Dog days of Rawlins
One of a Kind Canine opens this weekend
By Chad Abshire
RAWLINS — Saturday marks the fulfillment of a dream for a local woman.
One of a Kind Canine, 1624 E. Murray St., opens its doors for an open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. after a Friday evening ribbon cutting.
Ashlea Colson, a 2007 Rawlins High School graduate and soon-to-be new business owner, said opening her businesses has been a “long time in the works.”
“Dog training is always something I liked to do ever since I was little,” she said. “We had Yorkies growing up, then a bloodhound and I got my own dog at 11, a heeler mix.
“It’s fun to watch them learn and see the training fall into place and click with the dogs. It’s fun to see the difference it makes in the dog.”
Colson graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2011 with a bachelor’s in pre-vet and then headed off to Columbus, Ohio, that same year to get her certification from the National K-9 Learning Center.
The spacious interior boasts a number of kennels, with both indoor and outdoor access via a dog door. Besides Colson’s own quartet of dogs, the kennels are right now home to Blaze, a Great Dane in training to be a service dog to help a woman with poor eyesight.
The business also boasts an exterior that is a dog’s dream: there’s a pond for swimming, wading, getting a drink or simply getting wet; a large yard with artificial grass with dog play equipment, like a hill to climb up and down and a teeter-totter, and artificial grass that isn’t only easy to clean and maintain for Colson, but also soft and fun for the dogs to relax on.
Colson said she closed on the building May 9 and is set to cut the ribbon just a little over four months later after a whirlwind of activity, which included knocking down a wall, painting, sealing floors, installing the kennels, fans and a bath tub — among other work like replacing a chain-link fence with attractive cedar.
On top of all that, Colson is also offering a rent-a-kennel. With a combination to one of four outdoor kennels and the combination to access the area those are located, people can drop off their pooches and go along with whatever they need, be it a vacation or simply heading to work. When Colson comes in, she’ll release the hounds, so to speak, and get them in daycare.
That also allows people returning from vacations to pick up Fido on their terms, even if it’s late at night, when coming back to Rawlins.
But the creation of One of a Kind Canine wasn’t a one-woman project, Colson said. Her parents, Sheriff Jerry and Peggy Colson, her sister and brother-in-law, her fiancé and her uncle, a contractor from Gillette, all pitched in.
Days after closing, the sign went up, along with an eight-foot silhouette of a sitting dog and the businesses name. The phrase “coming soon” only added to the community’s hype, Colson said.
“I’ve had people calling me since the day we put the sign up,” she said.
And those calls haven’t subsided.
“It’s a little overwhelming, just because everyone’s excited and wants me to open,” Colson said. “I’ve already got people calling me about Christmas.”
There’s a reason for that, Carbon County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Cindy Wallace said.
“We really need that here,” Wallace said of Colson’s business. “It’s just another service that adds to the value of living here. People treat their pets like family and if they need to leave and can’t take their pets, they’ll have that option and have peace of mind.”
Of the homegrown, hometown Colson, Wallace said it was “great that she’s investing back into her own community.”
“I applaud her for opening up a new business filling a need in the community,” Wallace said.
And opening a business in Rawlins “feels pretty awesome,” Colson said.
“It’s exciting to get do what you’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “I’m lucky to have family and friends who have supported me.”
When open, Colson’s One of a Kind Canine will appointment only until she leaves her fulltime job. While she’s not sure when that will be, when it does happen, her businesses will have set hours and daycare.