JUST WEST OF ROCHESTER ON HIGHWAY 14 IS A MAJESTIC STRUCTURE HOUSING A LOCALLY OWNED PET STORE AND BOARDING FACILITY, LEASHES & LEADS. FOR YEARS I’VE HEARD ACCOLADES FROM FRIENDS, PRAISING THE BUSINESS FOR ITS PET TRAINING AND BOARDING SERVICES. I’VE ALWAYS INTENDED TO VISIT BUT NEVER MADE THE TIME UNTIL READING “NELL’S WAY,” A BIOGRAPHY WRITTEN BY LOCAL AUTHOR CINDY MENNENGA, WHICH RECOUNTS THE LIFE OF NELL MONTGOMERY MITCHELL—THE HEART AND SOUL BEHIND THE CONCEPT AND SERVICES PROVIDED BY LEASHES & LEADS.
DEDICATED TO SERVING OTHERS
Published in November 2017, “Nell’s Way” is a beautiful tribute to a woman whose life was guided by her faith, an unwavering love of family, and a dedication to improving the lives of others. In addition to being the financial backer who gave life to Leashes & Leads, she was actively involved in all aspects of the business’ philosophy, epitomized in the family-friendly feeling one gets when visiting the property.
High on the walls of the Leashes & Leads store are photos of Nell, her husband, Jack, and Nell’s parents, signaling a welcome home feeling to all who enter. While the store offers a large variety of pet supplies, the primary focus of the business is service over sales.
The fundamental theme, “Where People and Pets Come Together,” is an evident aspect of the Leashes & Leads experience, and this is largely due to Nell’s vision of creating a community where people could come with their dogs—maybe utilizing the boarding facilities by day while attending appointments at Mayo Clinic—then unwinding at day’s end with a game of fetch.
DOGS AND HORSES
Opening in 2008, Leashes & Leads has grown into a premier facility, training more than 2,000 dogs each year. Their services now include agility, tricks, and competitive training, as well as Doggy Daycare, grooming, an on-site veterinarian, pet supplies and a boarding facility.
Last October, Nell’s vision was expanded with the opening of an equine park, complete with stabling, training and riding lessons. The final stage of development—a gated community named Montgomery Meadows—recently listed the first 14 lots and, when fully developed, will include walking paths, horse trails, on-site stables and an equine training facility. In keeping with Nell’s vision and last wishes, the gates entering Montgomery Meadows will read, “Welcome Home.”
Cindy Mennenga holds a degree in English and is a freelance writer and owner of MedCity WordCraft, LLC. She conducted more than 30 interviews in the writing of “Nell’s Way” and says learning Nell’s story and the background behind the creation of Leashes & Leads was “hands-down the highlight of my professional career, to date.”
Of the interviews with those closest to Nell, all of whom attested to the generous and loving woman she was, Mennenga summarizes, “Nell was love: she gave and received love freely and the world is a bit smaller and sadder today without her here being a ray of sunshine in everyone’s life.”
Nell’s “way” was to lift up those around her. Even while dealing with the passing of her husband or the trials of battling cancer, she never stopped extending herself to support those fighting their own strife, and her legacy lives on as her family continues developing the community with the fundamental principles of family and faith.
Fifty percent of all profits from sales of “Nell’s Way” go to the Montgomery Meadows Equine Scholarship Fund to assist children with riding lessons. Pick up your copy of “Nell’s Way” at Leashes & Leads (also available at Amazon.com) and while there, schedule an appointment to tour the facility—you won’t regret it!
Catherine H. Armstrong is the author of “The Edge of Nowhere” and forthcoming young adult title “In My Shoes” (2019), inspired by Rochester’s homeless community.