Kathy’s New Year Letter for January 2023

Rex's Place, Rex's Boarding House, Rex's K9 Sports Arena

Looking Back — Looking Ahead

Dear Clients,

First, I want to wish a Happy New Year to everyone.

What a wild ride 2022 has been! This year has seen us buy our building, open the Arena and start to build a strong foundation for the future. What comes next?

Our tenant will be leaving in April and then we will be taking over that space and renovating the day care. The renovation will include:

  • A dedicated training area
  • A dedicated medical/service area
  • A new and improved ball room
  • New floors
  • A new entrance

We are excited to be offering some new classes and programs:

  • Stages 2
  • Nose ratting (an exciting variation on nose work)
  • We will continue exploring agility and the way it helps dogs and their owners bond
  • We will be forging a partnership with the Evanston Animal Shelter. A part of that will include monthly donations to the Shelter to help feed the pups in their care. If you would like to be part of that program, just let us know.

We will be changing our pricing (something we thought we’d be doing earlier this year) and moving to a subscription program for DayCare Plus. In talking to owners, it seems like the Classic packages are working, so DayCare Classic will remain the same (i.e., packages and daily pricing). Because Day Care Plus requires commitment and consistency, subscriptions will support those objectives. Pricing information will follow in a separate email, and in the next Newsletter.

On March 1, we will have been in business for 13 years! It is inconceivable to me that we have come this far in what seems a small amount of time. First let me say that meeting all of you (owners and dogs) has been the highlight of my life. I would not have imagined being able to have fun while working and meeting such incredible families.

The reality of it hits me when I see your children (who I saw in car seats at the start of their lives) actually driving up to drop off their dog. It caught me by surprise the first or second time it happened, and now I’m able to just relish the joy of seeing the growth of our relationship with you and your dog.

We have seen dogs come as puppies and leave us either way too soon or after a long, fantastic life. We are proud to have been a part of those chapters.

There is another part of our bond with all of you for which I am so very grateful. As many of you know, most of our staff has been with us for over a year, and a lot of our staff members have been with us for multiple years. In an industry where the average length of employment is a mere six months, that is really notable. I have worked hard on retaining our team members. Our pay is well above industry averages, and I invest in their training and professional development. Rex’s Place is continuing to expand benefits for our staff and to encourage their sense of ownership in our mission. But I also cannot overlook your generosity. So many of you have thoughtfully sent the staff gifts and other demonstrations of your appreciation and support. That, too, is not typical of our industry. We are all aware of our bond, not just with your dogs, but with you and your families. And we are all deeply grateful that you see and appreciate the team at Rex’s Place.

As with any expansion, we know there are times we’ve not lived up your (and our) expectations. We have tried our best and will continue to do so.  We realize that moving administrative functions to Gingr took away a little of that “personal touch”; however, we are grateful for the transparency it provides you in terms of setting appointments, seeing past stays and verifying invoices. We know Gingr has been difficult for some and, in those cases, Bailey (our Training Ambassador) is there to help. For us, the most important thing is seeing you and your dogs living lives together that are better than they would have been otherwise.

We are focused on the safety and health of your dog, helping them become the companion you want and need. We are striving to ease a bit of your pressure and giving you peace of mind, knowing that you can do what you need to do and we will watch your dog while you are gone.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting us with this most precious member of your family. I want to thank you for supporting our small local business and helping my staff and me to grow our skills and expertise doing what we love.

Finally, I want to thank you for being the best part of this business. We would not exist without you.

With gratitude and best wishes for 2023 on behalf of everyone at Rex’s Place,

Kathy, Seaquel, Picasso, Jet and Rex (waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)