By Carmen Rustenbeck, IBPSA Executive Director & Founder
Last year, IBPSA asked our Members about how they care for senior pets. We were incredibly impressed by this answer from Lisa, co-owner of Woofington, Luxury Petite Dog Resort & Spa:
“We are a brand-new facility just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in an affluent lake community. We designed our facility to not only have the most up-to-date sanitization practices, but also for the extreme comfort of our pet guests. Our facility is designed to meet the emotional needs of our pet parents, but what really sets us apart is the way our facility has been designed, and the training and dog expertise of our staff.
“Our senior pets, in particular, can look forward to lounging on raised beds with plush bedding, blankets, pillows, no matter which suite they choose. We have installed HVAC systems (4) that are hospital grade and completely circulate the air 6-8 times per hour, which significantly limits the ‘stale’ and contaminated air concerns for older pets. Our CycloVac wet/dry system, combined with the pet-friendly disinfectants we use, ensures that each pet has the most sterile, clean, fresh environment possible.
“Our 100% recycled rubber flooring in our daycare space ensures that our older guests will have a more gentle playing surface for their hips, joints and paws. Our K9 outdoor play yard and relief space ensures our guests have the utmost in sanitization during outdoor play time or relief time. Our oversized shade umbrellas provide relief on hot days in the sun, and our full glass garage door in our daycare space provides older pups with a place to lounge indoors in their favorite sunny spot.
“We have spared NO expense, and those that have very generous pet parents can have their older fur babies stay in our Presidential Suite, complete with down bedding, webcam and a 50” flat panel TV that features DogTV. If the senior pet needs exercise, but daycare is a bit too much for them, they can have a slow, leisurely walk on our mini doggie treadmill with a trainer, to keep their joints loose and limber. The feedback from the community has been wonderful, and we have many bookings, even though our facility opened its doors only 3 days ago”.
That response came from Lisa on July 1, 2016, when Woofington was still just a pup. I wanted to check in to see how this impressive pup had developed, so on January 3, 2017, I caught up with Lisa to learn a little more about her facility now and understand more about how they care for geriatric or senior pets. Lisa, and her co-owner husband Michael, may still be new to the pet care industry, but speaking with her left me feeling like I had just had a conversation with someone who had years of industry experience. While the pets Lisa and Michael have chosen to care may be “petite” (small dogs less than 25 pounds), the facility and the services Lisa are Michael provide are huge.
Woofington has a British Colonial feel, with oriental carpets, chandeliers, and bedding so plush that I want to check in myself. DogTV and password protected webcams are available in their premium suites, and indoor and outdoor daycare webcams are available to the public on their website. Lisa and Michael provide what I call “boutique services” including spa treatments like their Dead Sea Salt Mineral Treatment, Blueberry Facial, or Colored Fur and Painted Paw Nails. They also offer ”chef-prepared” meals such as beef tenderloin, salmon, and chicken dinners.The Woofington’s overnight suites provide “5-star hotel” amenities with soft pillows and freshly ironed pillowcases every day. Yes, the staff iron those pillowcases.
And no high-end pet resort and spa would be without concierge services such as a walk, but how about a climate controlled one? Their guests can take a walk indoors on the Dog Mini Pacer Treadmill. In case your pet is missing you (or, more likely, you’re missing your pet), you can have a Skype session. In the Concierge Room, pets can enjoy one-on-one time with a team member – and catch some DogTV – in a homelike atmosphere. Because the list of services is longer than I can reasonably cover here, I encourage you to visit www.woofington.com to see all of them as well as the resort packages the Woofington offers.
About those Senior Pets
Even with such a deep list of services, the team still finds time to provide extra care for the special needs or geriatric pets which Woofington defines as 10 years and older, spending more time with them and checking on them more frequently. Further, while there is no change in the quality of bedding provided, the legs may be removed from the Kuranda beds to provide easier access for these pets. Non-slip carpeting is also used in their suites, as are extra soft blankets. The bedding is changed as needed – those same soft pillows with those ironed pillowcases – and 2” foam pad on the beds is provided for extra softness.
Extra time is given for eating and elimination, and the team not only has two certified vet techs to help with special needs, but the entire team has first aid, pet CPR, and safety training. To help when a pet is having incontinence problems, washable puppy pads are used in the suite. Sometimes a pet is just having problems walking to the elimination area –but, not to worry – the team has the muscle power to pick up that little dog and carry them to where they need to be.
The Woofington offers gentle massage for those older bones and muscles and, when it’s quiet in the evening, a pet may just need time to follow a team member on a companionable stroll through the facility. I loved the thought of this as it reminded me of home and my dog, Java, following me everywhere. The biggest surprise in this interview with Lisa was how much “transparency” means to them. That is a catch-word we hear a lot lately but how does one really demonstrate transparency? How about literally? The is 17,000 square feet of glass throughout the facility. That’s enough to cover over 6 regulation tennis courts. Every potential boarding family receives a tour of the entire facility. “We treat our pet guests just like we would our human guests,” Lisa noted. This transparency makes first time boarders with older dogs choose Woofington as they can see the quality of care given to the pets.
When I asked Lisa for any final thoughts she would like to leave with other IBPSA Members, she offered this: “We are here to serve the dogs; we provide whatever care is needed for the comfort of the pet and their owners. It is all about the care of the animal, and we adjust our daily structure and staff as needed to insure the best care possible. We are not so concerned with money as we have learned that as we provide quality care the money always follows”.
To see all that Woofington offers and to view one of the best local TV live interviews I have recently seen, visit them at https://www.woofington.com. We are proud to have Lisa, Michael, and the entire Woofington team as a part of our IBPSA community.