Shawna Mann

Grove Sun

Some people in life manage to push through and persevere when faced with life threatening issues. Diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease, local resident Paul Nandico has overcome the odds with the help of his family.

The Nandico family moved to Grove in 1999 for Paul to work in a private mental health practice. A graduate of Abilene Christian University, Paul has a Masters in Psychology. It was later in 2001 when Paul's medical condition changed drastically, almost leading to his death.

His medical issues began at the age of fifteen when he was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. As the years went on his symptoms got worse, and Paul found himself struggling to get stuff done. After visiting a slew of doctors the family grew frustrated when nothing specific could be diagnosed. Paul's dramatic weight loss of over 100 lbs almost lead him to his deathbed. He was hospitalized and a feeding tube was inserted in hopes of aiding his body of nutrients.

“Each bag of solution costs $1000. Every time they would hang one up I would think to myself, there's a new engine for the Mercedes, or something else our family could need,” said Paul

Finally, in 2001, he was diagnosed with MSA, which is a degenerative brain disease with a life expectancy of nine to ten years. Paul is now into his ninth year of the disease. Because MSA is a gradual process the symptoms are slowly noticeable. Paul will comment about certain new symptoms as they come up slowly.

“The first two years were pretty dramatic,” said wife, Donna. “But just like anything in life you have to learn to adapt and have more faith.”

Donna said Paul's condition is growing on their children. They were all pretty little through the roughest times of his illness but still cringe when they see him in pain.

“The girls have grown used to it, but I think there may be some hidden feelings they have,” she observed.

Living day by day and thanking God is what the Nandicos do. Donna said she's the type of person who will project certain instances and prepare for the worse.

“God is in control and we know he will be there with us to get through it,” Donna said confidently.

Paul's brain disease brought a tremendous amount of weight loss, symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease and cognitive issues making it impossible for him to drive. His family went from making a six figure salary to dramatically less.

“I was filling out some paperwork one day and just had the thought about opening up a pet resort,” said Paul.

Pet Haven Resort is family operated by Paul and Donna, 15-year-old daughter Jordan, 14-year-old daughter Rebekah, and Paul's father Paul Sr. Their oldest daughter Tabitha, 19, has moved on to Nursing school.

The unique open design of Pet Haven Resort came from an experience that Donna had when dropping off her own pet at a animal boarding resort.

“The animals were in cages and when we got our dog back she was not the same dog, it was like she was traumatized.” said Donna.

The couple opened their resort in 2004, and it has been a work in progress ever since. Adding rooms for dogs, cat condos and themed rooms. The two-story facility offers each pet its own little haven while its owners are away.

Donna said each pet is pampered, receiving one on one attention and walks every three hours.

Living just next door the family is able to care for the animals continuously.

The close-knit family works together to care for the animals and even help build the facility as time goes on.

Paul Sr. and his wife moved from Georgia when Paul's condition worsened and he said he is the “mud slinger.” Paul Sr. has built a beautiful suite for larger animals with cedar walls and access to an outdoor yard.

The resort is open seven days a week and Paul and Donna offer multiple dog discounts such as a free stay on the seventh day if you book for six days, or a free week if you book a reservation for a month. They welcome non-aggressive dogs both small and large and cats and kittens.

Pampering your pet doesn't have to break the bank either, rates at Pet Haven Resort start at $12 for small dogs and $17 for large dogs.

Cats can enjoy hanging out in the private condos for $5 a night.

The Nandicos have incorporated their Christian beliefs into their business, celebrating Sabbath where they do not charge for services.

“We also support several ministries,” said Donna. “If someone decides to pay us for services on Friday we will donate the money to one of the ministries we support.”

Pet Haven Resort is quietly tucked away off of Highway 10 North and 225 Rd.

For more information, contact the Nandicos at 918-786-4949.