She said she and her husband, Ray O’Bannion, wanted a change of pace after 30 years in law enforcement, so they purchased 12 acres of land for what was supposed to be a horse boarding facility; instead, they boarded their first dog in December 2007 and opened officially in January 2008.
“[Willow Creek Ranch] just happened. I was still working when it started to take off, and I had to retire because it just blew up out of nowhere,” she said.
The couple completed an expansion in May, which included an 8,000-square-foot building with more than 15 dog rooms, office space, an indoor play area, a grooming station and a gift shop as well as two outdoor play areas, O’Bannion said.
She said dog day care, grooming and training are also available to offer customers a “one-stop shop.” O’Bannion said her daughter, Molly, is a veterinarian and administers pet vaccinations by appointment as well.
“This is family-owned and family-operated. My husband, son, daughter and myself all help out here in some way,” she said. “I think this family atmosphere is why we have pet owners who have brought their dogs in from day one, and we still see those dogs today.”
At the facility, dogs are not placed in cages, but in rooms with small beds, O’Bannion said. Additionally, Willow Creek does not charge extra fees for walks, playtime or attention, she said.
“We treat these animals like they’re family, because they are. If you work with animals, you should want to love on them without charging extra for it, you know?” she said.
O’Bannion said she hopes to further expand the facility with a water park for dogs, a vet clinic, more outdoor play areas and a cat room.
“We want our customers—our family—to feel comfortable when their dogs are here so they can be stress-free wherever they’re going without their beloved pet,” she said.
Willow Creek Ranch of Tomball
11105 Mahaffey Road, Tomball
Hours: Sun.-Sat. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.