SPONSORED BY THE FARM AT NATCHEZ TRACE
It’s easy to be impressed by The Farm at Natchez Trace. There’s the beautiful, lush property with a year-round creek; there’s the wood-floored lobby with a massive stone fireplace that would look at home in a Swiss Mountain Lodge; there’s the smell of wood smoke that greets you on chilly mornings before you even set foot in the door. It’s certainly a nice place to visit (and since you can drop in for a tour anytime, some of you probably have), but the people at The Farm will tell you it’s really all about the pets.
“Yes, people can get carried away with the reception area and the televisions in every suite, but our focus is the pets. I mean… we love our clients too… but if our pets are happy, our clients are happy—it’s really very simple," says Cogie Smeeton, General Manager. "It starts with the people. When you have a team dedicated not just to The Farm as a business but to making it great for the pets and the staff, then you’re already half way to excellence. Every area of The Farm—The Salon, THR!VE, Daycare, Lodging, Training—provides a different service but it’s all to one end: helping our clients keep their pets as healthy and as happy as can be.”
The Farm's mission looks beyond the "food, water, shelter" model for lodging. “Oh my gosh," says Pet Care Manager, Stephanie Zimmerman (who almost always has a regular furry guest "hanging" in her office). "We’ve got protocols and procedures for everything you can think of! Our new handlers can’t believe how much they need to learn in just 40 hours of training!”
It seems to be working: The Farm has a reputation not just for luxury, but for being able to care for special needs dogs and cats. Vickie Brown, Pet Concierge, who has been with The Farm all 13 years of its existence, says that’s where her heart is. "We get dogs and cats with all sorts of disabilities and disorders and then we have our senior pets. Many have been coming here their entire lives and now they have old age problems and you know what? The more they need, the more we love them. They’re family. When they pass on, it breaks our hearts.”
The Farm’s most recent addition, THR!VE, a healthy pet food market, occupies part of the main lobby and meets clients' goals on a wider scale: “We keep up with the research and we want to share that with our clients to help them find the right food for their dogs and cats, because they are definitely not all the same!” says Chass Robison, Guest Services Manager. “We have the advantage of knowing our guests so we can match age and energy level, as well as allergies and disorders, and find suitable all-natural alternatives for each pet. I probably shouldn’t say this but we sometimes taste test them too… you know our foods have all human-grade ingredients, right?”
“All natural” is also the mantra in The Salon where Salon Manager and Groomer, Hallie Dedrick, and her team of cheerful bathers produce a high-quality finish while still giving the pets the time and encouragement they deserve. Their formula? “Respecting the pet, and then lots of cooing and baby talk!”
Chris Miller, another longtime manager at The Farm and recently appointed to manage the Woof Club Daycare Program, focuses on fun: “Awesome Space? Sure. Safety First? Yep. Happy dogs? Easy! And then (drumroll please) there’s the Splashpad! Who doesn’t love cool water in the summer heat?”
The Farm at Natchez Trace is located at 9479 Hwy 96 West in Franklin, TN. For more information, call 615-662-6628 or visit thefarmatnatcheztrace.com.