Garth and Karen had spent a large part of their lives breeding and showing dogs as well as running a sled dog team with the Samoyed Club of Queensland for ten years. Garth and Karen bought their first Samoyed puppy in 1976 two weeks before their wedding, and picked him up when they came back from their honeymoon. A few months later, after training, they entered him into his first show where he won best baby puppy. A year later the same dog went on to take out Australian champion and continued to do so until his retirement. He was not alone either, as many of Garth and Karen’s puppies went on to win Australian Champion and the best in show awards.
The site at Samford was initially entirely bush with a dirt road when Karen and Garth built it. They then set out to build their home along with eight kennels that were built by Garth with the intention of looking after their own show dogs and breeding dogs.
Show dogs need a very particular level of special attention, and so the couple found they were doing such an excellent job with their dogs, that other people began asking them to look after their pets. In 1985 Garth and Karen decided to apply for a DA and kennel licence, and they went ahead and built the first kennel block and registered the business ‘Samford Boarding Kennels and Cattery’.
Garth and Karen threw themselves into this new adventure and looked after the animals with so much love and compassion that their kennels and cattery quickly became a success. As word spread and they gained more and more referrals, the couple spent the next decade expanding their site to welcome more pets. During this time, Garth and Karen also welcomed their children.
Kylie and Blake into the world. With the help of their parents, Victor and Beryl, the couple were running a very successful pet resort and raising a happy family.
Blake and sister Kylie grew up surrounded by animals, and since the time that they could walk, insisted on helping out with the cleaning, feeding, bathing and playing with pets.
“I vividly remember getting up every Christmas morning. We would all go down together and attend to our furry guests before coming up to the family home to gather and open our presents. It was a normal way of life for us, and no one questioned it. Pets always come first. As a kid, people always thought I was crazy because I constantly had a dog by my side, even in bed at night.”
By 1993, Karen and Garth could see a need for industry standards to be set and for better communication amongst operators to be established. They founded the Association of Pet Boarding and Grooming QLD, which is today known as the Association of Pet Boarding and Grooming (APBG). For many years, Karen and Garth would hold the roles of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
In 2000, Garth and Karen introduced the concept of luxury boarding for pets which was the first bedroom style accommodation for cats and dogs. This decision garnered huge amounts of attention from the media with most outlets calling them crazy or mad. However, the demand for this level of pet accommodation quickly became so high that they had to expand. They soon had pets being flown in from other states just to get a luxury room.
Next, the couple introduced a van service that offered a free pet pickup and delivery service to different vet locations around Brisbane. This service continues to run today and works in conjunction with over 50 vets who recommend Samford Pet Resort.
Garth and Karen’s son, Blake, came on board in 2003 as a kennel hand. Learning the ropes, Blake worked his way up through the various aspects of the business, completing several animal and business-related courses along the way. By 2006, Blake was managing the pet resort to allow his parents to take a step back from the business they had passionately built from the ground up becoming the Managing director in 2009. In October 2009 Karen and Garth purchased Northshore Pet Resort in Redcliffe which today is managed by daughter Kylie and son in law Colin.
Subsequently, Karen was elected as Director of the Pet Industry Association of Australia and sat on the board for three years, dedicating her time to developing the industry. What’s more, Blake has served many terms on different boards and with many associations, fervently working to maintain the integrity and standards of the pet industry. Most notably, Blake was elected as the PIAA director for boarding and training, Vice President of the Pet Industry Association of Australia and vice president of the APBG on a number of occasions.
During this time, Blake introduced many new ideas to Samford Pet Resort like the introduction of a digital service which allows owners to see and connect with their pets while on vacation- a concept which again sparked media interest. In 2009, blake founded and developed Pet Tech Pro, a software designed to manage the resort’s technical and unique workings. Today, the software has been purchased and is being used by many facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand.
In 2014, Blake married his long-time partner Caitlin. Caitlin is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist who works with children in both the private and public sectors. Since the birth of their daughter Elliot in 2016, Caitlin has been assisting Blake with the administrative side of the pet resort, and she recently gave birth to their son Augustus earlier this year. Blake, Caitlin, Elliot and Augustus all live on-site just as Blake has done for most of his life.
If you would like to learn more about the service we offer at Samford Pet Resort, get in touch with us today!