It doesn’t take long to find out that Pam Knowles mission in life is to make sure all the animals in Lanark County live in a better place. That’s why it was hard for me to figure out where to begin, because every aspect of her life has reduced me to tears while listening to her. Sometimes people don’t understand that saving one animal will not save the world, but for that one animal you do save, well, his life will change forever. For years Pam has rescued and shown unconditional love for those that didn’t have a home. She began with rescuing and fostering cats, and then was a licensed cruelty officer back in 1997 for 3 years. Some of the stories she told me makes me understand that each one of us needs to open our eyes. Sometimes unconditional love is as near as your local animal shelter.
I sat memorized while she told me how she met her husband Todd. Their love story had twists and turns like the Hallmark Channel. Together they opened Waggs ‘n Whiskers at their home at 11661 Hwy. 7, in 2008. It wasn’t easy though, as the beautiful and historic 5-1/2 acre dream property they wanted wasn’t for sale. She patiently waited for three years until it became available. Thanks to friend and local real estate agent Ralph Shaw they worked together to swing it financially. As they say the best things in life are rescued, and so was the perfect property to better the life of local canines.
Waggs’n Whiskers is now celebrating 7 years and over 95% of their business is built on client referrals. I guess the happy doggy sanctuary can best be described as a beautiful and spacious facility for pets and owners.Their doggy day care is open from 6 am- 6pm each day so your pet gets to be with people all day long and not locked up by themselves in the house. Pets have such short little lives and they seem to spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
They are in a kennel free environment with lots of playtime and by the end of the day your pets will be ready to crash on couches. That’s right, couches. They are also fed separately as Pam and Todd make meals a special bonding time. They even have AstroTurf to run on so your pet stays clean. Don’t worry about your pet’s nails either, as they can take care of that when your dog is tired and more relaxed.
Don’t just think you can drop off your dog. You must make an appointment first so everyone can get to know each other. Like me, Pam believes pets are family too. Central Bark and Wiggley Field are also popular destinations at Waggs’ n Whiskers. The privatized membership based dog park comes equipped with fire hydrants, poop bags and trash bins, and the cost is $20 a month or $150 for the whole year. The fenced-in fields are called: Wiggly Field for the small dogs, and Central Bark for the big. There are people who come faithfully every day, usually with groups of about 12 dogs at a time. There are no set hours, and there’s access seven days a week. There is a picnic and bench area, and a wading pool and agility equipment in the summer.
Pam still works closely with other local rescuers Shelly Dickie and Mel’s Farm but she has an ultimate goal. She wants to have a foundation to support spay and neutering. Ottawa has a low cost program but Lanark County does not. If you think that’s easy to fix you had better figure out you are going to have miles of red tape to crawl through before you get to the end. As she says, there is no quick fix or band aid to this whole issue.
I may not be perfect but my dog loves me. A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, and if you give an animal your heart they will give you back theirs.That’s the way Pam and Todd run Waggs’n Whiskers-not not only do they give back to the animals that don’t have love and commitment, but they also know that a life without a pet is a life diminished.