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The Pets Hotel Story: How a Passion for Pets Became a Labour of Love

The past few months we've been delighted to bring you, our loyal customers a whole heap of practical tips and advice to keep your furry friends in good shape, especially as Victoria has endured many long days under lockdown. From delicious doggy diets, to strange dog behaviours to keep an eye on and pet adoption 101, we hope you and your VIP (very important pets) are safe and well. This month, we're briefly turning the spotlight on ourselves, to give you some background on the story behind The Pets Hotel and Country Club. So, get cosy with your furry friend(s) by your side, as we sit down for a Q&A chat with the women behind it all – The Pets Hotel Founder and Managing Director Yvonne Hill!

Yvonne Hill  Family

Q: How did The Pets Hotel come to be?

Yvonne Hill – "My husband Alan and I have always had a love of dogs. We were Rottweiler breeders and every week we'd go to either a dog show or an obedience trial. One of our dogs ruptured her cruitiate ligament and the Vet advised us to swim her. That gave us the idea to open a dog swimming pool. So, we left our "day" jobs – me at the ATO (Australian Tax Office) and Alan his industrial Chemist role - to open K9 Swim N Gym in (1994). From there we purchased what is now The Pets Hotel Country Club in (1996).

We had a wonderful lifestyle bringing up our 2 daughters at this kennel, surrounded by many cats and dogs. Our best friends Dennis and Vicki Cleghorn saw how wonderful our lifestyle was, so they also purchased a kennel themselves!

We then talked about how many kennels were being closed down due to Melbourne's growing urban sprawl and researched together. We also went to the United States, to see how indoor facilities worked there and started a passion project to open an indoor kennel that was more accessible to the people of Melbourne. This is how The Pets Hotel was born, formally opening its doors to our wonderful furry friends in December 2010!"


Q: What are some of its major milestones over the years? 

Yvonne Hill – "Founding and managing the business has been a real labour of love for Alan, myself and the family over the past 24 years, driven by our shared passion for all things pets. Here's some of the top highlights during that time:

  • Purchasing The Pets Hotel Country Club and spending the past 24 years there (living on site at Elcho Park, Lara) with our 2 daughters at the kennel – this was the milestone that started it all.
  • After 7 years of research, legal battles, and financial battles finally, opening the doors of The Pets Hotel in Port Melbourne in December 2010. It's also the only boarding kennel in Australia where you can watch your pets play via webcam. Our aim was to ensure clients felt secure in the knowledge that we are the most transparent pet facility in Australia.
  • Working with our adult children and best friends across both sites and growing the business together.
  • Seeing our daughter, son-in-law and first grandchild continue the family tradition and establish a wonderful life for themselves at The Pets Hotel Country Club.
  • Hopefully getting through COVID-19 (fingers-crossed)!!"

Q: What are your connections to the local community? 

Yvonne Hill – "Pets is proud to have built strong and enduring connections with the communities we serve in both Port Melbourne and Lara. This includes:

  • Charities – Geelong Animal Welfare Society, Lort Smith, RSPCA, Geelong Animal Rescue, Bali Pet Crusaders, Breast Cancer
  • Local Sports – Kristy Harris (Australian amateur boxer), Corio & Moorabool Pony Club, Westcoast Adult Riding Club, Geelong Horse Trails, Geelong Supercats
  • Other Sports – AFLW Carlton Player sponsor, Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship & Mentor Program.
  • Local Schools – Albert Park Primary School, Bannockburn Primary School, Box Hill TAFE, Gforce Geelong School Based Apprenticeship Program, GoodStart Early Learning Lara, Lara High School, Lara Lake Primary School, Lara Primary School, St Anthony's Primary School, The Gordon TAFE".

"We love our jobs because we love pets. When we are not with our client’s pets, we are surrounded by our own and we couldn’t be happier"

- Yvonne Hill

Q: What are your plans for the future?

Yvonne Hill – "In keeping with our history of boarding kennel innovation, we are building the first doggy splash pad in Australia, which will also include an adventure park! We’re also investing in our online customer portal, to allow clients to book directly from their computers and integrating services between The Pets Hotel and The Pets Hotel Country Club. This will offer them an even wider selection of pricing, choices and services, and minimise the need for extended face to face contact in a post COVID-19 environment".

Q: Last but not least, what do pets mean to you?

Yvonne Hill – "Pets have been one of the most important parts of our families lives for years. They have given us so much joy and taught our children so much about love, responsibility and respect. I honestly couldn’t imagine our lives without pets. They give us unconditional love and are with us no matter what we are doing or how we are feeling. They are a constant in a world of uncertainty. We talk to them, let them jump on our beds and couches (with permission of course : ) and they’re always considered in any family decision. But they are still treated with respect and true to their canine and feline breeding, because treating them like babies is detrimental to their health and wellbeing. We love our jobs because we love pets. When we are not with our client’s pets, we are surrounded by our own and we couldn’t be happier!!"

You can also read past profiles on Yvonne and the business in this 2012 article about the Telstra Business Awards and this 2013 case study by Australia Post.

Despite the second lockdown in Melbourne, The Pets Hotel is open for business as usual for those who need our Doggy Daycare and boarding services. Meanwhile, The Pets Hotel Country Club in Lara is outside the lockdown zone where life is almost back to normal. Keen to learn more about us and our services? Contact our friendly team on (03) 9646 3696 and (03) 5282 1286!

About Us

After years of research in Australia and the USA, The Pets Hotel is custom designed for your pet’s health, safety and comfort, all in a fun-filled environment - which exceeds the industry Code of Practice.
The owners of The Pets Hotel have 35 years experience in the Pet industry.

The Pets Hotel is the culmination of this experience.

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  • Great place for your pets. Highly recommend it to anyone. Climate controlled. No windy,cold or boiling hot tin sheds. Fab facility.

    Nicole W
  • Alma absolutely loved her day there she didn't want to leave. The staff are so lovely & friendly. Alma smelt so nice for days after her bath there.

    Joanne B
  • Best pet boarding facility in Melbourne. Worth every cent. Exceptional customer service and care for your pet.

    Brig S
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Contact Information
Phone: (03) 9646 3696
Fax: (03) 9646 3695

Monday - Friday
7am-12pm & 3.00pm-6.30pm
Public Holidays

Address: 7 Phillip Court
Port Melbourne. Vic 3207