It’s Our End-Of-Year Newsletter!
Welcome to our year-end newsletter! We are so excited; Evanston has come through the worst of the pandemic — EvanSTRONG for sure! — and for the first time in almost two years, we are moving into something that feels like normal again! We are humbled and grateful to come through the challenges of this crisis in such good shape, thanks in no small part to all of you. And we really do believe that the best is yet to come! Speaking of which… we have news for you!
In this issue:
- Get to know our team members who train your pups!
- Find out what’s going on at our building…lots in store!
- Get tips and lots of info on winter safety and comfort for your pup!
- For our boarding clients: we have important info, updates, and reminders for you.
Learning is So Much Fun!
Meet our training staff specialists
In this newsletter, we would like to introduce you to Troy and Hailey, two of our staff members who handle Day Care Plus, Play & Train, and Puppy Skillz. They keep the pups “on their paws”, and they are challenging themselves as well as they pursue their training certifications.
Originally from Indiana, Troy lived all over the US before locating in the Chicago area. Years ago, while he was volunteering at a local shelter, he began walking dogs professionally, a career that lasted 10 years until the
pandemic. With 99% of his clients suddenly home all day, Troy ended up at Rex’s Place. (Yet another pandemic silver lining for us!)
Troy works with our youngest clients in Puppy Skillz, helping them build healthy socialization skills and a strong foundation in basic obedience and manners.
Hailey, meanwhile, had been looking to leave corporate life and was seriously considering going to school to learn dog training. When she applied to Rex’s Place, Kathy told her about the plans for Day Care Plus. The timing could not have been better; it was a perfect fit.
Hailey works with Day Care Plus dogs in small groups, engaging them with basic obedience activities as well as intellectually stimulating activities such as nose work, puzzles, environmental exploration and more. For dogs who need more than just play time with other dogs, or who do better in smaller groups, Day Care Plus is a fantastic option.
She also runs the Play & Train sessions throughout each day with Jacque Achkinson and Madison Morton. Every Play & Train session is tailored to the dog’s target behaviors, giving them one-on-one, individualized attention with a report each day to the dog’s family, informing them what their dog worked on that day and how they can reinforce that work at home. It’s no surprise that, for someone working to earn training certification, these sessions are among her favorite parts of the working day.
One of the ways Rex’s Place supports our staff is by encouraging their growth and development in the pet services industry and paying for their continuing education and professional development. Not only does it help them with their work, it helps us retain staff and get away from the six-month turnover that is typical in this industry. We are excited to announce that both Troy and Hailey were accepted into the degree program at the Animal Behavioral College. They expect to earn their certification within the next 8 months. Then they will go for the big one — the CCPTD certification, which is a really big deal in the training world. Initially, their coursework is online; after a few months, they move onto externships with mentors, volunteer hours at local shelters, and then their final exams. Another perfect fit — working with dogs, putting their educations into practice — for these team members.
Building Out: The Future of Rex’s Place
You may have noticed some changes on our block lately; the auto repair shop at the south end of our building has moved to another location, and Rex’s Place purchased the building and is taking over that space in addition to our existing area.
So what are we going to be doing in there?
After a lot of construction (converting the space is rather involved), we have some really exciting plans.
The K9 Sports Arena will offer agility classes and competition, nose work, fitness classes, rally, conformation and more. We are hoping to even have a national trial or two. We have secured five coaches, all of whom have won titles and will help anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of working with your dog to “greatness.” We are really excited that so many factors are falling into place to allow us to create this opportunity. We will bring you pictures and video as it all develops.
And in the future?
No one can predict anything, that’s for sure. But with a lot of hard work, really anything is possible — after all, we made it through the worst pandemic in history — so we are thinking way ahead. We know what we would really like to do. It will involve approval from the City of Evanston and some serious work with the Zoning and Health Departments, but eventually, we want to open a dog-friendly café or pop-up shop on Ashland, where our clients, those with feet and those with paws, can gather and socialize in safety. It’s a long way off, but that’s what we’re aiming for! Let us know what you think!
None the Worse for Wear: Winter Care Tips for Your Dog
With temps dropping and white stuff falling, we asked Galdy of Grooming by Galdy for some input on what he feels is most important for dogs in winter. We’re including some of our discussion here for you.
Rex’s Place: Galdy, if you pick just one thing to stress to dog “owners” about taking care of their dogs in the
winter, what would it be?
Galdy: You know, as much as I think most people would think winter boots are the most important thing, really, it’s much simpler. The single most important thing you can do for any dog in winter is to brush your dog. I know it sounds like a “groomer” thing to say, but I’m serious: the added moisture and salt and slush just mat the dog’s hair so quickly.
Rex’s Place: Really? They get mats from the weather?
Galdy: Oh yes. And those mats don’t just hurt the skin, you know. Matted hair can’t floof up, it can’t trap extra air, it just felts up and pulls. Without that extra air in the coat, they have no protection against the cold, or against more rain or snow. It doesn’t matter what kind of coat the dog has, and it doesn’t matter if they’re slick or fluffy. If they can’t puff out their hair, they suffer.
Rex’s Place: So how often should we brush them?
Galdy: At least once a week, and definitely every time they get water or snow on their coats. It does so much to help them weather the elements.
What kind of brush or comb to use?
If you’re wondering what kinds of grooming tools to use when brushing your dog, we asked someone who spends a lot of time with dog brushes and brushing dogs. Jeannie Sanke owns Knit Your Dog, the Evanston company that’s gone viral for turning dog hair into clothes and accessories. When we asked what kind of tools she recommends, she was unequivocal: whatever the dog likes.
“The bottom line is, whatever the dog tolerates best is what you’ll get the most cooperation from,” she said. “If you’re harvesting, like my clients do, then slicker brushes have great advantages, but the main thing is to go slow, and use whatever the dog likes best or resists least. The main thing is to go in the direction of the hair, and if you hit a mat, work on it the same way you work on a tangle in a child’s hair. Take your time and loosen it bit by bit.”
What does Jeannie use? For her Chow Chow, she has a slicker brush and a comb with rotating tines. During coat blow, she also has a rake to help loosen the undercoat.
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’
With snow and ice comes salt, at least in urban areas. Sure, it melts ice…and rusts cars…and burns paws… At Rex’s, we never use salt. We only use pet-safe ice melts. But just a few feet from our door, the City spreads rock salt on our street and every other street in town. And that salt gets tracked and scattered all over.
There are two options for dealing with salt and paws: coatings and boots. Many people swear by coating their dogs’ paws with products such as Musher’s Secret. The trick is to wipe it all off before tracking it all over the house.
Boots work great for some dogs and not at all for others. And they are a highly personal choice. We’re including some summaries here so you can read up on them at your leisure.
- Insider reviewers list their choices here (their article contains affiliate links)
- The AKC surveyed several professionals to produce this overview
- To read more on protecting dogs’ paws, Dogster and Petfinder collaborated on this information
- The Dodo spoke at length with a vet in New York City on the topic
- Purina assembled a very good overview of general winter safety tips for dogs
- And finally: if you’re having trouble keeping your dog amused during the winter, or if you just feel like you and your pup aren’t bonding enough during the cold, short days, keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages — we’re preparing something we think you’ll really like. At least Seaquel and Picasso seem to think so. That’s right: they told us they like it. Stay tuned!
A Couple of Boarding Reminders…
We are so glad that we are able to provide boarding for our pups while you are away. After a year and a half of having little or no boarding, we are back to being fully booked. During the down time, we ignored our cancellation policy if people made changes to their plans, but now that things are back on track, we need to put it back into action. Why? We are regularly turning people away because we are fully booked. If your trip is cancelled and you cancel your boarding reservation, we lose the ability to fill that space.
Another thing we have learned from recent experience is that many people are cutting their boarding short. If you book a 7-day stay but your dog only stays for 3 days, that’s 4 days that we are left with open space and no revenue to pay our bills. In most cases, we have turned customers away during that time, so they have not been able to board and we lose the revenue. Many other places bill their customers for the full cost of the original reservation. We only bill for the actual time spent with us, but it is costing us a lot to do it. And as we showed you above, we are using the money we earn to invest so your pup has a better experience.
In short: when you call us and ask to pick your dog up early from boarding, right now we are saying yes. But it is affecting us.
- You cancel a peak period reservation more than 14 days before the start date (peak periods are Spring Break, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year)
- You cancel a non-peak period reservation more than 7 days before the reservation start date.
Reminder: A Request Is Not A Reservation
One more boarding reminder: please note that requesting a boarding reservation is not a guarantee of a reservation.
When you enter your boarding request into gingr, it is not a reservation until we receive your deposit and the request is then confirmed. Click on the image here to see how gingr communicates this information when you request a reservation.
We need to be clear: without a deposit, your dog’s name is not attached to a space. No deposit, no reservation.
If you don’t get a confirmation email from us, you do not have a reservation.
Please always check your email inbox!!!
Notes on Checking Out from Boarding
With so many customers boarding again, we are getting lots of feedback. We get a lot of positive feedback — dogs are tired, dogs are happy — and we get negative feedback, too. At the top of the negative list: “my dog stinks!”
We do offer baths for dogs, but we can only provide baths Monday through Friday. We cannot give full baths on weekends. Dogs do get thoroughly wiped down with a no-rinse treatment, but it’s not a full bath, most certainly not for double-coated dogs.
If they’re smelly, we’re sorry!
One of the lessons we have learned as boarding has booked up is that we are too busy to safely accept dogs for drop off on holidays. Because many customers have already booked reservations beginning on the actual holiday date for this season, we will honor those through the end of the year. However: beginning January 2022, Rex’s Place will no longer accept dog drop offs for boarding on actual holiday dates. Customers will no longer be able to request reservations beginning on holidays such as July 4 and December 25, and no one will be allowed to drop a dog off at our facilities on those days. You will have to make your reservation starting the day before, and you will need to drop your dog off the day before the holiday.
That’s all for this issue!
We hope you found everything helpful, informative, and useful. Let us know if you have any questions or comments! We’ll be back with another issue in the spring, so until then…
Happiest of Holidays to Everyone!