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Tracy Perez, animal health care manager for Karing Kennels on Kadena Air Base, displays one of the new cat condos. Karing Kennels' new 8,800 square-foot center is almost four times the size of the old facility.
Tracy Perez, animal health care manager for Karing Kennels on Kadena Air Base, displays one of the new cat condos. Karing Kennels' new 8,800 square-foot center is almost four times the size of the old facility. (David Allen / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A new $2.4 million climate-controlled billeting complex, complete with wading pools for those hot summer days, opens just inside Gate 3 here Friday.

But don’t get too excited. This luxury condo is strictly for our furry friends — although the facility includes a new retail store where humans can shop for their cats’ and dogs’ needs.

The new Karing Kennels replaces the old facility located near Camp Shields. According to Tracy Perez, animal health care manager, the 8,800-square-foot center is almost four times the size of the old facility and, with 80 kennels, increases the boarding space for dogs by 30 percent. And the new 24-cage cat condo increases boarding space for cats by 300 percent, Perez said.

The old kennel facility will remain in use as a collection point for strays and for pet adoptions.

“This has been in the works for more than two years,” said Michael Therriat, chief of the 18th Wing’s Community Support Flight during a recent pre-opening tour. “The old facility was grossly undersized and inadequate in regards to today’s standards for quality care. This will have a tremendous impact on quality of life for the military on Okinawa. We are the only military-operated boarding facility on the island.”

Speaking as she headed down a long row of indoor kennels for dogs that had “doggy doors” for outside runs, Perez said: “We used to have a terrible shortage of space at the old kennel. During the spring break and summer we’d have such a demand for boarding that we had to turn a lot of pets away. Now we’ve got enough space so there should be zero turn downs.”

The entire complex is climate controlled, so no pet owner will have to worry about their dog suffering in the Okinawa heat, she said.

But there’s a lot more than just comfy cages for the dogs and cats at the new Karing Kennels. The complex includes grooming services with built-in showers and hydraulic grooming tables, a huge kennel kitchen for preparation of food and medications, a laundry and an outside recreation area that includes five wading pools.

The boarding fees for dogs is $15 a day and $75 weekly. Cats can stay for $12.50 a day or $50 a week. All pets’ shots must be current prior to check-in.

For more information about Karing Kennels, go to http://www.18services.com/ pets.html

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