Forty-three years ago, Mr. Chaim Melman started a kennel, which is a care center for dogs, that would snowball into the largest indoor and outdoor center in Washington. “At Paradise4Pets, our canine guests are out enjoying nature every day. Our mission is to keep your animal healthy, happy, and occupied while you are away,” he says.
What is special about Paradise4Pets?
- All animals (within reason) are welcome, including dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and even skunks.
- Grounds include 63 outdoor exercise areas for outdoor play all day.
- Amenities include an on-call veterinarian
- Grounds include heated and air-conditioned indoor and outdoor runs
- Smart grouping of dogs by similar size and personality
- Closed on Shabbos and all Jewish holidays
But what really makes this facility unique is their owners, Chaim and Bracha Melman, who bring together passion for Yiddishkeit and love for animals to create an animal haven like no other.
Meet the Melmans
Caring for animals is in Mr. Melman’s blood. “Growing up we always had dogs in the house,” he recalls. Mr. Melman’s father was a veterinarian and was employed by President John F. Kennedy. “I can still remember when First Lady Jackie Kennedy would come to our office with her pet. Our office was on Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from the White House. She would come in with her Secret Service escort and her dog.” His father also serviced canine police dogs and Secret Service dogs. “Some of those dogs were tough dogs. One even bit my father’s finger when he tried to check his mouth.”
Mr. Melman Senior owned two animal hospitals. Caring for the animals was a family affair; a tradition Chaim Melman would continue with his own children. “I would help my father with the animals. Now our children help us out. My son is becoming a veterinarian.”
How did it all begin? Paradise4Pets started as a small pet kennel in 1975. “I kept it going for nine years. During that time I met my wife,” Mr. Melman says. Mrs. Melman always loved animals but had very little experience with dogs. “I always loved animals. My parents would say, when you get married, you can get a dog. Little did they know how true that would be. We had 19 puppies born in our home.”
After they got married, the Melmans moved into a house on the land adjoining the kennel. “We lived in that house, isolated from everyone. We had a mobile home and we would drive it over to the Silver Spring Jewish community before Shabbos so we could be near a shul.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 732)