ANDERSON — If things had gone differently, Lloyd Shinholt could have been a snail farmer.
Shinholt did not open Little Rascal's Pet Motel and Resort, 6204 Ind. 32, in Anderson because he wanted to surround himself with animals. He opened the boarding and grooming business because it made his wife happy.
It's a good thing his wife did not want to sell escargot.
“It’s funny how life works,” Shinholt said. “I’ve always liked animals, but I would have never imagined this.”
Today, 25 years after building their business together, the couple says they would not have done it any differently.
Gail Shinholt said that unlike her husband, she has always loved animals. So when the opportunity arose to work with them, she followed her heart.
At first, Gail Shinholt considered being a veterinarian, but after she realized she might have to euthanize animals, she decided to become a groomer. After obtaining the proper training, she started grooming pets in her home, but soon customers were asking if the couple could care for animals while they were out of town.
One night, the couple was sleeping with about a dozen dogs in and around their bed. The chaos created by the temporary situation, along with the snoring pooches, was almost too much to handle, Gail Shinholt said.
But when a trip to the bathroom resulted in Lloyd Shinholt stepping into a pet-induced accident, he said he had enough. That is when he expanded his wife’s in-home business into a grooming and boarding facility.
Along the way the couple relocated their business, but they finally settled into their current location 14 years ago.
The faculty, which boards both cats and dogs in addition to providing grooming services, is unlike any other.
“I think big, I always have,” said Lloyd Shinholt.
Not only was his idea big, Lloyd Shinholt deliberately built a creatively designed space that would be an oasis for the animals in his temporary care.
Inside the building, Little Rascal’s has unique décor resembling a high-end resort in an exotic or faraway destination. A large lobby features a check-in desk for visitors, a beautiful fountain and soothing music.
But one of the best things about the motel is the rooms.
Each room is individually decorated in special themes such as racing, log cabins or even flowery gardens, with safety and comfort being a focus for the furry lodgers.
“I didn’t sit around and dream about it,” Lloyd Shinholt said. “You have to go out and do it.”
Lloyd Shineholt said the only thing that would have made his business better is if he had timed it differently.
“I would have done it sooner,” he said.
A funny thing to say from a man who claims he is not a big animal lover, but his wife says he cannot fool anyone — he loves animals, especially dogs.
“He’s a big pussycat when it comes to dogs,” she said with a laugh.
Gail Shinholt said working with a spouse means there has to be a lot of compromises made.
“You better be able to get along,” she said. “We have our moments, but this is definitely a labor of love.”
The couple rarely takes vacations, but they say they love what they do and their partnership has proven to be very successful.
“If you love it, you don’t mind the work,” Gail Shinholt said.
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Quick facts Little Rascal's Pet Motel and Resort located at 6204 Ind. 32 in Anderson is open for reservations Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Shineholts have been in the pet industry since 1989, and originally opened their business under the name "Gail's Professional Dog Grooming," until Lloyd Shineholt read somewhere that a business should never have the owner's name in it.