Karen Tracy is finally taking steps to reopen Pazzazz Boarding Kennel.
Her thriving, successful boarding kennel that had produced the finest linage of Chow Chow dogs in the United States was destroyed by a propane gas explosion and fire nearly three years ago that has had far reaching effects on her, her business, her dogs and her clients and their owners.
While everyone remembers that heartbreaking, devastating day when 18 dogs died and countless more dogs were critically injured, she said that she is finally ready to reopen her kennel. Pazzazz Boarding Kennel is located at 459 Pohopoco Drive, Lehighton in Franklin Township. For additional information call 610-377-6837.
Presently she has room to board five dogs.
"I am building the new kennel in "baby steps," she said. "I am trying to open another area with room for 17 more dogs. I am doing the remodeling as I have the money."
Her new kennel has indoor and outdoor kennel space and the interior is tiled and tidy. It is heated with electric heat. Plus there are two outdoor play areas for the dogs.
Tracy said she found deals on windows and other construction supplies she also received great discounts from Marzens Feed and Hardware, Franklin Township and Palmerton Lumber for supplies to remodel the larger kennel space. In that space, she has designed a new grooming area where the dogs will be bathed, plus has found some new innovative materials that will make her kennel look nice and make it easy to keep clean.
"One of my former clients who purchased one of my Chow Chows came and put in the insulation for me at no cost," she said. "I can't thank these people enough. If I had the money, I would have had this area finished."
While she moved through the new section to show off some of the proposed features, Dave Palker, a friend, was busy working at the site.
"He has been donating his time with plumbing and electricity," said Tracy. "I can't thank people enough for helping me out, buying dog food and getting me through these trying times."
She said that she used to be able to board about 12 client dogs before the fire because approximately 20 of the dogs that had been housed in the kennel before the fire were her own dogs.
"I lost Possum in the fire," she said. "He was my oldest dog and my first Chow Chow."
She explained that her philosophy is, "You bring them into the world, you keep them until the end." She explains why she owns so many Chow Chows is because she loves them.
She is still deeply hurt by the loss of her dogs. "Many of the badly burned dogs were taken to Creature Comfort for emergency care of their burns. They were burned so bad, I couldn't identify them. Imagine that, I couldn't tell one dog from another because they were so badly burned. It was so hard."
She said that the dogs ultimately were identified by their chips.
"When they arrived at Creature Comfort, the chips were so hot they couldn't read them right away," she added.
Tracy said that she is striving to get the kennel back to its previous level of service and to continue her line of quality dogs.
"In the past 12 years, I have had one or more Chow Chow dogs listed each year as the top in the country, said Tracy. "I studied pedigrees and breeding. That is why I had good quality dogs, good tempered dogs. I succeeded in that."
She said that she was blessed because some of people who have purchased dogs from her in the past are helping her start over.
"They have allowed me to breed their dogs and I have the puppies," said. "These are people who had no interest in showing their own dogs, but they wanted to see me get the line back."
She said that one puppy turned a year old in August.
"I lost six generations," she said. "I am trying to rebuild the line. It's not the same exact line, but close."
She said another puppy is due in three weeks.
"It's a long process," she said. "but I can do only what I can do."
She said one of her dogs, Maddox, has earned Best of Breed at the Westminister Dog Show in 2011 and was named number one in the country for the past two years. Maddox has retired from active campaigning.