April 2018

Evergreen Pet Lodge: For the Love of Animals

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: 2645 PHOTOGRAPHY

Former New Yorkers, Jonathan and Claudine Vaughan, owners of Evergreen Pet Lodge on Hilton Head Island, were brought together 25 years ago by a dog named Frankie. Frankie was a rescue whose only affections were for Claudine. During a visit to Hilton Head Island, Frankie had a bit of trouble playing nice. Claudine reached out to Evergreen and tearfully delivered him to stay for the remainder of their vacation. “Jonathan put his arm around me and said everything was going to be okay,” Claudine said. And it was.

“It was love at first sight for me,” Jonathan said. The couple married in 1993, have two daughters, both currently attending College of Charleston, and have found a harmonious work-life balance as owners of Evergreen, where their clients walk on four legs, perk-up their ears when turning onto the business’s driveway, and wag and wiggle excitedly upon check-in.


Evergreen facilities have been scrupulously designed for comfort, safety, and cleanliness, with every surface carefully considered.

Growing up in a NYC third floor apartment, Jonathan kept a pet parakeet, Jimmie, but no matter how much he wished for it, a dog was not an option. “He is such an animal lover, but because of where they lived he was never able to have a dog,” Claudine said. Now, with a labradoodle and a cat at home and dozens of pets to care for every day at Evergreen, Jonathan gets sufficient licks and loves from all his four-legged friends.


Even feathered friends are welcome.

In college, Jonathan majored in sports management and came to Hilton Head Island to pursue a career in tennis, which, luckily for their customers, never came to be. “I ended up here, got promoted right away to manager, and it felt good,” he said. “I just never left.” Purchasing the business in 2015, the Vaughans jumped in with both paws to bring together their vision of one of the most thoughtful, safe, caring places for pets to come stay for day, a week, or longer.

The Evergreen facilities have been scrupulously designed for comfort, safety, and cleanliness, with every surface carefully considered. Selecting imported Italian porcelain tile for the flooring, pets are guaranteed non-abrasive surfaces to help avoid irritating paws and joints. “If our guests are not outside running around, they have their own individual indoor/outdoor runs, privacy walls, automatic feeders, heated tile floors, BOSE stereo 24/7—and that’s just Basic boarding,” Jonathan said.

Hilton Head Island visitors and locals are familiar with the range of accommodations and services available to the human set: an oceanfront estate, a golf course-view bungalow, a condo on the harbor. Equally important to the Vaughans and their guests are the accommodations and services available to the canine and feline sets. Like the finest hotels, the levels of services and lodging offered at Evergreen Pet Lodge include a variety of package options based on need and personality, including the Basic Package mentioned above, the Pampering Package, which ups the attention with a daily leash walk, brushing, and treats, and Luxury Suites. The Luxury Suite boarding experience begins with a private, furnished room with TV and music, three visits to the exercise yard and a leash walk, brushing, daily treats, and a complimentary bath on departure day after staying for a week or more.

Whether staying for the day or settling in for a longer visit, all guests at Evergreen are given plenty of opportunities to socialize in play groups in their 3,000-square-foot, agility-equipped, security-fenced exercise yard. “A lot of people ask for socialization,” Jonathan said. “There’s always lots of fun going on.” Visitors are welcomed during regular business hours for a little play or even a picnic.

“We have certain clients who request agility play,” Claudine said. “Tilly is dropped off every week for daycare and time on the agility course.” The well-being of every pet is given careful attention. From exercise, socialization, and awareness of individual personality traits, to the food provided.

Grain-free Earthborn pet food is the only brand the Vaughans choose to sell in their retail shop and is the only food used for their boarding clients, provided at no additional cost. “It’s very nutritionally dense but gentle on the GI [gastrointestinal] track, so there is minimal tummy upset,” Claudine said. Should there be specific diet or taste needs, pet parents are welcome to bring their pet’s own food.

The love of animals runs deep with the Evergreen staff. “Our staff sets us apart,” Jonathan said. “The relationship they have with the animals is amazing. They’re dog whisperers. When I took over here, everyone stayed. Some of our people have been here for 15 years. They’re just so good at what they do.”

Grooming services are also available. “Willie is an artist,” Jonathan said. Of course, baths are always available at Evergreen, but a session with Willie is nothing short of one of the finest grooming experiences in the area.


The Evergreen Pet Lodge family

The proximity of Dr. Curt Hennessey’s Plantation Animal Hospital veterinary practice, located right next door, provides additional peace of mind for Evergreen families. “Just like your kid can get hurt on the playground, things can happen, and it’s wonderful to have them right here,” Claudine said. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s office always has a presence nearby as well, with their tracking dogs being kenneled behind Hennessey’s practice. And a valued staff member and his family live right on-site providing another level of comfort in case of emergency.

Evergreen Pet Lodge has a relaxed, welcoming, energized vibe that comes from the combination of team members who love animals and owners who like what they do. “We’ve been very blessed here,” Jonathan said. Their support of the Hilton Head Human Association is an extension of that. “We support them year around. We feel like we want to help in any way we can.”

It seems Frankie’s questionable behavior started something rather remarkable. And everything has turned out better than okay.

Evergreen Pet Lodge is located at 105 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island. For more information about services for dogs and cats, please call (843) 681-8354 or visit evergreenpetlodgehhi.com.

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