Motorists driving toward Boothbay Harbor on Route 27 might notice a pretty new pink sign in Boothbay, just beyond Jordan Construction. Boothbay Canine Day Care & Boarding opened July 5, and owner Carole Jordan has been busy caring for, and playing with, dogs of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments for the last two months.
Jordan is doing exactly what she wants to do. She spent the first part of her life doing something she loved, but when she turned 50, she was ready for a change.
She and her former husband, Alden Jordan, started Jordan Construction in 1986. She became adept at operating backhoes and other construction equipment. “I was driving a big dump truck and was happy as a clam,” she said.
As the business started to grow, her now ex-husband suggested she drive an excavator instead of the dump truck. She resisted for a while, but eventually gave in, and from 1988 until recently, she could often be seen operating a huge excavator. She became well-known as the only woman around running an excavator, and running it like a pro.
Jordan said her father used to say, “When you turn 50, it’s time to think about what you want to do for the rest of your life.” She’s 53 now, and she’s doing it.
There was a need for a boarding kennel in the area. One of the only other boarding kennels in the area, Coastal Dog Care, in Edgecomb, is often full. “This is such a dog-friendly town, and we needed this,” Jordan said.
After a lot of research, and talking with several kennel owners, she started designing her facility in March. She wanted it to be perfect – for the dogs – with both open space and individual kennels.
The building and the big fenced-in areas surrounding it were completed three months later.
The facility is a clean, open space, with kennels that all have sliding doors to another outdoor kennel, and more doors that open into the “playgrounds.” The building has radiant heat and 9-foot ceilings with large ceiling fans suspended from them.
Jordan said dogs are social creatures and she doesn’t believe in leaving them alone in separate kennels, unless that’s where they want to be. They can go outside or stay in their safe spaces inside. It’s all about their wants and needs.
“The dogs don’t stay pent up in separate kennels,” she said. “They’re interacting, and it’s a very busy, fun atmosphere.”
Donna Desjardins takes care of the administrative side of the business, but she said Jordan is the reason for the already popular kennel.
“The ideas and the design are all Carole’s,” Desjardins said. “She designed this herself and did all the site work and the groundwork, and she general-contracted the construction of the building.”
The backyard of the kennel is a veritable Disneyland for dogs, with no shortage of fun things to explore, climb on, and swim in. The pools were well-used during the many oppressively hot, humid days in August.
There’s a “meet-and-greet” area where Jordan takes new dogs to get them, along with their sometimes more nervous owners, acclimated. “They come into that area and they’re not bombarded by other dogs,” Jordan said.
On a sweltering Wednesday, Aug. 29, most of the dogs were inside, with the big ceiling fans keeping them cool. But the ones who chose to go out to play were treated to sprinklers and pools. “We do everything we can to keep them comfortable and happy,” Jordan said.
There are a few regulars, or “resident dogs,” who spend a lot of time with Jordan at the kennel. Sperry, a Rottweiler and one of Jordan’s favorites, was following closely behind her Wednesday, along with her own dog, Penny.
“I know dogs,” Jordan said. “I don’t have any formal training. I didn’t go to vet school, but I know dogs and their temperaments. I know the breeds and I know how to pick up on their body language and energy level.”
She said she’s glad she made the life-changing decision to hang out with dogs. “My blood pressure has gone way down,” she said. “I’m so enjoying this. I get to spend my days with beautiful dogs.”
Along with boarding, the business offers baths and nail trims, but not on a dog’s first day. “This is supposed to be a fun place,” Jordan said. “The dogs are nervous on their first day. I don’t want them to associate this with a negative experience on their first visit.”
The business, at 653 Wiscasset Road, will be open year-round, and Jordan already has plans to add on to the existing building. She has planned ahead for the snow. “I’ll be bringing the Bobcat in to plow out the play areas,” she said.
The kennel is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 633-3647 or go to boothbaycanine.com.