Doug and Jessica Garwood opened Barking Springs Dog Ranch in The Woodlands in December after realizing they had clients traveling from Houston to their original Austin location to board their dogs.

Barking Springs Dog Ranch, located on Dawnwood Drive near Timber Lakes-Timber Ridge, offers four fenced-in yards spaced out over 2 acres of land for all-day outdoor play for dogs in day care or overnight boarding.

“I had a dream from being a little girl to work with dogs,” Jessica said. “I had two dogs of my own, and I never wanted to board them because it was like sending them to jail.”

Jessica, who founded the business originally in Austin seven years ago, said the Greater Houston area was a good place to open the second Barking Springs Dog Ranch location because the market seemed to be lacking boarding locations with large yards and outdoor play at no extra cost.

“I wanted to open a place that would make it feel like you’re bringing your dogs to your friend’s house or a place that’s comfortable,” she said. “It’s a vacation for them rather than jail time.”

After spending time volunteering at a similarly modeled boarding facility in Austin for two years, Jessica decided to leave her day job in the real estate development industry to open her own dog boarding business, she said.

Doug, who is familiar with the area because he attended McCullough Junior High School when it was a high school in Conroe ISD years ago, said the land was spacious and close enough to Houston for clients to bring their dogs in for boarding.

“It’s central, secluded and hidden,” Doug said. “We don’t have any neighbors that are bothered by the barking.”

The Garwoods found the land for the new location in September and had the dog ranch up and running three months later, Doug said. Although Barking Springs offers day care, boarding, bathing and nail trimming services, the goal is to eventually add complete grooming as well as training services to the list, Jessica said.

The Woodlands facility can host 45 to 50 dogs at a time, and the indoor sleeping quarters are spacious with solid walls to prevent fighting or barking between dogs in neighboring rooms, Jessica said.

There is also an on-site apartment at Barking Springs Dog Ranch in The Woodlands, and at least one employee is at the facility around the clock in case of an emergency, Jessica said.

“We’ve been so lucky to have staff that just love dogs like they’re their children,” she said.

The couple, who have two Rhodesian ridgeback dogs, split their time between the Austin and Woodlands locations. Doug makes it to the ranch once a week, and both Doug and Jessica travel to the ranch biweekly.

Barking Springs accepts dogs of all breeds for a flat rate of $42 per night for one dog, Jessica said. Day care is offered Monday through Friday for $30 per day. There is no extra charge to administer medicine, special diets or outdoor playtime.

“People are really loving having their dogs go and play, instead of being locked up all the time,” Jessica said.