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Four-legged friends have it made in shade at Aloha

PROCTORVILLE - Everyone needs a little pampering and tender loving care every now and then - even the four-legged.

The dart found the perfect spot for the four-legged

folks to relax - Aloha Pet Resort on State Route 243 in Proctorville.

Owner Cara Nelson said she chose to open the facility in January 2001 because she saw a need, and she loves animals.

"There was a need, we all need a place to go where people can take care of us," Nelson said.

Nelson is also the owner of the Pet Cemetery, which is adjacent to the resort. She opened the cemetery in September 1995.

"We take care of them from beginning to end," she said.

Nelson's love of pets is not a new thing. She has had animals since she was a little girl.

One of her pets, a white German shepherd named Ditto, eagerly offers visitors a paw when they take a seat in Nelson's office. She calls him the resident greeter. Ditto is massive in size, but very affectionate and he follows Nelson everywhere she goes - keeping an eye on things.

Also lurking the grounds is resident house cat, "Moe of the Jungle."

Nelson and her employees enjoy watching Moe hide in the tropical gardens in front of the resort - which is how he earned his name. Nelson said employees play "Where's Moe?" as they try to find him among the tropical flora.

"We try to make the gardens tropical like Hawaii," Nelson said as Moe ducks in and out behind the bushes.

"Moe's 10 and he's always lived here, he's the boss."

The pampering and love doesn't end with her animals. Guests of the pet resort can enjoy a variety of amenities. The 72-degree kennels - important this time of year - are one such luxury.

Some kennels also have doors to the outside, where it is fenced and covered, so they don't get too hot. They also have specialty suites with beds and television - so they can feel right at home.

"Everybody here really enjoys the pets or they wouldn't be here," she said.

Both cats and dogs get a lot of interaction a day, cats get to play and get cuddled and dogs are taken for a walk three times a day. Massages are also available.

The kennels are big enough for multiple dogs so if owners have more than one, they can stay together.

Nelson said that 75 percent of their dogs are repeat customers.

"You get attached to the ones that come here all the time," she said.

Cats can stay in "kitty condos" in the cattery which is separate from the dogs - and quiet. They also have their own play area with lots of places to explore.

The resort also offers grooming services and daycare from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with round trip transportation available.

Behind the pet resort is the pet cemetery complete with gardens.

Grave sites are decorated with flowers, and Nelson said that many people come in the evening to visit the gravesites of their pets. More than 400 pets are buried in the cemetery.

"Where we live in such a mobile society people choose the cemetery or cremation so that they can always be near their pets," she said.