Countryside pet resort gives pups and cats pampered treatment

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Story and photo by Emily Winsauer
For Blount Today

Spacious room with patio has a terrific view, cable television, satellite radio, available spa treatments and a nearby wooded nature trail.

While this sounds like a five-star hotel, anyone who tried to book this room might find it a little cramped. They would be checking in to Friendsville’s Countryside Pet Resort.

The resort has a variety of amenities, including the deluxe dog runs, which also include heat and air conditioning, pet-cams so that owners can see streaming video of their pets online, and heated floors. The TVs in each of the deluxe suites are left on Animal Planet, or whatever channel the animal prefers. As in a hotel, the canine guests get their linens changed daily. The amenities for cats are just as impressive, with rooms in a separate wing of the facility overlooking a Koi pond. The entire facility features an air purifying system and sanitizing ultraviolet lighting.

Countryside Pet Resort is owned and operated by Jerry and Kay Perdue, who before relocating to East Tennessee
operated a similar business in Atlanta for 26 years. They decided to spend their retirement in the Smokies, but they began to get restless after several years and decided to get back into the pet-care business.

"We always wanted to build the ultimate kennel," says Jerry Perdue, "and we feel like we did that." Countryside has been open for under a month, and is already beginning to build a client base. The Perdues have a history of client loyalty, with clients traveling as many as 800 miles to board their pets. Some clients would even schedule their vacations around when the kennel had an opening.

According to Jerry Perdue, this is because they treat their clients’ pets as their own. "When they come to Countryside Pet Resort, their dog isn’t just put into a kennel and stored while their family goes on vacation, we think they enjoy themselves." And they should, with such comfortable accommodations, time and space to run and play outside, and personal attention from staff. There is a large park where dogs can roam freely, and each room in the cattery has a place for cats to climb as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.

As pet owners themselves, the Perdues understand that pets are a part of the family. They have owned and showed Irish Setters and Rottweillers for decades. At one point they owned the fifth-ranked dog in the country. In their many years in the business of pet care, the Purdues have cared for all kinds of dogs, from toy poodles to a 250 pound St. Bernard that liked to eat Milk Duds.

Owners go to great lengths to make sure that their animal is comfortable. The Perdues say one woman even brought a shrubbery for her English Sheepdog. Others send items from home, such as family clothing, or call and wish to speak to their pets. In explanation of such devotion, Jerry Perdue says, "Doesn’t make any difference how bad of a day you have - when you go home, that little puppy’s there wagging his tail."

In their Atlanta facility, the Purdues on occasion were asked to care for some more unusual pets, including a small monkey, a five-month-old cougar, and a pair of alcoholic macaws. The birds, native to Central and South America, were kept in a hotel near the bar, and guests repeatedly fed them bits of fruit from their alcoholic drinks. Over time, the birds became addicted, and the Purdues cared for them while they were being treated by a local vet. These years of experience, in addition to providing some good stories, also prepared the Purdues for every contingency. As a result, they are on-site 24 hours a day, and work closely with local veterinarians.

When each animal checks in, a medical history is taken, so that any medical issues can be handled by the animal’s own vet. Countryside Pet Resort also provides full grooming services, including baths with a variety of scented shampoos, nail care, teeth cleaning, and general grooming for cats as well as dogs. For more information and for rates, visit the Countryside Pet
Resort website at www.countryside-petresort.com, or call 865-995-1000.

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