On my recent search for the ideal Doggie DayCare for Buzz’s stay in Memphis, TN, I was reminded of the importance of properly researching Doggie DayCare facilities, both online and IN PERSON!
I had already mentally decided on Grace Animal Hospital, located right in downtown Memphis, after having looked at their website/found the pricing acceptable/called, and just wanted to quickly check out the premises in person.
Let me tell you that several alarm bells went off in my head when I entered the place, and that they were bad enough to make me want to turn around and walk right back out the door I had just come through. #UhOh
However, I forced myself to stay and get a tour of the place. Here’s what I experienced:
1. Urine & Feces Smells
This was the first thing I noticed when walking through the entrance – the smell of urine & feces. I intuitively looked around the reception area in search of a fresh puddle of pee and/or a pile of diarrhea or poop, but didn’t see any. The lack of anything in sight immediately raised red flag #1: The smell had to come from the DayCare area in the back. Along with all the noise.
2. Deafening Noise
Judging by the deafening sound of barking that filled the reception area, there had to be many, many dogs behind the wall separating the front from the back.
Now, I realize that there will be some barking in a DayCare environment, don’t get me wrong. Obviously dogs communicate via their voice as much as through their body language, but this scenario reminded me of a kennel instead of an area where dogs are supposed to have a good time and be relaxed.
I’ve volunteered my time at a no-kill shelter in Northern Virginia once and walked some of their dogs, and the insanely loud volume I experienced there was similar to the one at this DayCare facility.
It was so bad that I could barely understand the woman who showed me the back and had to wait until we toured the deserted outside area to ask her a few questions.
*** By the way, the mist that was being sprayed out there was about the only thing I enjoyed seeing about this place (it did make sense that no dogs were out there at the time I looked at it since it was noon on a hot & humid mid-western summer day).***
The crazy volume was indeed due to the DayCare dogs being supervised in close proximity to the boarding dogs, of which there were many, I’d say at least 20. While walking past them on our way to the outside area, I noticed several piles of poop in the pups’ crates that hadn’t been cleaned up yet. #WhatInTheWorld
Whenever an accident happens at one of my clients’ homes while their pups are in my care, I clean it up right away. It’s impossible not to notice it since the smell is a clear indicator of a poopy mess – how this can get overlooked at a veterinary hospital is beyond my comprehension.
3. (Mostly) Unfriendly Staff
The young woman who gave me the tour of the back was relatively friendly, there’s no denying it. The staff manning the reception area, however, couldn’t have been more dull and clearly uninterested in my visit.
There was only one woman behind the reception desk when I walked into the building, and while she did greet me and arranged for me to get a tour of the back, she sounded like a broken, boring record.
I had to wait for about 10 minutes until my tour guide emerged from the back. During this time, another woman sat down behind the reception desk and completely ignored my presence.
She didn’t greet me, asked me how I was, or at least smiled at me – although I was standing right within her field of vision behind the counter. Nothing. It was as if I was thin air. I thought to myself that if I treated my clients this way, I wouldn’t have very many. #HelloCustomerService
I couldn’t wait to get out of that place as soon as possible. One thing was clear: This would not be Buzz’s DayCare facility. #NoWay
Text Conversation About Disappointing Doggie DayCare Facility
I’ve actually written about Riverbark Pet Retreat before – missed those posts? You can catch up by clicking on the links below:
Unfortunately, eliminating Grace Animal Hospital meant I had to continue my search for a DayCare. I can tell you that I was incredibly lucky with the next place I went to right after touring the smelly place – I’ll be writing about it soon and will tell you why, although it was perfect on so many levels, it didn’t end up working out after all. Stay tuned!
What are your criteria for a good Doggie DayCare? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!