Ken and Penny
Ken and I moved to Stonehaven’s present location in the mountains near Hyndman, Pennsylvania in the spring of 1972. Accompanying us was our family at the time–three German Shepherds, one Arabian horse, and one Persian cat. All of us looked forward to the “laid-back” life-style that this country-side provided. I also quickly discovered that there were no employment opportunities to be found here in Interior Design for which I had gone to school for several years. The first couple of years were spent enjoying our daughter, Jennifer, who was born in 1973 and watching our animals flourish among the trees and streams and fields of this area. I began to study animal genetics, behavior and nutrition. At the time, my focus was on my beloved German Shepherd Breed and on the Arabian Horse.
Stonehaven Kennels was officially founded in 1974 when I decided to show some of the German Shepherds that I had bred and trained. Jennifer, although very young at the time, loved the dogs and the excitement of the competition as well, and happily adapted to life as a “dog show kid.” My husband was supportive of our success in the show ring, but preferred to stay at home on the weekends caring for the other animals and working on “projects” of his own. Several more horses and a few cattle enjoyed life here during those years, and really did require Ken’s expertise with livestock. It was comforting to know that we could travel and everything at home was still under control.
Our hobby quickly spanned several years, and the number of our homebred German Shepherd Champions grew substantially until Stonehaven was a respected name born by some of the top winning dogs in North America. Dogs exported by us influenced show rings and breeding programs in Bermuda and Mexico as well. Weekdays were spent nurturing the puppies and training and conditioning the show dogs. Weekends were spent on the road traveling to shows all over the US and Canada. During this time we learned to appreciate the traits and attributes of other breeds also. We purchased some Miniature Schnauzers to breed and show. They certainly inspired us to learn the art of patience–not only with terrier exuberance and energy, but with the never ending process of hand-stripping a terrier show coat. Jim Moses, a highly respected professional handler entrusted us with a gorgeous Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She introduced us to the heart-warming antics of that breed, and produced several winning sons and daughters as well. Of course, our current welcoming committee is comprised of one Miniature Poodle, and one Standard Poodle, one aging German Shepherd and several rescue cats. Although they all do not see “eye to eye” on most matters, they all do love to greet our human and animal guests at Stonehaven.
Countless hours spent in professional handling tents proved to be invaluable experience–every professional grooming and conditioning “trick of the trade” was mastered by Jennifer and me under the guidance of many of the leading professionals in the ring today. The opportunity to learn the secrets and share the knowledge of these respected handlers could not ever be duplicated in a classroom. Perfecting the art of flawless grooms included not only German Shepherds, but many other AKC breeds. The knowledge of genetics and breeding champions, training champions, and the study of nutrition necessary to produce health and vitality in dogs became second nature to us. Extensive first aid and veterinary experience, and an intuitive understanding of animal behavior gained through those years enables us to provide unequalled care for your pets at our facility today.
Pet grooming and boarding became yet another facet of our business in 1983 when it became apparent that we could provide a valuable service to our community. As many people began to request my grooming skills, I found myself not only grooming pets from around the tri-state area, but using my grooming talents to aid other show kennels as well. The Stonehaven Kennels of today seemed a very natural sequel to our history with animals. As our business began to rapidly expand, we found it necessary to scale back our breeding and dog showing program. We discontinued competition in 1996, and we bred our last litter of German Shepherds in 2004. It was just not possible to travel and still provide the “hands on” attention required to care for our furry guests. Even with the help of our beloved employees, we still felt the need and desire to always be here as well. The kennel has been enlarged and completely remodeled to cater to the needs of our resort “guests” rather than young puppies and show dogs. Our local pet shuttle was added as a further convenience to provide a busy clientele with transportation to our facility for their pets’ grooming and boarding, and feeding needs. We have become a complete premier pet care center. This is truly a family business requiring the talents and expertise of every member of our family.
In the many years that we have served our Tri-State area, your families have become part of our family. We have rejoiced with you at the addition of new pets and at the birth of your children. In many cases we have known generations of pets and have seen your children grow up and start lives of their own. It warms our hearts when even those kids bring their pets to Stonehaven for care. Of course, there have been tears that we have shared as well, which have only deepened the bond we feel with everyone. Our days are long and physically demanding, and we have learned that most holidays are not celebrated on their appointed days when there are furry guests in our care. We have come to realize that we are not here by chance. Believing that the Lord has directed our path, we have decided to “bloom where we have been planted”………
Jennifer and Mike
As a teenager, Jennifer not only handled many of Stonehaven’s own dogs, but she handled, conditioned, and groomed other breeds for clients of her own. Even while attending the University of Pittsburgh, dog shows filled her weekends. She was forced to take a “vacation” from AKC competition while studying International Law and Politics at The University of Wales in 1993 and 1994. Sailing took precedence there with the Irish Sea literally bordering the town in which she lived. Of course dogs were not completely absent from her life during that time. She learned to admire the intelligence and work ethic of the Border Collies as they cared for their flocks in the Welsh highlands.
She met many Labs and Springers there who were always willing to greet the students as the hiked in the hills. The occasional comical Corgi still crossed her path, and she had opportunity to closely observe the comparisons in the English-bred Alsatians and in her own beloved German Shepherds. Jennifer traveled extensively while working in the airline industry, and wrote legal contracts for other international businesses for several years after graduation, but she discovered that animals and their people were really her first love. She added a Pet Message Certification to her long list of related talents, and now co-manages Stonehaven.
Jennifer’s husband, Mike, has adapted well to life with animals. Mike never had a pet as a child, so marrying into this family has been an education in itself. When he is not flying airplanes, he takes very seriously his study of pet behavior and personality traits, and how closely they parallel human characteristics. He has carefully trained their four cats, and faithfully takes our one remaining old German Shepherd for hikes on the mountain and swims in the pond. We constantly enlist Mike’s expertise in fixing vehicles, pressure-washers, and everything else that seems to need mechanical attention on a daily basis. He has delivered dog food, and even driven the “dog bus” on occasion.