doggy daycare

Run Tilda... Run!

A few weeks ago Pampered Pooch Playground and Bubbly Paws Dog Wash sponsored the Fast and the Furry 5K and 8K run in St Paul.  This race benefits local pet recuses and is one of our favorite events of the year.  You might have seen some of the PPP Staff running, but what really caught my attention was Matilda the Vizsla, who ran the 8K with 6 minute miles and finished in 4th place!  Matilda is a regular at doggy daycare and she is obviously super fast!  You can read more about her race on her mom's blog.

Have a great day!

Keith

When you don't like it, you build it

For the past 6 months I have been working on a very exciting project... Building custom doggy daycare software.  The program we have been using, was a great program when we opened and the world ran on Windows XP... Since that time, the company that designed the program refuses to support it and there are not many choices for such a small industry.  The program we are using was once the industry standard, but now it just seems like there is a bunch of super glue and duct tape holding it together and I was our IT department when something broke.

About a year ago, we decided it was time for a change, I looked at all the software packages that were out there, and found something wrong with each of them.  Basically, we would have to change our policies or the way we do business to adapt to a software program, rather than having the program adapt to us.  Also, many of the programs could not import our information.  Last summer, we signed up with the leading online dog daycare program and were ready to make the switch... But then I got cold feet, because it was just not what we needed or wanted and the processes did not flow the way we worked!

So after much thought, we decided to create our own custom software program.  I hooked up with a great programmer, that fully understood everything we wanted to accomplish.  For the past few weeks our managers have been using it, and working out any kinks that there might be.  I have to say, I am very excited to start using this program and know our customers are going to love it.  Once we get going, customers will have so much access to information and real time stats to see if there are any openings for doggy daycare.  With this new program, we will also cut down on the amount of paper we use each day, and all of our process will run much smoother.  I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner!

Over the next few weeks, we will begin the transition to this new cloud based package.  Like any new program, there is always a learning curve for our staff so things might take a little longer, but in the end it will be well worth it.  We just put the package through an extensive independent security audit to make sure all the data was safe and we met all PCI guidelines, and it passed with flying colors! In about a month, all of our customers will be able to log in and manage their reservations, buy dog daycare packages, complete the express check in forms, and send us love notes :) (seriously, you can send us love notes, ha).

We are so excited and hope all of our customers are as excited as I am.

What can we learn about customer service

doggy daycare in minneapolis, mn As I am sure you are aware, Pampered Pooch Playground is in the "Service" business.... Not only do we cater to our 4 legged friends at doggy daycare, but we also have to cater to their 2 legged parents!  With every employee we hire, we always stress how important it is to provide outstanding customer each and every time the interact with everyone!  I also personally feel that the art of providing good customer service is a thing of the past.  This was proven to me last week by 2 larger companies.  I don't want to bore you with all the details, so I will share one quick story!

Last week Trycia and Roxy went to pick up more of the doggy ice cream that we ordered for Pampered Pooch Playground and Bubbly Paws from a local wholesaler.  (Side note, we hate to order from wholesalers, and prefer to deal directly with the manufactures when possible as most of the brands we carry are smaller and not found in big box stores).  We placed the order 3 days prior on their website.  When Trycia and Roxy went to pick it up, the order was nowhere to be found.  The receptionist behind the desk tried to make excuses and ended up blaming us for not ordering it correctly (their online system looks like it was built in 1994 and never updated).  Then they had to wait another 60 minutes for someone to walk to the freezer and pick up 20 boxes of doggy ice cream.  Never once did they say "Sorry for the wait".  Since it was hot out, Trycia brought Roxy into their lobby and they both waited there.  While they were waiting I emailed our sales contact there and explained what happened.  after 7 days and 3 emails to him, he never emailed back.  I did mention this on their facebook page, and after some hounding their "marketing manager" contacted me and blamed it all on their old computer system.  Honestly, if they would have offered a $20 credit towards a future purchase would have gone farther with me. This might not be a big deal to many people, but as a business owner, Trycia time is valuable.  There are many things should have been getting done at the doggy daycare, rather than waiting for someone to walk (or in this case crawl really slowly)  to a freezer to get the doggy ice cream! What really annoys me is I have to keep hounding the sales person for a response to my email and say "I'm Sorry"!.  I wish we had another local wholesaler that we can order from, but they are the only ones in the area that carry it and the manufacturer will not sell directly to stores.  I guess when you are a small locally owned business, you are not as important as the big box stores that order millions of dollar each year.

This being said, if anyone ever has an issue, please reach out to me and we will do our best to make it right.

Thanks for all your loyalty and supporting our small business!

Keith

 

Fun Outside at Doggy Daycare

outside doggy daycare in minneapolisOne thing I have noticed when talking with new customers about our doggy daycare is their surprise when we talk about how nice out outside area is.   Outside we have about 3000 SQFT  of space for dogs to run and play, all made up of recycled sports turf.  The turf we used is from an old sports stadium in Arizona!  We love the turf and we are able to keep it much cleaner than traditional grass (which gets muddy), woodchips (that always smell) and gravel (that flies everywhere when dogs run).  We really did put much thought into what makes an AMAZING outside play area that can hold up to a Minneapolis winter.  Now that the weather is warmer we have also turned out the outside webcam so you can check out all the fun.  We take the dogs outside about every hour and they all love getting the fresh air!  When we were looking for buildings, finding one that could handle a large outside play area was very important to us.  I am so glad that we were able to create such an amazing space! Have a great day!

Keith

 

St Louis Park Magazine

St Louis Park - Dog friendly business Roxy gets a bath in Minneapolis

We were proud to be chosen for the cover of the St Louis Park Magazine - Pet edition.  Below you can read the article that featured Pampered Pooch Playground and Bubbly Paws.

Pampered Pooch Playground Owners:  Trycia and Keith Miller Services:  Dog day care, boarding

The tale:

Trycia and Keith Miller launched their dog day-care center five years ago. They initially opened it for their beloved Bernese mountain dog named Roxy.  Today the Millers manage about 95 dogs per day at the Pampered Pooch Playground. They have three separate rooms for canine frolicking, including 11,000 square feet of climate-controlled indoor space and a 3,500-square-foot outdoor area. There are also luxury suites for the extremely pampered pooch.

“Minnesota is unregulated for doggie day care, so it’s a point of concern for dog owners,” Keith Miller says. “Someone could rent any old garage and put 60 dogs in it.” The Millers do everything they can to alleviate worry. Pampered Pooch is the first dog day care in the country to have iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps so owners can watch their pups at play, day and night. There are 11 live webcams streaming from the three playrooms and regular Facebook posts and tweets. The outside play area is made with recycled sports turf, which is ecologically appropriate and, unlike gravel or Astroturf, easy to clean.

“The St. Louis Park pet business network is really supportive,” Keith Miller says. “If someone had a fire or got sick, they could bring their dogs to us or I would go work at their place to help out.” Miller stays current on developments in the doggie care world and is a fan of the “busman’s holiday”: Whenever he travels, he stops by other pet care facilities to take notes on what they’re doing right and what he would like to avoid in his own establishment. “There’s a real difference in big-city day cares,” he notes, adding many have a less than fragrant smell. 7020 Walker St.; 952.922.8183; pamperedpoochplayground.com

Bubbly Paws

Owners: Trycia and Keith Miller Services: Self-serve or full-service dog washing, grooming Hangers-on:  Roxy the Bernese mountain dog

The tale:

Bubbly Paws is the Millers’ laidback little brother to their high-maintenance big baby, the Pampered Pooch Playground. The Millers opened Bubbly Paws two years ago, mainly as place to wash their own Roxy, a 100-pound Bernese whose bulk and thick hair demand an elaborate bathing process. They nabbed a light and airy space in the busy Excelsior/Grand complex and outfitted it with five elevated step-in tubs with shower hoses, a grooming room and a drying room. Customers can bathe their dogs themselves or pay a bit more for a house shampoo.

The Millers are dedicated to the St. Louis Park community and even use a locally made shampoo, which is actually a reformulated horse shampoo. “I like it because it doesn’t smell fake or overpowering,” Keith says. “I mean, I’m a guy, so I couldn’t care less about smelling like flowers.” Nevertheless Bubbly Paws’ grooming services offer plenty of bling for their canine clients, including toenail polish and in one unusual case, a pink polka-dot dye job.

The couple loves the tight-knit animal owning community in St. Louis Park. “People know each others’ dog’s names. Everyone goes to the Dakota dog park and people recognize each other [from the dog park],” Keith Miller says. “I’ve seen love connections happen here. Seriously, if you were a single guy, why wouldn’t you get a dog?” Miller dreams about opening a pet rental business for hopeful single guys hanging around the dog park. In the meantime, “we just have fun here,” he says. “C’mon, it’s a dog wash!” Each month Bubbly Paws gives back to support a different pet rescue organization, donating $5 from each bath, and hosting creatively awesome occasions like doggie yoga and doggie happy hour. 3730 Grand Way; 952.657.5300; bubblypaws.com

Pet Friendly SLP

We also provided St Louis Park Magazine a list of some of the pet friendly businesses in St Louis Park:

Primp Hosts fundraisers for a local pet rescue 1628 West End Blvd.; 952.303.3791; primpyourself.com

Lululemon Stop in with your dog and get a treat 1639 West End Blvd.; 763.545.9069; lululemon.com

McCoy’s Public House Dogs can hang out and get treats on the patio 3801 Grand Way; 952.224.9494; mccoyspublichouse.com

Yum! Free house-made doggie treats 4000 Minnetonka Blvd.; 952.922.4000; yumkitchen.com

The Four Firkins Browse the local beer selection with your discerning pooch 5630 W. 36th St.; 952.938.2847; thefourfirkins.com

Galaxy Drive-In Bring your pooch while you enjoy a superb burger 3712 Quebec Ave S.; 952.277.7777; galaxy-drivein.com

Frattallone's Ace Hardware Great nosing around for dog and man (or woman) 5025 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.456.6630; frattallones.com

Filament Lighting This business provided the lighting for Bubbly Paws 5007 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.926.5007; filamentlighting.com

High Tech Doggy Daycare

doggydatez2Since Pampered Pooch Playground opened we have always tried to stay ahead of technology when so many doggy daycares lag behind.  Part of it is because of my love of technology and how I use it in my personal life.  Today I came across a great article on Mashable about some great smart phone apps that you can put on your phone.  From doggy dating, to your pets records there is something out there.  Click Here to see the article and click through the apps! Have a good night!

Keith

Gustav

Gustav loved having his picture taken while at doggy daycare! Meet Gustav, one of the regular dogs that loves to hang out in the Canine Cove at doggy daycare!  Last week Gustav's dad signed him up for Poochie Pix, which is a new service we just started.  Trycia will have a mini photo session with your pooch while they are at doggy daycare!  Gustav was our first client and he did awesome!

On a side note, Gustav's dad showed up to one of our kickball games last summer with some of his homemade beer!  Wow!!  It was amazing!

Have a good night!

Keith

 

Roxy and Rowdy in Print

Hero Mutts with Wiggle Butts Our good friend Amber (AKA Roxy and Rowdy's mom), just published her first children's book called Hero Mutts with Wiggle Butts!  Can you guess who the stars of the book are???  Yep! Her dogs Roxy and Rowdy who come to doggy daycare!  The hard copy of the book is not out yet, but you can download the digital copy from iTunes.  Just click here for the link.   The other night I read the book to Ambers Roxy and Rowdy along with our Roxy who was sporting the free cape that comes with the book (get it Hero Mutts).  I am so excited to have famous dogs come to our doggy daycare!

Have a good night!

Keith

Extreme Cold Weather Warning

cold weather dogWe put together some tips to make sure your pet stays safe with this extreme cold • Keep your pet inside

• Be sure your pet has enough clean, cool water.

• When walking your pets, make sure to protect their feet with booties. If the paws are cracked Mushers Secret is a good healing cream (booties and cream are both available at Bubbly Paws). My personal favorite are the Ruff wear booties.

• Make sure the short haired dogs wear jackets and sweaters to stay warm. ( Jackets and Sweaters are available at Bubbly Paws)

• Limit your walks to 5 minutes or less.  Dogs paws and noses can get frostbite, just like humans.

• Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time.

• Be careful at local dog parks, many have turned into solid ice.

• Make sure your pooch has a warm place to sleep away from drafts from windows and doors.  Be careful around open flames and electric heaters.

If you see an animal outside without shelter or in an unattended car, call Minneapolis Animal Care & Control immediately -- in Minneapolis, dial 311 (612-673-3000). If you believe the situation to be life-threatening and the animal is non-responsive, please call 911.

Gettin' My Hair Did

Cheech at the Julia Brety Hair Salon in Edina, MNI really love to support customers that support us!  One of our first doggy daycare dogs was Cosi, the French Bulldog and her mom is a hair dresser.  So Trycia and I both go to her to get our hair done.  Her mom, Michaela works at the Julia Bretey Salon at 50th and France in Edina.  When I was getting my hair cut today, I noticed this little puff ball  named Cheech who was sitting so perfectly on a stool.  Cheech belongs to one of the hair dressers there!  I really love going to places that let employees bring their dogs to work!  They have told us that we can Bring Roxy, but I think she is a little too large to sit on that stool :) . So, if you are in need of a great hair stylist that has 2 really cool dogs, call Michaela! Have a great night!