Ollie Bode is hanging up her leashes at one of valley’s oldest dog kennels
One of the longest-running dog kennels in the Roaring Fork Valley is hanging up its leashes.
Alpine Meadow Ranch and Kennel owner Ollie Bode sold her 9-acre property in Holland Hills east of Basalt and will close the kennel June 1. For 26 years she provided a vital boarding and day care for pet owners. She recently decided she’s barking up the wrong tree.
“The thing I realized after I injured myself last year, I just don’t have that edge anymore,” she said.
Bode chipped a tibia when a dog knocked her over in the doggie playground on the property. She fell a couple of days later while walking on crutches. Although the physical injuries have healed, the will to continue is broken.
The injuries made her move up plans to retire. Bode said she plans to remain in the Roaring Fork Valley and also undertake some well-deserved travels. She has been “kennel-bound” for too long. She took two bona fide vacations in her 26 years running the kennel, she said, but she’s not complaining.
“Every day was a vacation with the dogs,” she said.
The former schoolteacher said hanging with the animals was like getting new students in a classroom each year. There are all sorts of different personalities to keep you amused and on your toes.
At the kennel, she’d get everything from dogs that would chase the tennis ball until they dropped to shy dogs that would obediently follow her around to young Turks that loved to play ruff, er, rough.
She claimed in an April 2011 interview with The Aspen Times that there are no bad dogs; some just don’t know their boundaries or they’re trying to figure them out, sometimes when owners don’t set them well. Her view hasn’t changed.
“There still are no bad dogs,” she said.
Some people have likened Bode to the dog whisperer. She believes she just figured out how to connect with dogs through patience and caring.
“I think I figured out dog language,” she said with a laugh.
Many of her regular canines loved a trip to what resembled doggie camp.
“I send them home tired,” she said. “They’ll be muddy but they’ll have a good time.”
Bode also provided a sanctuary for 18 years for dogs in regional facilities that didn’t have no-kill policies. She stopped once she was convinced those policies had evolved and so many other rescue organizations had appeared.
She also found her regular human clients to be some of the most “loving, caring and kind people” she has ever met. She said what she will miss most is the connection with the clients — the adventures they would take, the kids growing up and, of course, the evolution of their dogs. Seeing so many dogs die over the years brings a certain level of angst, she acknowledged.
Bode’s 9 acres are on high ground near the Arbaney-Kittle Trailhead. It’s got a commanding view of the midvalley. There are two pastures, an irrigation ditch, a greenhouse, the dog kennel and other outbuildings. The property also was a kennel for a considerable time before Bode bought it, back to 1966, she said.
A neighbor bought the property. Bode said she is relieved that the parcel will be kept intact rather than divided, but she believes the kennel is history.
She has until mid-September to vacate. She doesn’t plan to throw a big party for her canine and human friends. It’s not her style, she said. She’s started the process of going through 26 years of accumulated stuff. She figures she will be sorting stuff and deciding what to keep and give away right up to the day she leaves.
“I’ve always worked better under pressure,” Bode said.
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