Happy New Year! It’s the first Newsletter of 2023!
In this issue:
We hope you had a fantastic holiday season — judging from how busy we were in boarding, we think many of you did! 2022 was quite a year. (It seems we say that every year now…) and if you didn’t receive Kathy’s New Year email, you can find it here as well.
Thank you for allowing us to help you celebrate the end of year holidays. It has been a busy time for us and since Thanksgiving, we have worked 24-7 to take care of our guests. We are looking forward to having a few days rest this week, but we wanted to take a moment to share some of the things we’ve learned and the adjustments we need to make.
Our New Phone System
We know it was a little chaotic for a few days, but it has helped us tremendously in our day-to-day operations. Still there are a few general notes and reminders:
Points of Contact
Here to drop off or pick up your dog? Please text 847-420-6298.
Need to speak to us? Our voice line is 847-920-8739. Please follow the prompts and leave a message.
We generally cannot answer phones during the day — it is loud and to be honest, our attention must be focused 100% on the dogs. We return calls when we can ensure that everything is safe AND when it is quiet enough to hear.
Many of the calls we get still involve confirming reservations or the status of a reservation. One of the reasons we moved to gingr is so that you can see everything on the system just as we can. So a quick trip to your page might answer your question — no need to call.
Also, in the morning, we are running back and forth to bring dogs in. If you make a reservation at 6:45 in the morning, it is unlikely you will get a confirmation that it has been accepted. We are NOT checking the phones and/or requested appointments at that time. So you can come — most likely we will be able to take you.
So, please remember: gingr is your friend and has most of the information you may be looking for. If not, please leave us a message so we can return your call.
Speaking of dropping off and picking up…
Our apologies, but we must bring up this important safety issue again. We cannot provide a safe place for your dogs or our staff unless you help us.
As you can see in the video below, we need everyone to stay back from the door. Even the sweetest dogs on earth can be unpredictable, and we have lots of wonderful guests who just do not do well outside of our door. Dogs often react entirely differently on leash than off. Many dogs behave completely differently around strangers than they do around family. As long as we have enough space to safely bring dogs inside and outside, everything is fine. So everyone: please stay in your car until we come out with your dog. If you are on foot, please stand back at least 20 feet, whether you are with your dog or alone. All we ask is that you give us enough space to keep everyone safe.
If you are driving to Rex’s Place, you have seen our new drop-off lane in front of the building. When you arrive, please pull as far forward as you can to make room for others behind you. Businesses on our block are flourishing, and we’re thrilled! But traffic is increasing too. In volume and in speed. There are little cars and massive industrial trucks and they all have to use the same space. Cars lining up into traffic create a dangerous situation. If we can get as many cars off to the side as possible, it’s safer for everyone.
We have been asked to ask you not to pull in facing north on our side of the street. With as much traffic as we now have, it’s just not safe. Thank you.
Picking Up from Boarding: Please Note
We cannot bring dogs out from Boarding until 9:00 AM on weekdays. For everyone’s safety, if you are picking up your dog from Boarding during the week (M-F), please do not come to pick up your dog from Boarding until after 9 AM.
New rates and packages for Day Care and Boarding
It seems like we’ve been telling you for a while that our prices are going to be going up and talking out a subscription program. You may have have forgotten, but we haven’t. Still, for a number of reasons, it kept getting delayed. We WILL be implementing new pricing on Monday, February 6th. Until then, you are welcome to purchase packages at the old price.
We will be sending out the pricing information shortly but here’s some things you can expect. After talking to many of you, we realize that day care packages are working for most and we will continue packages as is for Day Care Classic.
Day Care Plus — By Subscription
For Day Care Plus, we are moving to subscriptions. Day Care Plus provides incentive for you to support your dog’s continued progress toward your goals. The positive effect of the consistent reinforcement and engagement in Day Care Plus is only possible when dogs attend regularly over time, whether just one day a week or more often. For that reason, Day Care Plus attendance is reserved for the dogs who can attend regularly.
Subscriptions are monthly packages that automatically renew each month on the day you first purchase them. A subscription gives you a set number of days per month — and you select your dates in gingr — so that your set schedule is automatically billed at a more economical rate.
Speaking of Reservations…
The final word on reservations: Lately, we have had more dogs who don’t have reservations attending than do have them. If you are having difficulty with gingr, please let us know and one of the staff can try to assist you. If you wish to make a standing reservation so that you only need to tell us when you’re not coming and/or changing dates, please let us know and we can help set that up for you. Reservations help us keep staffing levels appropriate for the number of dogs we have and we really appreciate it. We have thought about adding a fee if you don’t have a reservation but we thought we’d ask one more time for your help before doing that.
Complete information about the new pricing will follow shortly. We are not increasing prices just to cover costs; we are looking to perfect the services we offer and, as with most things, that costs money. The increased pricing will allow us to increase and perfect the services we offer, and to retain our staff.
Soon, you will see day care renovations beginning and it is our hope that we can have a client appreciation event to let you all inside. As a reminder, when we first started curbside pick up, we did a client survey to see whether you wanted to keep it or if we should go back to having people drop their pups off inside. The answer was overwhelming with everyone choosing curbside. With COVID, we are still uncomfortable with bringing people inside yet, but we promise we’ll be inviting you in and resuming our tours sometime soon.
New Policies for Boarding With Us
This year has been really difficult as we have had to turn away many people for boarding over the holidays. Yes, we were busy but we also realized there were some fundamental changes which needed to be made in order to accommodate as many of you are we could.
We have long had a policy of higher prices for boarding over the peak periods of Christmas/New Year, Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July. We have always said there is a minimum 3-day stay but we have never really adhered to that. Going forward, for the holidays, there is a 3-day minimum stay.
You will be unable to book reservations for anything less than a 3-day stay, and if you pick your dog up before the end of the 3-day minimum, the entire reservation will be billed. (Early pickups from non-peak period reservations will receive in-house credit for the remainder of the reservation.)
You may remember that we emailed everyone late last year that all of our boarding was full; even though gingr indicated no more reservations, we were inundated with calls from clients looking for last-minute accommodations. And we had none to give. Making things even harder, many clients picked up their dogs early after we had already scheduled staff to handle the full-to-bursting capacity.
We should add at this point that we are almost completely filled for 2023 Spring Break boarding already, and we even have a number of reservations booked for next Christmas/New Year. It is really important to book early for peak periods!
Please know that we do everything we can to accommodate as many as we can fit. Going forward, we will adhere to the three-day minimum stay for peak periods, and we thank you for your attention — and for reserving early!
A Reminder About Feeding
We also want to remind everyone who boards with us that if you do not bring your dog’s food properly contained and labeled, and if you do not have feeding instructions already on file, then there will be a $5 charge per meal to label, portion and properly contain your dog’s food. Large open bags of food will not be accepted. We often get bags of food with no name and we have to try to remember who handed us which bag. And most of the time, we are in the middle of the morning rush with cars lined up.
Stages and More: Training at Rex’s Place
We are so excited to be offering even more training with Hailey and Vanessa. Have you checked out our training offerings? Our Stages program is off and running!
Unlike conventional obedience classes, dogs in Stages work in smaller groups and focus on their own needs, not a prescriptive set of skills. Progression from one Stage to the next moves with the dog’s needs and speed, no sooner and no later. What’s more, if you feel that you or your dog need a refresher on a particular skill, you can get that!
Many of our youngest clients know Hailey from Puppy Skillz Camp where she has helped our youngest visitors learn positive play and socialization in a fun and supportive environment. An ABCDT-certified trainer, Hailey is managing this innovative and holistic training program here at Rex’s Place and we are so lucky to have her! We profiled Hailey for you in an earlier newsletter; you can read that piece here.
We’re often told “My dog knows all of the commands so I don’t need this.” To that we ask: how long can they sit? How long can they wait? Training for dogs is the same as learning for people. It is a lifelong commitment and they can always learn. Secondly, it should be fun and something for you and your pup to do together. Currently, Stages 1 is open for enrollment. Classes begin later this month and you can register on your gingr account. More levels will open for enrollment as we go.
Good Clean Winter Fun
If you have thought about ways to keep active and stay out of the cold and the gray, might we suggest Agility? Rex’s K9 Sports Arena is the premier facility in this area for active dog sports, and our instructors are truly beyond compare. There are beginner classes starting now, almost one for every day of the week.
Fun With Your New Puppy
In addition to our Puppy Skillz Camp in Day Care, the Arena offers you fantastic energy outlets and ways to build a wonderful, positive bond with your newest family member!
Puppy Agility — there is no better way to put that boundless energy to good use! Jim Bahr will be starting up a Saturday class shortly — you can sign up on gingr now!
AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Class – Hailey brings her expertise on Fridays to this class that leads to S.T.A.R. certification. You can register on gingr and learn more about the AKC S.T.A.R. program here.
Coming in February: Urban Ratting!
Urban ratting scent work is a safe, fulfilling scent work activity for dogs of all breeds and ages that builds upon dogs’ ancient hunting instincts to provide brain stimulation and enhance the dog-human bond, and it’s safe and fun — for the rats, too! (Yes, there are real rats, and no, they are not harmed or abused in any way.) Urban ratting is appropriate for dogs from the age of 10 months. This class will meet for six weekly 1-hour sessions.
Megan Renner has been working and competing with dogs for over a decade and is a certified Canine Sports Trainer. She will be bringing this class to Rex’s K9 Sports Arena for a 6-week class that will begin next month. You can also attend a demonstration and workshop (with or without your dog) at the Arena on January 28 (Saturday) to learn more! Reservations are required and participation is limited, with 3 one-hour sessions available beginning at noon. You can register here. Feel free to watch a video demonstration here.
Finally…want to brighten your day?
For all its faults, social media actually has the power to improve the quality of our lives. Case in point: have you seen us on Facebook and Instagram? Our
Facebook and Instagram feeds carry important notices but most of all, they are full of adorable photos and videos! Chloe, our house photographer and social media boss, takes loads of images and loads them up daily. You won’t be disappointed! (And you might also learn important information on us quickly, too!)
Check us out:
Rex’s Place on Facebook
Rex’s Place on Instagram
That’s it for this issue! We hope you have found what you have read here interesting and informative! See you back here in a few months!