Meet Your Merchant: The Kennels offer comfortable accommodations for furry friends |

Meet Your Merchant: The Kennels offer comfortable accommodations for furry friends

Ranch manager and show dog handler Stuart McGraw with show dogs Pooh-Bear and Wampy at The Kennels on McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

The Kennels

Pet care and grooming facility

12736 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley


When it comes to job satisfaction, Cindy Wood and Stuart McGraw are pretty far up on the list — just ask them.

“This is my dream job,” said Wood, with a laugh. “Even if they fired me I’d come back; they’d have to physically remove me.”

“I love my work,” said McGraw. “It’s a bonus to get paid to do what I do.”

For animal lovers, it’s easy to see why the two employees at The Kennels in Grass Valley seem to enjoy each and every day.

As a professional show dog handler, the bulk of McGraw’s days on the sprawling 13-acre parcel off McCourtney Road include managing the grounds and the smooth fox terriers owned by landlords Leslie and Edward Boyes, who have been professional breeders for more than three decades.

In addition to breeding, the Boyeses — lifelong animal lovers — own The Kennels, which is located on the same Grass Valley property as their home and breeding grounds.

The Kennels provides a 3,000-square-foot climate-controlled boarding facility for dogs and cats. Each indoor/outdoor dog “suite” has elevated beds, plush blankets and a 30-foot outdoor run, much larger than most facilities, said Wood.

The “cattery,” which is located a comfortable distance from the dog suites, includes a “two-room, multi-level condo.”

For an additional charge of $4, dog owners can indulge their furry friend in a one-on-one “Pet and Play” session with one of the handlers, or a “Nature Walk” around the adjacent pond for $5.

During the summer months, small pools are set up on the grounds to keep canines cool.

“The whole goal is to keep dogs and cats happy,” said Wood, who has four dogs of her own. “I treat all the animals here as if they were mine — I’m very hands on. I spend a lot of time playing with them — it’s fun.”

Wood said it’s typical for The Kennels to board 30 or more dogs on any given weekend, yet the large facility is licensed for up to 100.

Some owners board more than one dog, and it’s not unusual for The Kennels to temporarily house up to 12 show dogs owned by one person.

Grooming is also available at The Kennels, performed by manager Jenna Orvos, who offers full-service grooming to all breeds, including “hand stripping” — the process of pulling the dead hair out of the coat of a non-shedding dog using the fingers — and “hand scissoring,” a more refined practice of grooming than using common clipper blades.

“There’s always a new dog or cat and something new everyday,” said McGraw. “We’re all animal people and we all love them. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at

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