by Lorie Lewis Ham
As you have probably gathered, KRL has a deep love of pets of all shapes and sizes, and we also like to highlight local businesses. This week we chatted with Sheryl Wall, one of the owners of Natisa’s Boarding House, a local dog boarding house in Reedley, CA. Sheryl and Brian Wall own and run the business together.
KRL: When did you first open Natisa’s Boarding House?
Sheryl: We started the summer of 2012.
KRL: How did that come about?
Sheryl: We built a kennel on the side of our house for our Irish Setter puppy, Maiyah, but she quickly decided she was an inside dog so didn’t need it. We had friends who had a boarding business who helped us get started after they moved away. We didn’t want to start a business like theirs when they were still living here.
KRL: Why did you want to do this?
Sheryl: I love working with dogs and spending time with them. I love that I can work from home doing what I love and stay home with my children as well and homeschool them. I love my job, it’s fun and I get to help others have a safe place where they can leave their dogs. I have always been very particular about my own dogs and how they are cared for when I am on vacation; I wanted to be able to provide a place that would be more of a home setting for dogs to feel more at home while their owners were away.
KRL: What is the story behind the name?
Sheryl: Natisa was our Westie that we got for our one-year anniversary. Her full name is Mei Kumi Na Tisa meaning “May 19” (Our Anniversary) in Swahili. And we chose that name because Brian knew in Africa—during our Missions trip together—that he was going to marry me.
KRL: What is your background working with animals?
Sheryl: I became in love with dogs as a young child, and when my Grandma passed away when I was 14 years old, I wanted to be able to take care of her two Chihuahuas for her. So really I think it started with my Grandma. I started taking training classes with my Westie, Cosette, and was introduced to Agility, which I fell in love with, and in which I have been competing ever since. I took Agility, Obedience, and Rally classes with my dogs. And I have a large library of books mostly about dogs and training. I have trained my dogs in Agility, Obedience, Rally, Canine Freestyle, and tricks. I love learning about new training methods and enjoy working with my dogs every day. I teach dog training classes, private lessons, and I board. I also do therapy work with my dogs, trained my chicken Lorelai how to weave and come, and, although it’s harder, I like the challenge of training my cats.
KRL: What services do you offer?
Sheryl: We do dog boarding, day care, board and train, private training classes and teach classes as we have interest. I will even do virtual classes. We try to help meet the needs of owners and their dogs the best we can.
KRL: What are your facilities like?
Sheryl: We currently have four spacious, fully enclosed kennels outdoors and, in the summer, we have misters and fans as needed, and heaters for the cold winter days as needed. We play with each dog individually throughout the day in our large fully fenced yard. We crate indoor, smaller dogs when requested. We have boarded up to 10 dogs indoors and out at one time. All kennels and crates are sanitized between guests.
KRL: What do you feel makes your boarding house unique?
Sheryl: We provide a safe, at-home feel for our guests. The owners get to bring anything from home that makes their dog feel more at home with us. We cater to the needs of our guests and their owners. Have a request and if we can provide it, we will. For instance, some owners free feed, others want us to feed them twice a day, or some provide hot dogs (or other foods) from home, or ask we play fetch with their dog or give extra scratches behind their ears.
KRL: Do you have any special certificates or credentials for doing this?
Sheryl: I am a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). I do take classes and go to conferences to continue my education whenever possible.
KRL: How much ahead of time do people need to book a space for their pet?
Sheryl: It depends on how full we are. The day before is fine, or sometimes people book months in advance. The summer and holidays book up fast, so the sooner the better if you want to be sure you have a place to stay. We don’t book day-of in the mornings usually, but if it’s later in the day and have space we will.
KRL: What are the requirements for a pet to be boarded there and why do you require these things?
Sheryl: We require all dogs to be up to date on Rabies, Parvo Combo (DHLPP), Bordetella and the Canine Influenza shots (this is an initial two-series shot). We need the vaccinations ahead of time to be sure to hold your spot. We do this because we don’t want our guests to show up and find out they are not able to stay; I know that puts them in a tough situation. We have to have all these vaccinations because we want to ensure the health of all our guests. We want the dogs and owners to know we are a safe place to stay.
KRL: Where can they go to get the flu shot for their dogs if their vet doesn’t offer them?
Sheryl: The Tractor Supply has vet vaccination clinics on Saturdays, check with their schedule. You can also go to Kingsburg Vet and Sierra View vet in Fresno across from Arby’s.
KRL: Do you only board dogs?
Sheryl: Yes, we have had some requests for cats but we are just not set up to have cats, too, at this time so only dogs right now. We board ages four months and up. We feel young puppies are at risk of sickness if they stay before they have their shots.
KRL: Where can people find you online? How can they contact you?
Check out more pet stories in our Pet Perspective section and check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a pet Facebook group for KRL and we would love to have you join!