Pearland Barkway

Like most successful entrepreneurs, Susan McCormack saw a need for a service she did not believe existed in the Pearland area. The former University of Houston educator brainstormed and came up with the concept that would become Pearland Barkway.

Four years ago, McCormack said she had a 6-month-old puppy and was working long hours. The longtime Pearland resident said she searched for a day care where her dog would not be alone all day long, but found most places she visited unsuitable for her pet's needs.

"My original idea was to open a day care for people like me who needed to drop off their dogs during the day while they go to work," McCormack said. "I thought, 'If I need this, I am sure there are people out there that need this kind of service, the kind of service where the dog is actually played with and not kenneled all day.'"

Pearland Barkway provides a variety of services for dog owners including doggy day care, dog grooming, pet sitting and training and boarding, but the staff believes what makes the business unique is the attention given to both the customers and their pets.

"We really kind of get to be part of their family," McCormack said. "The pets are their family, and the reason that we opened was because we understand that relationship. We understand how important those pets are to them, and so we really develop relationships with both the dogs and with the customers."

A distinctive feature offered by Pearland Barkway is the canine condos, boarding rooms with motifs, such as New York- and Paris-themed rooms.

The facility also offers a day care, a sprawling area where dogs run free, socializing and playing under the supervision of staff members.

"Socialization amongst their own kind is good because it's not just dog-to-human [communication] all the time," said Brenda Vaughn, who works with McCormack and has extensive experience in the business.

McCormack said putting dogs in cages stresses them out.

"We try to minimize this by putting them in day care, which is an affordable option for customers," McCormack said. "We really know our customers. When they get married, or when they get sick, we're here for them. We provide all kinds of different services that help them navigate through different issues in their [lives]."

Thelma Parra, a 10-year Pearland resident, has been bringing her basset hound for grooming and day care to Pearland Barkway for four years. Parra said the staff seems to care about her dog, which sets the facility apart from others.

McCormack said the dog grooming part of the business is important to her. The owner was taught how to groom pets and how to bathe dogs by other staff members so she could talk to customers and be hands-on with their animals.

"Our groomers are knowledgeable and are professionally certified," she said. "When they come in for training, we like to hear that they have a light, gentle hand. We are cruelty-free so we only put dogs in a cage if they are being dried or groomed."

McCormack said she is supportive of the local high schools, having recruited a number of employees from a Pearland ISD work study program at Pearland and Turner high schools.

"I would say this generation gets a bad rap, but we try to show [our employees] a work ethic," McCormack said. "They really work hard, and they are willing to learn."

Pearland Barkway

1853 Pearland Parkway, Ste. 105

Pearland 281-741-7058

Hours: Mon.–Fri. 6:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Open Sunday for classes only