Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Giving The Boot :( some words about safety at Fort Fido


(Now no, I don't mean literally... And yes, not all Jack Russells are naughty hellions lol)

"I'm sorry, but your dog can not attend daycare here anymore"

That is the hardest thing we ever have to say to a customer of Fort Fido. That being said, it is also what we believe makes us one of the best Doggy Daycare Centers on the planet. :)

We get to know our daycare dogs very well. How much play they can handle, what type of play they can engage in, what other dogs they can play with, whether or not they are toy possessive, have prey drive, etc… The list goes on and on.

We run a tight ship around here AKA our day is very structured, very routine for our daycare dogs. Some may think we have too many rules but this enables us to keep the utmost level of safety for your pets while they attend.

The assessment process is our first safety measure. It allows us to determine if a dog is suitable for socialization with the pack. Many folks don't want to fill out a five page application if they know their dog won't pass an assessment. Many people just pop-in or call up the day of thinking they can drop off any old dog at anytime. Fortunately that is not how it works here. Most people know their dog well. When a dog is here with us, it tells no lies... Sometimes ratting out its owners. If someone isn't truthful on the application we usually know within a matter of minutes. We know if your dog has been socialized, whether or not it has separation anxiety, what caused it, etc… There are exceptions to this but they are rare. We also use our own dogs as the new-dog-first-greeting-guinea-pigs.

In the beginning, our assessment day was free. For about four years now that hasn't been the case. We’ve adopted a $25, nonrefundable, assessment fee. Most don't want to spend $25 if they know their canine companion is a Cujo and won’t pass its assessment.

Here at The Fort we have breed restrictions and also have strict rules about unaltered pets. These two polices are just another tier of our many safety precautions.

In the end, dogs are animals, accidents can happen and unpredictability rears its head every so often. However, with our wonderful system in place we undoubtedly decrease the possibility of incidents/injuries.

We also tell people that our assessment process is ongoing. Just because a dog got along ok one day, for four hours, doesn't mean it will workout indefinitely. Life happens, people’s situations change, often times our animals will act out in various ways when life-changes occur. We do our best to keep the lines of communication open with our customers and our employees. We keep customers informed and updated on any issues we may be having with their pet. Nobody likes surprises in the negative category. Nine times out of ten, a customer will know that their dog is on its way out unless we can get its issues resolved. To stay connected with our employees, we chat with each of them before their shift to get them up to date on the days events. We also have communication boards throughout the facility with notes to over emphasis certain information.

Sometimes we can get a negative situation under control, especially if the customer is upfront, honest and willing to work with us (we highly respect that). Other times we have to say it, what I personally dread. “I'm sorry, but your dog can not attend daycare here anymore". We never want or mean to hurt anyone’s feelings but sometimes it must be done, as stressful and awkward as it is. It is all for the safety of the pack. It is always all about the dogs here at Fort Fido and we'd rather head a sticky situation off at the pass then have to send home hurt pooches and vet bills. Talk about awkward!

Thanks for reading,

-Grant

P.S. The most uncomfortable "Giving of The Boot" I ever had, was telling a kind, frequent and loyal customer of several years that their dog could no longer attend. Folks get upset, I fully understand because I do as well. Many do not realize that we have agonized over the decision for quite sometime before it is made and that it is final once made. It's not a fun task, nor does it feel good for us or our business in that moment. I reiterate, it is for the good of the whole, the pack comes first!

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