dog hotel

Groomers following COVID-19 protocol while working at Mar Mel Inn.

It is not easy to find reliable care for loved ones. Dana Crompton interviewed several different boarding facilities before she found a place where she could board her beloved Bassador (Basset Hound/Labrador) pup.

“I liked the idea of a Bed and Breakfast for pets,” Crompton said. “When I visited Mar Mel Inn, everyone was welcoming and attentive. It felt really comfortable and safe.”

From the time her dog was four months old until the last month of his life, Crompton took him to the Mar Mel Inn, at 1374 Gladys Avenue. Her current pups go in whenever she knows she will have a long day at work.

“It’s like family there,” Crompton said. “They take great care of my dogs and they come home happy and clean.”

The Mar Mel Inn was started by Mary Melissa Clark in 1937. John Sanders purchased the business in 1990. According to Sanders, it is the oldest and largest dog and cat kennel in Long Beach.

During the COVID-19 closures, the Mar Mel Inn was open as an essential business, since working clients still needed a safe place for their pets to stay.

“We had one nurse working really long hours at the hospital,” Sanders said. “Sometimes he had to leave his dog here all week.”

Like all businesses, the Mar Mel Inn has adjusted its procedures to comply with the new CDC regulations. Workers now maintain social distance and wear masks and the entire facility is thoroughly cleaned twice a day.

“With many people working from home, things were slower for a while,” said Mar Mel Inn Manager Rosalinda Torres. “We took the opportunity to do some maintenance work and a heavy, deep cleaning. It has always been really clean here, but now it’s the cleanest it has ever been.”

Sanders said the Mar Mel Inn hosted 12 dogs over Memorial Day Weekend. Usually, 45 to 50 dogs stay at the site for the May holiday.

Although boarding business has been down, the grooming department has been busier than ever. With most grooming sites closed, old and new customers have been bringing pets to the Mar Mel Inn.

“A professional grooming is completely different from a home bath,” Sanders said. “Dogs come in for a wash, blow-dry, brush, and trim and they leave looking brand new, as clean as a whistle.”

Sanders and Torres are proud of their grooming facilities, but their boarding work really brings them joy.

“Everyone here loves animals,” Sanders said. “We follow a routine that works well for dogs. They have supervised play time twice a day and they nap in separate kennels. Dogs like running around and being together, but they also like having their own space.”

“It’s so fun to watch them play,” Torres said. “Their satisfaction soothes my soul and lifts my spirit. We really feel a strong connection to our customers and their pets.”

To learn more about the Mar Mel Inn, 1374 Gladys Avenue or go to www.marmelinn.com.

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