About Us

South Paw Acres is located inside one and one-half acres of securely fenced grass yard, complete with a pond to swim in, outdoor toys to exercise with, and mature shade trees to relax under. Two separate buildings are climate controlled year-round for comfortable indoor living.

Dogs have a choice of soft beds to stretch out on, or are welcome to lie on the cool rubber flooring. Lots of toys and hands-on attention keep your baby happy and pampered all day long. Only positive reinforcement techniques are utilized with the dogs. Soothing music is always on to promote a calming atmosphere.

A maximum of ten dogs at any one time ensures your fur-baby gets quality attention and lavish affection throughout his stay. Typical staff-to-dog ratios are 10:1 at the most. The dogs are housed with compatible temperament and activity levels in mind.


Benefits for Dogs

Dogs are social animals by nature.

They thrive with other dogs in their lives. Through their interactions, dogs at South Paw Acres learn how to deal with other dogs, how to get along peaceably, and learn appropriate play skills, both with people and canines.

Daily exercise helps improve overweight dogs’ metabolism, and gives many high-energy dogs a way to release their pent up energy. Many dogs who only see their owners everyday can learn to trust other people they meet through interactive daycare. Dogs that have never had a chance to try swimming can explore the pond and learn to swim by watching other dogs play in the water.

Benefits for Owners

The old saying, “a tired dog equals a happy owner” is very true after time spent at South Paw Acres. SPA dogs are simply too tired to chew furniture, jump on the baby, bark at the neighbors, chase the cat, or otherwise get into mischief. And time spent at SPA can benefit younger dogs still needing to learn the finer points of housebreaking – without ruining your carpet!

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SPA Team


Faye Nowell


Faye is a Columbia native, and has always loved dogs. Over the years she has served as guardian to a variety of dogs, fostered many others, and has helped local shelters find forever homes for canines in need. She volunteered with the Central Missouri Humane Society for many years, and served on their Board of Directors. Currently she is active with No Kill Columbia – The Spay Neuter Project, which offers low cost high, quality spay and neuter services in the mid-Missouri area.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation & Park Administration from the University of Missouri, Faye practiced for over 13 years as a Recreational Therapist at local hospitals and social service agencies. In the late 90’s, she answered an ad for a woman wanting a dog sitter on the days she worked long hours. The job was fun for both Faye and the dog. After doing some research on doggie day care facilities around the country, Faye realized Columbia might be big enough for a doggy day care business to thrive. Once she found the perfect piece of land, she opened South Paw Acres in August of 2001. She has been pampering lucky dogs ever since.


Robin Diebold


My journey to dog care was a round-about one. After graduating from Rolla with an engineering degree, I moved on to earn my master's in education. After which, I taught English at high schools in Japan for a few years. Not being able to have a dog in my tiny apartment was enough for me to seek out a dog shelter to volunteer my time. I loved it so much that I went into dog care and training upon returning to the United States.

Not only am I staff member here at South Paw Acres, but I am also a certified professional dog trainer and the Headmaster of Dogwarts - a school for dogs! If your dog needs training, we can help!


Zoe Robinson

Kennel Attendant

I am a fourth year undergrad at Mizzou, studying wildlife science. I am, like a lot of us, one of those people that prefers the company of animals over humans. I have worked at animal shelters and pet sit on the side. I love meeting new dogs and learning their personalities. Although I don't have a dog of my own, I absolutely adore my cat, Sesame. Outside of school and work, I love hiking, camping, wildlife photography, and caring for my dozens of houseplants!


Leigh Coonelly

Kennel Attendant

I am a current veterinary student at Mizzou, and I decided to join the SPA team because I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with dogs! I love the endless amounts of love and happiness the dogs bring to work everyday and how each dog I meet has a unique personality that I get to learn. I have multiple years of experience working with dogs: from volunteering at shelters, pet sitting, and even working at an emergency animal hospital! I am well-versed in pet care and my education as a vet student helps me take care of your pups!

Outside of school and work, I enjoy running, cooking, hiking, and spending time with my own pets (two rats, a tarantula, a beta fish, and my roommate's cat)!

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Lauren Twombly

Kennel Attendant

I am a senior at Mizzou studying Fisheries and Wildlife. I am super passionate about animals and food. I have two pets, a dog named Winnie and a Golden Tree-frog named Ginkgo. I also keep many house plants. In my free time I hike, read books, watch a lot of tv, and frolic in fields.


I have worked with dogs personally and professionally my whole life. I think dogs are super unique animals because of their style of communication. If you are around enough dogs, you can start to understand what they are trying to say. This makes working with them so much more interesting! I love each and every one of your dogs, and would be happy to dog-sit or help out with them whenever you need. Just reach out!

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Grey Davis

Kennel Attendant

My entire life, I've spent more time with animals than people. When I was a child, there were always dogs running around the house, and when I got older, I added chickens, fish, and reptiles to the mix. Now, I live with two cats, and I hope to adopt a dog of my own soon! In the past, I worked with cattle, pigs, and horses, so I was really excited to begin this new adventure with dogs. I hope to progress my career with animals by training to be a dog groomer in the future.