The Honest Economy: Transparency in Pet Care
At DogBoy's, we have always been trail blazers. When we decided to open up a boarding kennel in the mid 90's where dogs could run and play together, people told us we were crazy. When we decided to structure our pricing so that almost everything was included in our nightly rate, it went against the norm in the industry. When we decided to only take spayed and neutered pets over the age of 6 months, my father said, "Courtney, you'll lose HALF your customers!" (I didn't want that half.) And now, when we were faced with a major outbreak of both bacteria and viruses, we knew just what to do: what no one else would.
Being transparent as a company isn't always easy. But the well being, health and safety of your dogs is so much more important to us than hiding something that could have major financial consequences on our business. Closing down doggy day care for over two weeks, encouraging people to follow their instinct and cancel their reservations if they see fit, and paying for most of the vet bills related to this outbreak has been a very costly ordeal. What is usually a busy time for us, when we squirrel away extra funds to get us through the lean months will mean that we just have to be a lot more creative this fall.
This month, when we sent emails to all of our customers to alert you to the problem, we knew that some of you would worry, and not unnecessarily. Some of you had dogs who were already showing signs of illness. Some of you had dogs who were here and you were worried about their health. Others were about to come in for boarding and wondered if it was safe, or where else you could board on such short notice. And finally, many of you hadn't been in a long time and probably wondered why we were bothering you with this at all. You can see why this would make us all a little worried. But we took a deep breath and sent the information out - to each and every one of our customers.
To my surprise and delight, we were flooded with emails of support and encouragement. Some of you even made me cry! Here is just one example of the responses we received:
On behalf of Doug, Teddy Bear and Conner, I want to express out heartfelt thanks for your courage and willingness to share this information with us.
I have been in human healthcare for 40 years. During an extended portion of my career, I worked in infectious disease epidemiology and infection prevention and control. More than once, I became aware of an exposure situation during which determinations needed to be made regarding which individuals had to be informed. My experience taught me that people respond differently to this type of news and, unfortunately, many responded unkindly (to say the least!). Nevertheless, doing the right thing was always my top priority.
Obviously, doing the right thing is your top priority, as well, and for that, we are grateful. Fortunately, Conner and Teddy Bear appear healthy. That you were willing to share this exposure situation alerts me to the fact that I need to be even more vigilant in keeping my eyes on the boys and how they are acting and feeling.
Receipt of this notification from you is more evidence that I have picked the best place possible for my beloved boys' home-away-from-home. Doug and I are committed to remaining a part of your regular clientele.
Thanks so much to Bart and you for everything and if there is any way I can be of service to you, please let me know.
Ellen E., RN, MT(ASCP), MS
You know, we've always loved you. You and your dogs are our very favorite part of owning a pet care facility (you didn't think it was the poop scooping, did you?). You have become like an extended family to us, and we are so grateful for your loyalty, love and kindness that you show when things like this happen.
I think back to the times when our kids would bring home something from school - strep throat, the flu, even just a common cold. I never blamed the school, but I also never received an email from them, warning me that something was going around (maybe because something always is!). I wasn't happy about it, but I knew that it wasn't the school's fault. Those teachers do an amazing job trying to keep all the kids safe and with clean hands to boot! Sometimes kids just get sick. And sometimes dogs do too.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for caring as much about us as we care about you and your dogs. Thank you for lifting us up when we felt really down, and thank you for being such wonderful people. We think your dogs are pretty cool too! And we promise to continue blazing trails and keeping you informed about each and every thing that goes on within these gates.
If you've never been to the Ranch, and/or would like a private tour with DogBoy or DogGirl
, just click the link & we'll be happy to show you around!
I also want to say a heartfelt thank you to Marcus Sheridan
, the Sales Lion, for reminding me that transparency is where it's at! Watch his moving TEDx talk here on "The Honest Economy