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Full-service 'Dog Hotel' opens

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The newspaper article, depicting an animal-rescue mission, lay at the edge of Carol Kelly's desk as a tell-tale sign of her commitment to animals.

The classical music blaring from the speakers in her office, oddly conveyed a similar signal about Kelly, the founder and president of the local non-profit organization, Praying for Paws.

Kelly recently opened a pet-boarding facility in McDonough, known as The Paw Pad. It is located at 133 Jonesboro Road, and is also referred to as the "Dog Hotel."

Dogs at the facility get a healthy dose of classical music streaming all day throughout the facility. "It's been proven to calm the dogs. So, we play classical music," said Lynn Bourn, manager and obedience instructor at The Paw Pad.

Bourn said the boarding facility, which has a capacity of 46 animals, opened on Nov. 14, and has seen a significant flow of traffic since. She said the facility boarded more than 20 dogs during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We were pretty busy last week," said Brett Bays, the facility's canine caregiver. "We had a full house."

On Tuesday, Bays spent much of the day playing with Mojo, a 1-year-old pit bull, the facility's lone boarder, following a busy holiday weekend. "We're not your every-day boarding kennel," he said.

Bourn said the facility features environmentally friendly central air conditioning and heating, and includes solar panels and eco-friendly paint. It includes -- in some of its kennels -- television sets, private cabinets for toys, and web cams for pets' owners to check-up on them when they are away.

The animal-and environmentally-friendly components of the new facility are attributable to the preferences of the facility's owner and operator, Carol Kelly.

Kelly said she modeled the facility after what she knew and learned growing up from her father and grandfather. "Before people really started going green, my dad always taught me that that's the way we should do it," Kelly said. "He was a man beyond his time. And my grandfather was the kind of guy ... he would sit in the back yard and squirrels would come up to him and sit in his hands."

Kelly said she opened the Paw Pad, in hopes of facilitating and sustaining her first passion -- her non-profit, pet-rescue mission, Praying for Paws.

The non-profit organization, operating since 2005, seeks to rescue dogs from local animal shelters and provide them a temporary home until they can be adopted by local families.

"When I was running Praying for Paws Rescue Mission, things got expensive," she said. "I wanted to find a way to have a sustainable source of income for Praying for Paws."

Kelly said she believes there is an ever-growing need for nonprofits like hers, which take animals and attempt to place them in homes, as opposed to leaving them out to roams the streets. "There's such an overpopulation of animals in our state, and in the South," she said. "We need a lot more laws to help control those populations."

She said her organization rescues most of its pets from the local animal shelter, which has experienced an overpopulation, itself, of lost and unwanted strays.

"There are so many adoptable dogs that are being euthanized, because there is not enough space for them, and they didn't do anything wrong," Kelly said. "I started my organization [Praying for Paws] to save as many as I could."

She said about 95 percent, of the roughly 100 dogs she adopts out through Praying for Paws, are animals who come from the local animal shelter.

She currently has about 20 dogs in Praying for Paws, ready to be adopted. She said she plans to house the dogs in a wing of the Paw Pad facility to give visitors and current pet owners an opportunity to see what dogs are available for adoption.

She said the for-profit, dog-boarding facility, The Paw Pad, should help sustain her non-profit efforts, and place more animals in safe homes.

The Paw Pad, which is primarily a dog-and cat-boarding facility, offers various other services, including doggie daycare, obedience training, and grooming. The facility will also offer a home to Praying For Paws' 18-20 dogs.

Kelly describes herself as an impassioned advocate for animals, on a mission to rescue, and protect them.

"Animals take a supreme importance in my life," she said. "They are God's creatures and need to be protected."

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On the net:

The Paw Pad:

www.georgiapawpad.com