From pet sitter to doggy daycare
When Elysse McCarron graduated from university last year she struggled to find a job in her field of psychology.
So she decided to start her own business while she worked on getting her Master’s through an online programme.
“I thought if I am going to start a business it might as well be around something that I love,” she said.
And what she loves happens to be animals, specifically dogs.
“We have always had dogs,” she said. “And I had already been pet sitting since 2016.”
So it seemed natural to turn what was a side hustle into a business. Puppy Club Day Care was born.
Ms McCarron provides daycare and boarding services from her home on Cobbs Hill Road in Warwick. She also does house-sits, if required. At the moment it is just her, but she gets some help from her mother, Jennifer McCarron, who runs garden and pet supply business Animal & Garden House out of their home.
“A lot of people travel or they travel for long periods of time,” Ms McCarron said. “We have had clients who are going away for three and four months, so they decided they wanted to board their dog.”
Ms McCarron aims to provide a homey alternative to boarding at a veterinarian’s office where pets are often kept crated and only let out once or twice during the day.
Puppy Club is not unlike the average preschool class. There is a play room stocked with doggy toys and activities, and space for a quiet nap. Downstairs there is a large fenced in yard and a puppy pool.
During the day Ms McCarron does crafts with the pooches. They will often go home with a photo collage of their day or a decorative paw print.
“The challenge has just been getting people to know that we exist,” Ms McCarron said.
In the last couple of weeks she has been working hard to get the word out there about Puppy Club. She has been advertising on Facebook sites such as Pet Connection Bermuda.
She has found that clients are generally looking for a caregiver to give their dog the same kind of loving treatment that they give them.
“They want their dogs to have the same walks, treats and routine when they are away,” she said. “They don’t want them to be locked away in a crate. They don’t want their pet too much thrown out of the loop.”
So far, most of the dogs she has looked after have been older, but she has watched over a few puppies.
“Taking care of puppies is a 24-hour thing,” Ms McCarron said. “All through the night you have to get up to let them out. You have to check on them. It is just like having a newborn baby. I sleep when they sleep.”
Ms McCarron also incorporates a bit of training into the routine, so that they are also learning while they are at Puppy Club.
“I love seeing how much the dogs learn and how smart they can be,” she said.
Summer is heating up and she is hearing from a lot of people travelling over Cup Match.
“Also, a lot of people bought a puppy during the pandemic,” she said. “They are now going back to work and want someone to pet sit during the day,” she said.
Puppy Club is flexible with their scheduling and pricing. Clients can leave their dog for full days, nights, half days or even an hour.
“Maybe the dog owner is just popping out for an errand and does not want their dog to be alone,” Ms McCarron said. “Whatever you need, we can figure out some way to make it work.”
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