About Us

Meet the owners!  Elena & Skyler Smith


Elena Smith President & Sole Owner of the K9 Cabins & Dog Trails, Inc.

I was born and raised in the small town of Burgettstown (just outside of Pittsburgh, PA), with my three brothers Peter, David and Michael (who are all very successful in their careers). We’ve always been (and still are) a very tight knit family and are all dog lovers. My oldest brother Peter and his wife Leah have 2 dogs. My middle brother Dave and his wife and kids have 2 Boston Terriers. My baby brother Michael and his wife Char have a Frenchton.

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In June 2014 we lost my mom to brain cancer.  My Dad has finally retired and handed his business, “Blue’s Tree Service”,  down to my middle brother Dave.   My parents have always been dog lovers. In fact, I do not remember a time in my life as a child when we didn’t have a dog or two (or three) living in the house. We had all sorts of breeds, from Schnauzers, Yorkies, Boxers, two Boston Terriers, along with a mutt or two along the way…My favorite one being the mutt that I won at a campground festival raffle when I was ten years old, unbeknownst to my parents that I even entered in the raffle! Of course my folks were glad to take him home with us.

In my late teens I moved to California and got involved in the construction industry and only had time to take care of dogs in my spare time. I moved to Belmont Shore, CA (aka: Long Beach) on the peninsula and was not permitted to have a dog in my condo, so I virtually adopted all the dogs that lived around my beachfront condo. After putting in a full day at work, I’d come home and grab the neighbors’ dogs and walked them on the beach for hours or pet sat for folks that went out of town. Most of my neighbors called
me the “dog walker”. I then took a job working for PJHM Architects, and relocated to Dana Point, CA, where I took care of some dogs for some friends at the Dana Point Harbor. Tough life eh?

After living in California for 12 years, I moved to Mooresville, NC in February of 1999, after meeting my husband at a NASCAR race in Phoenix in October of 1998. Needless to say we had a dog within the first month of me moving to NC. The first dog we rescued was a lab/pitbull mix “Phoenix” …yes, named after the race track where my husband and I met. Later that year (Christmas of 1999), Pat surprised me with a Border Collie who we named “Bristol”, yes after my favorite race track.  Phoenix and Bristol passed away in 2011, and within two days we rescued a sweet Shepherd mix named Tesla, who passed away in 2018. We currently have 4 dogs!  Jazzy Lady (Pomeranian), Blazer (Pom mix) and Vinny Gambini (Pom mix) and Duffy (Papillon/Border Collie).

I was employed by the Mills Corporation in 1999 to oversee the construction of the Concord Mills, in Concord, NC, where I had the opportunity to work with the Development team in constructing the 1.4 million square foot shopping and entertainment destination, located about 10 miles north of Charlotte, NC. Once the mall was built I transferred to the Operating Centers division of The Mills Corporation, where I was the Tenant Coordinator, overseeing construction of new tenant up-fits and remodels, including managing the construction of the NASCAR Speed Park at the Concord Mills. I had worked for The Mills Corporation in California, in the past, being part of the development team who built the Ontario Mills, in Ontario, CA. So the Concord Mills was my 2nd Mills project with that awesome company.

Although I’ve always loved working in the construction industry… I always had a dream of taking care of dogs…..I knew of my dream to someday own and operate a really unique dog boarding facility and in five short years we made my dream come true! I retired from the Concord Mills in June of 2003 to oversee one last construction project….our project….I really miss all my friends in Mall Management at the Concord Mills, but do keep in touch with them!

Slowly but surely my dog boarding facility was underway in June of 2003, after designing and redesigning the facility about 14 times on paper and deciding on wants and needs…mostly wants! I then hung up my construction hat and I’m now “living the dream…MY dream”.

In 2021 Pat and I amicably decided to go our separate ways...we are much better as friends and parents to Skyler. 

Born in 1968 (holy crap Im gettin old)
Favorite food: Italian and seafood
Favorite things to watch on TV: Modern Family, HGTV, NASCAR, NFL (Pittsburgh Steelers), FOX news, American Idol.
Favorite Drink(s): Water, Coors Light & Margaritas and Vodka
Hobbies: being a mom, quad riding, playing with dogs, playing on computer (i guess that’s a hobby), pool volleyball, shooting pool, working on my 12 acres as there’s always something to do & updating this website haha….
Vehicle: Jeep Rubicon JL
Favorite place to vacation in the USA: Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas!
Favorite places that I traveled: Jamaica, Spain, Italy, Mexico and San Francisco, Myrtle Beach of course!

 

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when we die we want to go where they went”