Best of Fauquier 2019: Pet Boarding

Best Pet Boarding

Paws Awhile Pet Motel

How do two nuns start a successful business? With small business loans, hard work, a lot of faith, and unexpected blessings. Mother Eirene and Mother Raphaela purchased Paws Awhile Pet Motel in Warrenton almost 21 years ago. With Mother Evdokia who joined them 9 years ago and an awesome team, they have built Paws Awhile into what our readers consider the best pet boarding facility in Fauquier County. 

“We’re Orthodox Christians nuns and traditionally we work to support ourselves with the work of our own hands,” they explained. Mother Eirene and Mother Raphaela initially explored various ideas for making a living including raising alpacas and llamas, hand bookbinding, and hand dipped candle making. When they realized that none of these seemed likely to actually reap enough to earn a living, several people suggested a dog boarding facility to them. They developed what The Fauquier Bank considered an exceptional business plan and, after convincing the skeptical SBA that nuns were indeed capable of running a legitimate business successfully, obtained loans to move forward with their dream. Part of the necessary collateral was loaned to the sisters and they were on their way. As they had known all along, if God wanted them to do this, it would all work out.

The nuns, who grew up taking care of and training their own and other neighborhood families dogs and cats, now consider caring for their four legged guests their calling.

Mother Eirene explained, “As Christians and as Monastics, one of our goals is to serve others, whether they are two-legged or four-legged. They are all God’s creatures.”

And, in doing so, they have formed a family with all their two-legged clients and four-legged guests. The pets are cared for with an unsurpassed attention to detail, which the nuns consider to be a factor in their success. The staff is carefully trained to be in tune with each pet as an individual. That way, if an animal is behaving in a manner that is unusual for them, the staff can tend to their needs immediately. The nuns and the staff take their jobs very seriously and realize it is a huge responsibility and privilege to be caring for families’ “fur babies.”

This exceptional care earns Paws Awhile 95 percent repeat clients — some clients are bringing their third or fourth generation of dogs to them. The facility has grown and has a dedicated staff of 27, and each staff member is carefully selected for their caring personality, love of animals, and attention to detail. The nuns feel strongly that the employees are indeed part of the Paws Awhile family. “We do offer benefits of paid vacation time, health insurance, and other perks to each team member. After all, if you don’t take care of your team, you won’t have a team,” said Mother Eirene.

Sound advice for any business.

All the nuns continually say, “The community’s trust in us is humbling and gratifying. We look forward to many more years of service to the community.”

Pam Kamphuis
About Pam Kamphuis 127 Articles
Pam Kamphuis is an editor and writer for Piedmont Virginian Magazine and Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines.

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