Escaping the Ruff Life

Pet retreat helps furry family members escape the ruff life

By Cheyenne Simpson

For a pet, life is hard. They spend their days on high alert, protecting their families from the invisible dangers of roaming squirrels, dangling strings, lingering houseplants and chiming doorbells, even when it is just the TV. It’s a lonely, tireless and sometimes thankless job, but it doesn’t always have to be thanks to The Barkly Pet Retreat and Spa in Montgomery. From daycare to stay-cations to spa days, furry family members can enjoy a stress-free break that will make the worries of home disappear, giving them an escape from the ruff life.

The Barkly Pet Retreat and Spa’s seven-acre facility is located off of FM 2854, just west of Fishcreek thoroughfare in Montgomery. They provide boarding, grooming, daycare, training, group play and much more, for pets of all ages, sizes and breeds. With more than 7,000 square feet of indoor space, a beach entrance swimming pool and fenced dog park, they provide everything a pet and their parent could need and want.

“We’re animal lovers and pet parents ourselves so, we not only understand the needs and wants of our guests, but their parents too,” said The Barkly Pet Retreat and Spa’s General Manager, Liz Morgan “That’s why we take a very personal approach to our services and care.”

Their mission is to provide an enjoyable, relaxing and stress-free experience for all of their guests, which is why they offer their services separately. You can customize you pet’s care based on their individual needs and add services like snuggle time, daily walks, extra playtime and special treats.

“The pets that stay with us, no matter if it’s for a few hours or a few weeks, are like family and we want them to be as stress-free as possible.” Liz said. “It makes our job easier and their stay more enjoyable when they aren’t stressed.”

If your pet is taking a stay-cation, The Barkly has a variety of rooms that give each guest the privacy and comfort they need for a stress-free stay. Every room has an epoxy floor to help keep them cool, calming wall colors that promote relaxation, a raised bed for ultimate comfort, stainless steel bowls and access to The Barkly’s endless supply of treats, toys and chews. However, your pet is more than welcomed to bring their beds, toys and blankets, if they wish. They also offer a “play for the day” option, which helps your fur child, get use to the facility and staff before their stay.

In addition, The Barkly also has a 6-foot deep, doggy pool that’s open year around, weather permitting. With a beach entrance and basking shelf in the deep end, any and all pets can enjoy the luxury of fully supervised fun in the sun. To ensure the safety of each pet, Liz said they only allow eight to ten dogs in the pool at a time and group them with consideration to their behavior, swimming strength and whether they’re a first timer or seasoned pro.

“It’s really easy for a boarding facility to look and feel like a shelter, which is why we do everything we can to make it feel like a home away from home,” Liz said, adding that there is around the clock care to ensure safety, even after hours.

The Barkly also knows that routines are very important to their guests, which is why they follow a strict schedule to ensure no overnight guest is stressed by the unexpected. A sample of their schedule is as follows:

Starting around 6:00 a.m. guests are taken on a 10-15 minute walk outside. Following their walk, guests who have signed up for extra activities and services are taken to their respective appointments. Around noon, lunch is served followed by an afternoon walk and nap. Around 2:00 p.m. guests enjoy their remaining activities. Around 6:00 p.m. dinner is served followed by an evening walk and peaceful nights sleep.

“Being consistent in our care let’s guest know that they can trust and rely on us to take care of them,” Liz said. “Animals are creatures of habit so, when they have a routine they feel more comfortable.”

Parents can customize their pets schedule to match their needs and wants by adding services like, grooming, behavioral training and daycare, among many other options. Jake, who is a nine-year-old, Yellow Labrador Retriever and regular at The Barkly, always adds the daycare service to his overnight stay so he can make the most of his stay-cation.

“I couldn’t ask for them to be more professional. They take care of Jake as if he was their own,” exulted Jake’s mom, Gale Drummond. “I don’t worry about him when he’s there because I know they take good care of him.”

The Barkly’s daycare service provides activities and entertainment that will keep your pet’s paws moving and tails wagging. In fact, they will only be in their rooms during meals and bedtime. During daycare, guest will enjoy monitored group play at the outdoor dog park and attend splash camp at The Barkly’s in-ground swimming pool, which is a furry favorite, especially with Jake.

“I joke with them [The Barkly’s Staff], that Jake would rather be there than at home,” Jake’s mom said. “Sometimes I think he follows me around the house just waiting to see if he gets to go.”

Vocal, who is a six year old, American Fox Hound, goes to daycare five days a week while her mom, Clio Fergile, is at work. Clio said since putting Vocal into daycare 2 years ago, she has seen her turn into a social butterfly.

“On Monday mornings, she can’t wait to go, she is pulling at her leash to get out of the house and as soon as we walk into The Barkly she’s off to find her friends and boyfriend,” Clio said, adding that Vocal even made it to The Barkly’s brochure.

Clio also said one of the many things she loves about The Barkly is their personalization and attention to detail. One example that pointed out to her was the cubbies they use to store each guests belongings, which have the pets picture, important information and emergency contact.

“They took the time to take her picture, print it out and make a cubby just for her her. It’s the small things like that, that really stick out to me,” Clio expressed.

“We really pay attention to detail at check in to make sure we know what they need, whether that’s just a watchful eye, medication or extra love,” Liz explained.

The Barkly also works closely with the EVA Woodforest Veterinary Center, located next door, to make sure their pets have the best possible experience and their parents have peace of mind in case of an emergency; something Vocal and Clio have experienced first hand.

“One day at daycare Vocal fell in the pool and tore her dew claw. The Barkley immediately called me and told me what happened and that they were taking her to the vet,” Clio said. “As her mom, I naturally worry about her, but knowing that someone is watching out for her and truly cares about her, makes me feel so much better.”

The Barkly’s staff has years of experience in grooming, training and caring for all types of pets with compassion and safety in mind.

Group training classes are offered on a regular basis, in addition to, private training at the facility or your home and a board and train program. All training is guaranteed by veteran trainer, Brent Harris to help shape behavior with positive reinforcement and encourage favorable manners.

Their spa is opened seven days a week and can accommodate dogs of all sizes and ages, offering grooming, bathing, nail filing and more. The Barkley does require proof of vaccinations, such as Rabies, Distemper, Parvo and Bordatella, before any new pet can stay, train or get pampered at the spa.

Transportation to and from The Barkly is available to those pets within a 15-mile radius of the retreat.

For information about The Barkly and the services they offer, visit or call 936-447-2275.