious of Rebecca’s job yet? With all of these cute pups, we certainly are!

RELATED: Meet Grace Hayba of “WDRB in the Morning”

What is the best advice you’ve ever given or received?

Let go and let God. As an entrepreneur, I sometimes try to control things a little too much. It is a great reminder to let go of the reins so tightly, control what you can — my thoughts, actions, and how I show up — and let the rest unfold as it’s supposed to. That has shown up many times in my life, and it’s always a good reminder to step back, breathe, and just do my best.

Aside from faith, family, and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

Pen and paper because I’m an old-school girl and love to write, podcasts, and our dog. Even just a dog — we couldn’t live without a dog in our family.

 

All photography courtesy of The Pet Station Country Club.

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