One indisputable fact about running a doggie daycare? The canines definitely outnumber the humans.
I’m becoming suspicious that they know it, too.
(See that knowing look?)
So it’s really important to find and hire just the RIGHT HUMANS for the job.
We get a lot of resumes at WOOF. I think it’s because people have a romantic notion of what it’s like to work at a doggie facility.
(insert self in field, maybe carrying a basket of fruit)
Whenever we interview an applicant, I ask “why do you want to work with dogs?” (Hint, I’m looking for an answer that goes beyond the typical, “Um, because I love dogs!”)
Some of the better answers have included:
I like interacting with them.
I’m interested in dog psychology.
I like to stimulate their minds.
Those are the kinds of answers that intrigue me.
Because, to be honest, it’s a lot of hard work. It takes a lot more than just love to keep a yard with 50-plus dogs clean all day. And it takes more than love to keep them entertained and – more imporantly – safe in the process.
It takes a lot of energy, compassion and commitment.
(And organization. Did I mention organization?)
There are 7 am start times, diarrhea clean-ups and slobber on clothes. When you can love them through all that, then I know you’re right for WOOF.
Our track record of finding these kind of extraordinary people is pretty good, if I do say so myself. 🙂
I updated the staff bios recently on our web site (read them here), and as I was writing them, I realized that it takes a special person to do this job well.
We have a lot of young people in the mix – people who are typically in school, studying to be nurses, psychologists, actors – you name it, we have an employee aspiring to be it. WOOF is their “day job,” a pit stop on their way to their futures.
As I wrote their profiles, I thought about the difference between the present versions of these people versus the people they are striving to become.
I thought about Lauren and Max, for example.
Two of the most genuine, sweetest young people I’ve ever met.
Lauren is in school getting her general education credits toward her nursing degree. Max, who has worked at WOOF through most of high school, is leaving us in the Fall to go to college to study mechanical engineering.
Even though their plates are full with outside goals, when they are at work, they are 100% present for the dogs. They arrive early and stay late. They always take extra shifts. I, on the other hand, can barely get my grocery shopping done.
I find that passion and commitment to the dogs starts from the top down. I’d love to take all the credit, of course!
Look at how the dogs just ADORE me.
But the truth is, it takes a real team to tame the wild and wooly WOOF pack. And I have to hand it to WOOF owner Jacque.
She’s the kind of owner who is here just as much as everyone else. And cleaning and doing the dirty work on top of it.
When your staff sees you not just telling them what the right thing to do it, but doing it yourself, it makes a big difference.
I think the bottom line is, you can’t fake it. It’s obvious when you have a true passion for dogs. And if I ever detect that passion wavering, I know it’s time for someone to move on.
Because the dogs always give us their very best selves.
And they deserve nothing less in return.
Vickie Jean @ WOOF