We had the good fortune of connecting with Pat Gallagher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pat, what do you attribute your success to?
Our success has been due to the time we take and the transparency we have with our clients. We create human relationships before we build relationships with the dogs. Our clients trust us with their most prized possession because we take the time to create these relationships. We are not about selling our services but more about selling ourselves as people that our clients can trust to tell the truth no matter what and take the best care possible of their dogs. We’ve turned new business away if we feel that we are not a good fit for the dog and advise the client as to why we are not. If the dog is overly stressed in our environment, we recommend an in house pet sitter as apposed to an environment like ours.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I talked about jumping off a bridge before, that bridge was a 30 career with the same company in sales. Certainly this gave me invaluable experience in marketing my new business but there were still grey areas of running a business that I relied on my manager and SBA for help. I’m sure I made many mistakes along the way but I did have the heart and perseverance to continue through thick and thin. Before I started I enrolled in Animal Behavior College and became a certified dog trainer. I joined every trainers group I could fine, I read many books on behavior and started training before I actually opened the business. Although I had trained my own family dogs in the past, I was amazed at the advancements in dog training. Now following actual behavioral science, modern dog training was starting to study learning theory in dogs and realizing that aversive methods of training were basically just hiding symptoms of deeper issues. The new methodology is to treat the underlying issues as apposed to the symptoms and getting more involved in all behaviors. My business was one of a few boarding and daycare centers that would be owned by a dog trainer. Why this is important? We paid much more attention to behaviors of the dogs in our care and their stress levels so that we could be assured of taking care of BOTH the mental and physical wellbeing of the dog. We have a much better understanding of behavior and signs of stress that can cause issues when dogs become overwhelmed or overexcited. We care for the WHOLE dog, not just the play to exhaustion, physical portion of the dogs behavior. This and the hiring of a staff that fit this culture are definitely the reason for our exceptional reputation. In building this business, of course there were many, many challenging moments throughout our 11 year history, but each was overcome just by refusing to quit and resourcing the issues to a manageable solution. I want our business to be known as ethical and compassionate, My idea of success is how our customers view us. I know I will never get rich with this business, but I will never compromise my integrity and my values.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is no prettier city in the country than San Diego. We would spend most of our time exploring San Diego, the city by the bay. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time over the last 11 years to do some of the exploring that I would love to have done. So a friends trip to the city would be a welcome break and a chance for me to explore as well. When I was in my original career and I had time to spend with my only son, our favorite place to go was San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park. We could spend hours there since his love of animals was as strong as mine. We even took a trip there to ride the zip line just a few years back. He came down to surprise me for Mother’s Day and I wanted to go to our special place, Wild Animal Park with him and ride the zip line. Having been involved in the dog world, my favorite place to go with my dog is Fiesta Island. For dog people this is heaven, Ocean meets city dog park with many other like minded and like hearted people throwing toys endlessly for their favorite dog. San Diego is generally considered a pretty dog friendly city and with businesses like mind that helps our cause immensely.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I chose to jump off a perfectly good bridge to start this business, I had been utilizing a competitor for my own dog care. I met a woman there that really impressed me. That business was going to be closing down within a short period of time and I took the chance on asking this woman if she would be interested in joining me on my new venture as a manager. She added so much to areas of organization from her past experience. She waited nearly four months for my business to get up and running and I so appreciated her dedication to my project. Heidi Anderson is the General Manager at Dog Dayz of California and I would say she is still the one reason that we are still up and running and growing. Every client knows her. Her compassion and care for the dogs is consistently true and honest. She definitely exhibits the true culture of our business and never wavers from our mission statement, “to enhance the lives of dogs and their people”.