The Well-Mannered Dog set to re-open late June after tornado leveled business

Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-02 17:15:56-04

WYOMING, Mich. – Kent County communities continue to rebuild in the wake of the destruction after last July’s tornado; many homes and businesses were leveled. But it wasn’t all bad news for the Wyoming business The Well-Mannered Dog, which plans to re-open late June.

“I’m going back up,” said Kathryn Snyder, owner of The Well-Mannered Dog.

Sunlight beamed through the framework of what will once again be The Well-Mannered Dog, a beloved training, boarding and show center.

When Snyder first saw the news walls around her 26,000 square-foot business, she told FOX 17 she knew she was rebuilding for a reason.

“Now that’s when the heart was about ready to come out of the chest,” said Snyder. “That was very exciting. What it also did was tell me that hey, I’m in a race now; I’ve got a lot of details to finish up before I open.”

But adjacent to the hope of construction, tress are half-standing with shards of bark pointing to the past; a reminder of last July’s tornado.

That morning FOX 17 spoke with employee Mary Hopper who said, “Every day I come here, and I'm greeted by all my little guys, and now I'm kind of lost. I have nowhere to go.”

Heartbroken but resilient, the night of the tornado Snyder said she crawled over debris to get inside to the employee and 36 dogs who were trapped.

“The gas main was broken, there was gas flying everywhere, it was not pretty; but those were my kids, those were the dogs,” said Snyder. “People trust me.”

Every single employee and dog made it out that night safely. Today, Snyder said this loss was “a blessing in disguise.”

“Sometimes, I think the man upstairs decided I needed a break, recoup, and reopen,” said Snyder.

In the tornado they lost their paper files. Now, with time to reflect and rebuild, Snyder reorganized her business, including adding new computer software and training.

But when it comes to the training and care for her dogs, Snyder said she’s not changing anything.

“I love to teach,” said Snyder. “I don’t care what it is, if I have to repeat it, or say it 70 different ways, I will until you get it. Ok. I’m a very patient trainer.”

The grand re-opening will be in late June. Check for updates on The Well-Mannered Dog Center’s Facebook page.