December 2015

Southpaw Pet Resort: Canine care and keeping in Lowcountry Luxury

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: John Brackett

Like a luxurious spa where guests are pampered, well-fed, and provided with recreation and a customized retreat experience, the clients at Southpaw Pet Resort have their own Lowcountry get-away on Hilton Head Island, where owners Stuart and Brecken Campagna and their team aspire to create a haven away from home for the canine set. With a total of 30 rooms, 20 for boarding and 10 for daycare, the care and keeping of the family dogs, whether for a day, a weekend, or longer, is a labor of love, a product of experience, and the result of a passion for keeping their charges happy, safe, and well-cared for. The health and safety of their guests are a priority at Southpaw Pet Resort, and it all begins with the design and operation of the facilities. “We have 30 spaces, which is very small compared to other facilities,” Stuarts said. “It’s our job to keep up with every aspect of caring for these dogs. With 30 rooms we can do that.”

Setting their standards high, the owners spent a great deal of time working in the industry and conducting research to ensure every aspect of the resort was exceptional. “We had an in-home pet sitting business. A lot of the ideas we incorporated at Southpaw were from clients who told us about their experiences, and why they weren’t using other kennels,” Stuart said. The Campagnas also visited several pet care facilities across the country, some with excellent reputations and some without, learning what to do and what not to do.

With over 17,000 square feet of specially designed K9Grass by ForeverLawn, dogs have clean, expansive yards in which to run and play. The fibers in the Forever Lawn materials are designed to rinse clean and have antimicrobial protection, helping to eliminate germs. “We laid the ForeverLawn grass right down on the ground,” Brecken said, giving both the indoor and outdoor areas a nature pitch and roll, so that it feels like normal ground under the feet.

The pet’s health and well-being is closely monitored, beginning with the profile collected upon the first reservation, and continues throughout, and with every subsequent visit. Proof of distemper and rabies vaccinations is required, along with recommended flea, tick, and heartworm treatments. “We will call the vet’s office and get a copy of their records. Then we follow-up if it’s a returning client and vaccines are expired; a service we are happy to provide for the owner,” Brecken said.


The Southpaw Team with their furry guests (from left to right): Sarah York, Katie Pronko, Charlie Hughes, Stuart Campagna, Brecken Campagna, Carly Sheppard, Colleen Shumaker, Melissa McNeely, Candice Kyzer and Kara Kamperman

The exterior of Southpaw Pet Resort, located oat 10 Fish Haul Road on Hilton Head Island.

With over 17,000 square feet of specially designed K9Grass by ForeverLawn, dogs have clean, expansive yards in which to run and play. In our opinion, a very nice touch!

“We also recommend vaccinating for Bordatella,” Stuart said. The vaccine is much like the flu shot for humans. “There are so many strains. The industry sees what strains are most likely going around, and tries to have the right vaccine for that time period,” Stuart said. “Dogs who come here are asked to have the vaccine, and if they choose not to, then the owner must sign a waiver stating they understand the concerns.”

Each pet has a profile, kept at the door of their boarding room or daycare cottage, that is referenced throughout their visit regarding diet requirements, medications, allergies, or any particular needs or special instructions. If Fritzie can’t sleep without her yellow fuzzy blanket, or Charlie requires his favorite stuffed buddy, these necessities will be as important to the Southpaw team as they are to their four-legged charges.

Upon arrival, like chocolates on your pillow at the Ritz Carlton, every pet finds a freshly cleaned room with a welcome biscuit lovingly placed on the bed (of course, omitted for dogs with allergies). Music floats throughout the facility, and movies are played for pets who appreciate the comforting effects of home theater. Play is scheduled throughout the day, along with periods for cooling down and rest. “They’re like little kids; you don’t want them to get over-stimulated,” Brecken said. “They go out and play and have fun with their group, then they come in and rest for about 30 to 45 minutes, then they’re back out into another rotation.”

The boarding rooms are outfitted with specially-designed storm shutter doors. Operated from inside and only by staff members; the Campagnas along with their contractor, created these one-of-a-kind doors used by the dogs to enter and exit the play yards. The safety features alone are 100 percent for the benefit of the pets, along with allowing the exchange of fresh air throughout the climate-controlled rooms, creating a healthy, natural environment.

In addition to the facility being fresh, clean, and filled with natural light, safety is a high priority throughout the space. Southpaw is constructed with steel beams and concrete blocks, surrounded by fire retardant insulation and construction materials. Cameras are a part of the monitoring of the guests as well as visitors to the property. Any time of day, any day of the week, live video of the facility is available to the general public or to Southpaw clients on their website. Three boarding rooms are equipped with live webcams, password accessible to the pet owners only, allowing check-in on their four-legged family member 24/7.

At Southpaw it truly takes a village to make it all happen. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without our staff. They’re wonderful and we feel very fortunate,” Stuart said.
“Everybody who works here is like a little family. They have each other’s backs. They even communicate outside of work, passing along dog updates, messages, notes, and information about special behaviors or toy issues. Nobody here says, ‘that’s not my job,’” Brecken said.

With general manager Candice Kyzer responsible for the day-to-day operations, the Campagnas are able to focus on getting better and growing the family. “The dogs and the owners that come here become a part of our extended family, and we really do love these dogs like they’re our own,” Brecken said.

One piece of advice: call as early as possible for reservations. Southpaw Pet Resort is the place to be, and space is filling up fast. 

Located at 10 Fish Haul Road, Hilton Head Island, for information please call (843) 342-7200 or visit sphhi.com.

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