If there’s a golden rule for people who run a dog-sitting business, it is this: Don’t let the dogs you’re watching get mauled by other dogs you’re watching. Montreal Dogs, a Canadian dog-daycare center, has recently received a barrage of bad press because a couple pets under their care got slaughtered over the past few months. And then they lied about it.
In February, a cutie-patootie cocker spaniel named Chestnut was mutilated beyond recovery while her owner was on vacation. Then, later that same month, Stanley the shih tzu was reportedly decapitated and partially eaten by larger dogs. Instead of owning up to their massive fuck-ups, the sitters fed the owners some serious dog shit.
Montreal Dogs operators Mina and Cesare Carbone tried to pull the old “We dunno, your dog just ran away” excuse, but weeks later the truth came out after an animal-rescue service investigated the matter (at the request of Stanley’s family). The dog owners then called on the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help draw attention to the deaths of their canines through protests.
At this point it appears that Chestnut and Stanley went to heaven (where all dogs go) due to plain old negligence rather than cruelty. Susan Briggs, founder of Crystal Canine, a consulting and resource business for the pet-care industry, said, “People who have multiple dogs at home think that this is a fun, easy job, but they don’t understand that it’s different managing a large group of dogs that don’t know each other.” During the chaos of everyday small-business management, accidents will happen. Susan continued: “I own a pet-daycare center, and we do make mistakes. Dogs play with their mouths, so even when there is supervision there could be injuries. In cases like this it’s hard to be honest, but you have to step away and accept that you’ve made a mistake, talk to the owner, and do whatever you have to do to make it better. It’s not always negligence – dogs are unpredictable; they’re animals. And it’s expensive to be safe. You get what you pay for – not always – but if you get a good bargain at a pet-daycare center you should really question why.”
What have we learned from this? First of all, your business’s reputation matters more than a couple of mutilated pooches. Second, it’s a given that dead dogs, like spilled milk, are going to happen. So why not open a sister company catering to the needs of pet owners with “missing” animals? Offer a printing service, private-detective work, cremations, urns, caskets, tombstones – that’s vertical integration, baby! I think we can all agree that Montreal Dogs really missed out on some great business opportunities.