When Christine and Frank Goeyvaerts opened Bridget’s Pet Resort in Colleyville a little over a year ago, they aimed to do more than earn a living. They wanted to help others earn a living, too.
They make it a priority to hire people with autism. They work with the nonprofit North Texas Special Needs Assistance Program to find potential staffers. Christine said her first employee was her son Frankie, who was diagnosed with autism as a child.
“The closer he got to graduating [high school], the more concerned we became with the next step,” she said.
It helped that Christine and her husband had always wanted to run their own business, something they had never done before.
That and the idea that they could provide Frankie with a stable job led them to leave their home in California and open Bridget’s Pet Resort, which is named after the family’s cairn terrier. The 6,000-square-foot facility offers day care and boarding services for dogs and includes yard space, play time, food, baths and even television to its four-legged clientele.
Dogs are primarily grouped based on personalities during play time, Christine said. Dogs who are more docile spend time in the “zen garden,” while bigger and more high-energy dogs play in another area.
Christine said the family chose the pet business because she had some experience working with animals as a vet technician years ago.
“That and because we felt that it was the best fit for people with disabilities, especially cognitive disabilities,” she said. “We were in that position where we could go for it. … This was a huge leap of faith.”
The business quickly caught the attention of Michael Grayson, owner of Southlake Classic Pet Retreat. He began referring overflow business to Bridget’s—a huge boon, Christine said.
“I refer to Bridget’s because I’ve gotten to know them,” Grayson said. “I believe in the way that they care for their dogs, and I love their story.”
All five regular employees are autistic, Christine said. They love caring for the dogs and excel at what they do.
“Watching them grow is huge,” she said. “We get a ton out of this.”
Bridget’s Pet Resort
6607 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., by appointments only Sun.