Ruff Ranch KC, Shawnee doggy daycare, growing quickly as ‘pandemic pets’ need services

Ruff Ranch KC

Located in western Shawnee near 83rd and K-7 Highway, Ruff Ranch KC offers pet daycare and boarding services. Above, Ranger gets picked up by his family to go back home after daycare Wednesday afternoon. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Since launching earlier this year in western Shawnee, Ruff Ranch KC has enjoyed explosive growth, according to its owners.

The doggy daycare and boarding facility opened Feb. 1 and recorded more than 200 dog visits in its first month.

Last month, wife-and-husband owners Barbara and Barry Vonada say the facility saw more than a thousand.

The Vonadas, along with their daughter Bethany Mathur, who oversees operations, believe their growth speaks to the gap in services for doggy daycare and boarding in this particular area of Shawnee, which borders Lenexa at 83rd Street to the south.

Ruff Ranch KC
Wife-and-husband team Barbara (left) and Barry Vonada own Ruff Ranch KC, and their daughter, Bethany Mathur (not pictured), oversees operations.

“It’s been a much faster growth than I think we expected,” Barry said. “Anytime you open a business, you hope things grow quickly, but within six months, we were breaking even. Companies don’t do that. That’s unheard of.”

The Vonadas and Mathur said they’re not here to serve as competition for similar businesses. Instead, they hoped to fill a gap in services for pet owners.

Nearly 700 pet clients

Anywhere from 30 to 60 dogs enjoy doggy daycare services each day at Ruff Ranch KC.

In February, the business had 70 pet owners as clinets. As of this week, more than 520 customers are registered in the system, with at least 680 pets, most of them dogs.

Located at 8130 Monticello Terrace, Ruff Ranch KC will soon offer an expanded boarding service as well as dog grooming. Services for cats are available as well.

“The word of mouth and the referrals has been what’s really been bringing in our business the past couple of months,” Barbara Vonada said. “We only advertised initially the first month or two, and we haven’t really done any since, and we don’t need to. Everybody’s just spreading the word, and they seem to be happy with our service, and I think since it’s a family owned business, [it] kind of helps the cause.”

Located at 8130 Monticello Terrace, Ruff Ranch KC will soon offer an expanded boarding service as well as dog grooming. Services for cats are available as well.

The site was formerly home to a sign manufacturing company.

The Vonadas said their customers say the location is a strong asset, sitting a 10-minute drive from areas of Shawnee, Lenexa, Olathe, De Soto and Bonner Springs.

A place for ‘pandemic pets’

Barry Vonada plays with brother pooches Mosley and Victor in one of the facility’s indoor play yards.

The Vonadas also partially attribute their growth to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several customers said they became pet owners during the pandemic. Now that they’re returning to the office, they need a place to send their dogs during the day.

The services help these “pandemic pets” socialize with other dogs and deal with separation anxiety.

Barry said their growth makes them feel good that they are providing a needed service in the community.

“We’re not just treating [custsomers] like somebody coming in to drop off their dog. We have conversations with them,” Barry Vonada said. “We get to know them. They’re kind of like family now.”

“There’s a lot of customers now that we really know them really well, as well as their dogs. They’re kind of like family now,” said Barry Vonada as he snuggles with Archie.

Barbara Vonada said the vision behind their business comes from their daughter.

Mathur has been a lifelong animal lover and holds a zoo science degree. She worked for Deanna Rose Farm Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park until the pandemic hit and then worked for another doggy daycare before the family decided to start their own.

The Shawnee City Council will soon consider approval of a special use permit for Ruff Ranch KC to offer boarding services.

The Shawnee Planning Commission recommended approval of the special use permit on Monday.

Ruff Ranch KC’s hours of operation are:

  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
  • Sunday (closed except for boarding pickup/drop-off)