Hi, I am Ann and I have owned Advantage Pet Center for over 19 years. My ex-husband and I bought Advantage Pet Center as a “fixer-upper,” as it had been a kennel for over 50 years and was in serious need of modernization and restoration. We constructed two new state-of-the-art kennel buildings and completely rehabbed the three existing buildings.
I graduated from the University of Florida, where, as a student I worked at the UF veterinarian teaching hospital. After graduation, my career took me to Southern California and commercial real estate appraisal for 15 years. However, my passion was always animals, so dog training and show handling became my very serious avocation. I even ventured into Hollywood a bit when my beloved German Shepherd, Rio, was cast in the staring roll for an Alpo commercial (he played “Jack” the police dog).
My interests gradually evolved from “show dogs” to “rescue dogs.” Sometimes, my ex-husband and I would have as many as 10 foster dogs running around our home. While serving on the board of directors of the local humane society, I gained the experience and knowledge needed to successfully and competently operate a boarding kennel, grooming shop and doggie daycare facility.
About 20 years ago, I decided to turn animals into a new career. My Humane Society work inspired had inspired me to buy a boarding kennel. So, my ex-husband and I searched the entire sun-belt (from California to Florida) for that extra special kennel property. Finally, we found it. It was the homey, dilapidated, yet magical, Advantage Pet Center. We closed the sale in May 1997, and Advantage Pet Center has been my passion ever since!
As we searched the country, looking at boarding kennels. We saw many posh facilities that were set up just the way we humans would like. These kennels did not take into account that the needs and wants of dogs are significantly different from the needs and wants of people. Consequently, we saw many forlorn, sad-looking dogs in posh surroundings.
Then we happened upon Advantage Pet Center. It had an old Florida farm-like feel and was extremely run down. The chain-link was rusty, the concrete was cracked, the runs were outdoors with no air conditioning, and the dogs had beds made of old plastic barrels. And yet, the dogs all looked happy. They had bright shining faces and wagging tails. Instead of seeing sad dogs in posh surroundings, we were seeing happy dogs in decrepit surroundings. Why was this?
We analyzed this situation, and coupled with all my 20 years of dog extensive experience, we came up with the answers. Therefore, when we set about rehabbing and rebuilding Advantage Pet Center, we worked very hard to maintain the open farm-like characteristics that were making the dogs so happy.
It is my sincere hope that your pets will love coming here and spending time with us. We have designed all the doggie and kitty areas based upon the wants and needs of dogs and cats (which, by the way, are not the same as your human wants and needs), and we give them lots of attention and room to play.
I really do love this place with all my heart. I love the dogs, the staff, and the customers. I also love the old Florida charm that permeates throughout the property itself.
We worked very hard to maintain Advantage Pet Center’s comfortable, homey, old Florida feel, even while rebuilding and modernizing everything. Today, everything at Advantage Pet Center is essentially “state of the art, “with all the amenities demanded by todays chic and lucky (because they have you for a parent) dogs and cats.
However, it is my sincere hope that when you come to Advantage Pet Center, you will sense that you are in an historic Old Florida property, which has been loved and cherished by so many people and dogs for over 50 years. The personalized care, love and charm of Old Florida are still alive and well at Advantage Pet Center.
Nick joined the kennel eight years ago, thinking that is was going to be a part-time dog bathing job. However, his dog handling skills, love for dogs, and attention to detail soon had him hooked. After bathing dogs for about six months, he began training as a groomer.
Today, he is our number one groomer, an expert at his vocation, and has a huge client base. Kind, loving, and generous with his time; he is an all-around great guy.
Wendy is the “second mom” to our small dog overnight guests and daycare participants. She works exclusively with the little guys and she loves them as much as they love her.
She always goes the extra mile; hand feeds the picky eaters, gives extra cuddles to the scared pups, and has an “eagle’s eye” for potential health problems. She keeps the small dog daycare program running like a well-oiled machine. Wendy has worked with animals since her very first job as a teenager.
After taking a short time off from working to be a stay-at-home mom, she returned to her passion, working with animals. Wendy has been with Advantage Pet Center for eight years, and has been working with animals for 30 years.
We met Bruce while he was working at Lowe’s. We are very regular customers at Lowe’s because it takes a lot of maintenance to keep a property as large as Advantage Pet Center in tip-top shape. Bruce has a great love of animals and as a key senior staff member at Lowe’s; he was always going the extra mile to make sure we had the best products for our specific needs.
He wanted a part-time job at Advantage Pet Center, and we gladly took him on. Every morning, he is the first smiling face to greet the “Kennel A” dogs, and he cleans all their runs till they sparkle!
Lea came to us as a much-needed third groomer about six months ago. Our grooming shop is far too busy for just two groomers. She has had three years of previous grooming experience and we are very happy that she found her way to us. Lea is very particular about her work and does an excellent job.
Prior to taking up grooming, Lea had worked for two years at PetSmart. She is very good with both animals and people and we feel very fortunate to have her.