- Shelly Gonzalez
Hey friends! I’ve been trying to write this blog for a while now and I keep swinging between giving you a ton of information that you probably don’t care about vs not being completely clear on what’s going on! I’m going to try be clear, and also not overload you with information!
I am assuming that the biggest changes people want to know about are the prices and hours. After all, those will probably impact people more than the fun add-ons we’ve included.
My hours had to change! Accepting clients from 7am until 9pm means I am working from 6:30am until 9:30 pm, every day of the week. Every week of the year. Forever! That’s 15 hours per day folks, which adds up to 105 hours per week. I can not work for 105 hours per week. I need down time. I want to put on my pjs and relax. I want to turn off “business owner Shelly.” We are accepting daycare dogs as early as 7am during the week (boarding pups can continue to arrive as early as 9am, daily) and we are closing the doors at 7pm, daily. If you are coming home from vacation (or just want to pick your pup up after 7pm) that option is available, for a late-pickup fee (beginning March 1).
Let’s talk about a fun change!! Enrichment games!! We have a number of options that you can add on to your pups stay. We have games for them, puzzle feeders, mid day snacks, and more! I’ve been trying to post more information on enrichment recently because it’s an important part of a dogs life! They need mental stimulation. Our pups are so smart, but they’ve got to be given time to work those noggins. Our enrichment games and puzzle feeders do just that! Almost anything can count as enrichment, and we do try to add enrichment into our daily schedule, but an enrichment game add on gives your dog one on one time with myself or Nyx while they play a thinking game, and their reward is kibble. Sometimes we use special treats, sometimes we use part of their dinner, depending on the dog and their nutritional needs (are they too chubby for extra treats?? do they need smelly treats in order to do extra work??). So far the dogs have been having a lot of fun with the games!
Another change that we made was to our prices. I’ll give you a little extra insight into this one, because I know price increases can make some people really upset. When I began watching dogs it was my “side hustle” to pay bills. I watched a few dogs here and there for friends or neighbors and my prices were comparable to other random people who watched dogs. I’ve never raised my prices. Between then and now, I gained years of experience, bought a building, became licensed, carry insurance that covers all dogs on the property- free of charge for dog owners, joined a professional organization, and have taken many continuing education courses to increase my knowledge so that I can provide the best service that I can. I have had this mental block of not being “one of the big guys.” I consider myself a small little fish over in the corner doing my thing. The reality is, in all of the ways that really matter, I am one of the big guys. I am paying taxes and licensing fees and insurance and educational costs. I have only been charging 62% of the going rate for boarding services in the St. Louis area while offering things that you can’t get at the bigger places. So, after crunching numbers and looking at the future of Arch City Dog Boarding, I realized I needed to make this change. It is so important to me to not out-price my loyal customers, but in order to stay in business I needed to bring us into better alignment with the going rate. I hope you guys can understand!
Did someone say I can add on a video call with my dog??
Yes!! For those pawrents who are missing their pups during a long vacation, you have the option to add on video phone calls, videos, or additional pictures. There are a number of fun add-ons available, check them out when you book your pups reservation!