I have always felt a special connection with animals. Whether it's helping a family find a way to solve unwanted behavior problems so that they don't have to give up their dog, or volunteering with local shelters and rescue groups - I feel incredibly lucky that I have found a way to spend my life doing something I love and am truly passionate about.
Chris goes above and beyond. He treats our dogs as if they were his own. - Judy R. (Charlottesville)
- We treat your pets like family -
Want free, organic and super efficient pest control? How about a built in alarm system? Get guineas! These busy birds came to us after their previous owners couldn't take them with them when they sold their farm. They spend all day every day foraging for all kinds of pests - keeping our dogs and our garden safe as they devour ticks, stink bugs and Japanese beetles as fast as they can catch them. They are also ALWAYS on watch and will alert us the second anything seems out of place. Even if the dogs are napping - the guineas don't miss a thing and quickly alert our 4 legged security team if anything seems out of order!
Southern HosPETality is owned and operated by Chris Kirtley. Chris grew up in Albemarle County, where he spent much of his time in the woods and on farms, learning as much as he could about both domestic and wild animals. He grew up with dogs and cats, as well as poultry, rabbits and goats. His love for and interest in animals and nature would also follow him to Virginia Tech, where he graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in
Interdisciplinary Studies - minoring in Equine Science, Biology and Psychology (with an emphasis in animal behavior). While living in Blacksburg, Chris also gained valuable hands on medical and behavioral experience by working with several local animal shelters, rescue groups and veterinary practices, as well as Virginia Tech's various working farms. Chris also spent summers in college learning as much as he could about horses - working in an equitation program at a local summer camp.
When Chris moved back to the Charlottesville area in 2008, he began working on local farms - continuing his education and further expanding his repertoire of animal experiences. He also continued to work with shelters and rescue groups - gaining additional experience in behavioral evaluation and rehabilitation through providing behavioral assessments for no-kill organizations interested in rescuing dogs from local shelters - as well as through providing foster care for those same shelter dogs. He also became aware around this time that there seemed to be a lack of available resources for owners who were struggling with behavioral issues that, if unresolved, would cause them to have to give up their dogs.
Chris officially created Southern HosPETality in Fall 2011 - out of a deep desire to devote his full time and attention to helping animals and helping people. The farm was then purchased (and the kennel space added) in the Spring of 2014. Having a physical space to provide sanctuary, foster care and behavioral rehabilitation to animals in need - as well as to provide dogs a fun home away from home while their parents are out of town - has truly been a dream come true. Every day is like no other - and it continues to be an exciting adventure!
Sadie, Whiskey & Friends
Lawn and grounds maintenance extraordinaires . . Sadie, Whiskey and their buddies work hard to keep the lawn mowed and the fence lines neatly trimmed (we haven't had to use a lawn mower or a weed eater once!) They also make it their personal mission to say hello to every new person or animal that walks through our gates (after all . . you never know who might be carrying a cookie!) These guys save us a lot of time that would otherwise be spent maintaining the grass, weeds and brush on our 9 acres and life on the farm is certainly never dull with goats and geese around!
Southern HosPETality, LLC
B.A Interdisciplinary Studies
Minors: Biology, Psychology & Equine Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University '06
Shania, Sam & Jasper
2 beagles and a dachshund walk into a barn . . . . .
It's not the beginning of a terrible joke - it's just what happens here pretty much every day! Our 3 resident dogs serve as welcome committee to all 2 and 4 legged visitors and also do a great job patrolling the property. We definitely don't need a door bell with these 3 on duty - and the local predators don't even think about trying to snatch a free poultry dinner!
Chris took excellent care of my high energy black lab and was very honest with his behavior (good and bad) when I came to pick him up! I also loved seeing the pictures he posted of him running around and having fun. Thanks for doing such a great job! - Jennifer C. (Afton)
I am so glad I found a place where I know my dog is going to have so much fun! Sometimes I worry he won't want to leave! - Rebecca B (Charlottesville) .