DogBoy's Dog Blog

The Honest Economy: Transparency in Pet Care

Posted by Courtney Emken on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 08:08 AM

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.
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Topics: customer praise, Wellness, DogBoys Family

New Beginnings

Posted by Community User on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 @ 00:10 AM
[caption id="attachment_291" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Goodbye, sweet boy."][/caption]

I'm new at this word press thing - blogging is fun, but I'm no expert. So I hope you like the new look. And I'm planning more fun things for the blog so check back soon and often.

Last week, we said goodbye to a dear friend - our old boy Pepper, aka Sam from the Austin Humane Society.  He was our Nervous Nelly, our T-storm dog, with the mystery hack, his own stress bucket, and near the end, a bit of Doggie Alzheimer's.  We'd find him barking into the closet, pacing all night, sleeping all day, and falling down was unfortunately an all too familiar site.  But through it all, he got 11 good years with us (15 total) to stretch his legs and be free, and we got one helluva great dog.  We'll miss you, Boy.

DogBoy Jr. was a complete and total trooper.  He wanted to be a part of saying goodbye every step of the way.  So at his request, we took him out of school, and he said goodbye his way, with lots of love, tears, and a heavy heart.  I can't tell you how proud I was of him for being so grown up about it.

DogGirl Jr. was another story.  She had been wanting a new dog for months (after we said no to a hamster, a horse, and a miniature horse), and our excuse was always that we couldn't - because we had to take care of Ol' Pep Pep.  Well, once Pepper was gone, she wasted no time pulling up every local rescue site she could find online.  She was determined to get her new dog now!  Thankfully, we're bigger fans of delayed gratification than DogGirl Jr.  After thoughtful consideration, and much support from friends, we decided that a 3 month period of doing her chores - consistently, would earn her our undivided attention and help finding the perfect furry fit for our household.

[caption id="attachment_293" align="alignleft" width="135" caption="Contessa Free Love"][/caption]

Not just any old dog will do, mind you, as our canine clan already comes equipped with it's own set of quirks.  First there's Tessa, the butter eater, our sweet old Yellow Lab, who gets along with everyone but puppies.  As long as you're not jumping up tugging at her ear, she will let you do almost anything to her.  Just the hint of her name, and she comes running - Did you want something, Mom?  You want to pet me, don't you?  But behind that uber-loving personality, you'll see her true nature.  Trash eater, fence fighter, counter surfer, and UPS van chaser, this lovable fur ball won't let you stay mad long, because she's just so damn sweet.

[caption id="attachment_300" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Rebelina, aka Marmaduke"][/caption]

Next comes our Dane/Lab mix Rebel who deserves an entire blog post all to himself.  Like our other two pups, Rebel was found on Crystal Bend Drive, but his story is a wee bit different.  We didn't just find him; we found his owner dumping him - at the age of only three months!  Apparently, he was rebellious (No, a puppy - rebellious?), and his owner thought he was better off on the street than at a shelter.  After we had words with his former owner (and after I called the cops on him), we decided to keep the poor guy.  Mr. Handsome, aka He Who Barks at the TV, is gloriously soft and hopelessly sweet, but can be a real turd with other overly enthusiastic dogs.  At the Dog Ranch, he is fondly referred to as an Orange Card dog, which means he can't be put with just anyone...But when you see him sit pigeon-toed, and tuck his little nub of a tail under when he sits on cold tile, you can't help but love the Marmadukian qualities in him.

[caption id="attachment_295" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Noodle Doodle"][/caption]

And last, and actually least in size and stature, is my little angel Noodle.  Our little 9 pounder, the Chiweenie - Senor Schnitzel, as we like to call him, is one tiny bundle of trouble.  This one wandered right up to the driveway, and was too small to throw back into the wild...Oh yes, he's a snuggler, and quite the french kisser, I might add (ewww!), but at night when the family sleeps, he is busy eating childrens' library books, and chewing holes in leather furniture.  In a group, away from his bad mommy, he seems to do fine with other dogs.  On a leash, however, he becomes a Napoleonic Kujo, and then squeals like a stuck pig when a dog says he's not afraid.  What a big baby - but I love him like I have never loved a dog before.  He is my little hero.  And you should see him on the agility field - amazing!

I know how this looks - the family of a dog trainer with imperfect pups?  You remember the pastor with the wild children, right?  Or the teacher who's kids can't spell?  So here's your proof - we're human...and we're working on it!  The point is, that finding the perfect fit for our family won't be easy, and yes, I'm sure our new dog will come with their own little set of paw-printed baggage.  But we will love her (yes, it will be a her) with all our hearts, big, small, and fur-covered.  The countdown begins!
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Topics: Uncategorized, DogBoys Family, New Dog, DogBoy's Staff, getting a new dog, rescue, death of a dog

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