Friday, July 30, 2010

Fenway Bark has Healthy Policies

Fenway Bark will be a 100% smoke free environment. Smoking will not be allowed on the grounds of Fenway Bark or in the parking lot to foster a healthy environment for our clients, employees, and guests.

As an employer in South Boston, we want to encourage and provide incentive for our employees to use public transportation where reasonably possible and hope that other businesses in the area do the same. To that end, we are subsidizing the cost of public transportation for all of our employees who use the MBTA to come to work. Doing so reduces Fenway Bark's carbon footprint.  We want to encourage all our future clients to use the MBTA, as well, because pets are allowed on the buses and trains in Boston (MBTA policy).

Finally, as part of the health benefits we extend to our full time employees, we will be encouraging and subsidizing health club memberships for employees who perform to expectations by delivering excellent customer service to each of you each and every day for six months or more.

Fenway Bark will be a healthy place for you to visit, for your dog or cat to stay, play and/or heal, and for our employees to work.

That's our commitment to all our stakeholders.

Portrait by Muddy Paw Studios, a partner of Fenway Bark Stay.Play.Heal.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Tube Channel - FenwayBarkOnline

Did you know that Fenway Bark Online has a You Tube channel?

When we are open for business in late summer we will be posting You Tube videos from Fenway Bark, coaching points from our trainers, video footage from our partners, and videos supplied by you, the Fenway Bark community!

Today we added a favorite video now showing on our Facebook page that features a daschund song.  It is completely goofy and we love it! Quite frankly, we can't get the song out of our heads and if you sing it, it will probably make you smile.  You have been forewarned about its ability to stick in your head.

The Daschund Song got us thinking. . .

As a team, we are a fun group of people who don't take ourselves too seriously but take your dog care very, very seriously.   We like to have fun and we have a sneaky suspicion that you do, too! 

We think it would be great to see the fun loving, goofy members of our Fenway Bark community crooning to their dogs, too!  So if you think you've got the right stuff and your dog loves the way you sing, share those special moments with all of us!  Upload a video of you singing to your dog or your dog singing along with you and send it to our You Tube Channel!  You can send your videos to our email box at

Don't pretend you don't sing to your dog. . .most of us do and THEY LOVE IT!  It is time to immortalize you and your dog's special relationship in our American Crooner challenge!

We need some of our celebrity followers to volunteer as judges.  You know who you are!  I get to be Paula but I need a Simon, a Randy, an Ellen and a Kara.  Heck, if anyone knows Ellen in the Fenway Bark community, ask her to be an actual judge because she really loves animals, too.

Even if you don't post a video, remember to sign up on our You Tube channel for updates!

"Wieeennner. . .wiener dog. . ." we can't get it out of our heads!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

American Dog - Carla the Hot Dog Bandit

When we sat down at the picnic table under a shady tree off Tremont Street, I had the singular goal of eating the freshly grilled hot dog that the Animal Rescue League had just provided to me in their celebration of “Happy Endings”, or adoptions of ARL's rescued animals.  I may have had that singular goal but I was not alone in that ambition.

To my left was Carla.  Carla was not foreign to hotdogs; she may have even been a connoisseur and I was in the presence of hot dog consumption greatness.  

She was stealth in her approach.  Her long legs helped her be both quick and silent along the length of the picnic table and the full expanse of her leash.  She was a girl on a mission.

Carla’s Mom, Tamara, apologized for her bold, gregarious approach to hot dog procurement and we exchanged niceties and chit-chatted about our own experience with heavy chins and different gourmet delights that get in the crosshairs of our own dogs’ desires.

 I ate the hot dog and Carla, forgiving that it wasn’t shared, was still interested in engaging me under that shady tree. 

I learned it was Carla’s birthday yesterday.  Her Mom, making sure such an important occasion did not go without festivities, made a “meat cake” for Carla for her birthday.  With great enthusiasm she shared that it was a layer cake of dry cooked ground beef, brown rice, lamb, and a few other ingredients that made Carla’s birthday extra special.  It was clear at that moment that we were in the company of an uber puppy mommy.

But that is no accident. . .

It appears Tamara came from good genetic stock when it comes to spoiling dogs.  Tamara shared that her mother loves to spoil Carla, too.  Carla’s Grandma goes by the moniker “Turkey Lady” and every dog parent needs no further explanation.

We asked about Carla's breed and Tamara shared that she is a mixed breed, a sato from Puerto Rico. Part greyhound?  Part Doberman Pinscher?  It was hard to say exactly the mix behind those beautiful brown eyes.  Tamara said that when Carla was younger, her stomach was more taut and she looked more like a greyhound.  While giving her an ear noogie, I told Carla that I could relate.  In dog years we were about the same age and neither of us probably should have been eating that hot dog.

We continued to chat about Fenway Bark, played with Carla’s canine friend, Cooper, and chatted with Cooper’s Mom, Sara.  For that brief time Carla, Cooper, Tamara, Sara, Jim and I connected all because of a friendly, outgoing dog, a bit of shade on Tremont Street, and a very tempting hot dog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meet Sheila!

Fenway Bark is in the unique position to create a culture and team that not only have expertise in animal care and customer service, but also have roots in the community and can help Fenway Bark be a good community citizen.  

One of the reasons we are hiring Sheila is that her background not only embodies the animal care experience we require to work with our guests, but she also has an admirable track record of outreach into the community, working to build strong families and communities in South Boston.

Sheila is a lifelong resident of South Boston and has raised a beautiful family just a few blocks from Fenway Bark’s front doors.  Included in Sheila’s pack are her two beautiful daughters, German Shepherds, Lola and Rocket, and her cat, Blarney (who would argue that he may be the pack leader). 

Sheila believes that her children are better people in this world for having grown up with the responsibility of pet care and the unconditional love and respect they shared with their four legged siblings.

Sheila will be joining the Fenway Bark family when we open in September and will be utilizing her love and experience for animals coupled with her Veterinary Assistant degree to provide exceptional care for Fenway Bark’s guests.

As part of the Fenway Bark team, Sheila is very excited about the benefits the business will bring to the community and is delighted about the South Boston dog owners’ response to the business coming to the neighborhood and the quality of care that dogs and cats will receive. 

One of Sheila's favorite quotes is one of ours, as well:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Gandhi

If you see Sheila walking Lola and Rocket in Southie, say "hello!".  You will be glad you did. . .she is a really great person.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Endings - Animal Rescue League BBQ, American Dog

Today we visited with the Animal Rescue League volunteers and employees at their "Happy Endings" BBQ to celebrate successful adoptions and fundraise for their charity.  We met some great puppy parents and some really awesome dogs.  Which got me thinking.

Just like interactions with humans, isn't it the small stuff that we really love and, sadly, miss when a pet passes on? 

So isn't it the small stuff that is really important to celebrate and note? 

With that notion in mind, I am going to try something new on this blog which I am going to call "American Dog" which in my mind is going to be Ira Glass (This American Life - PBS) meets Jack William's Wednesday's Child (children for adoption in the Boston area) meets John Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie (which is, no surprise, one of my favorite novels).  Although I will never be in the Ira, Jack, and John's league, it doesn't mean I can't give it a try to see if you enjoy it.

This is sort of an ambitious undertaking but I am going to give it a try because there are a lot of wonderful dogs out there with touching little stories that we can all enjoy.  And, quite frankly, there is a shortage of material out there that a family can enjoy together.  If you haven't noticed, I don't allow anything on my website, Facebook site or blog that isn't fit for family consumption. 

Perhaps an American Dog story will inspire you to write us with your American Dog story to feature on this blog.  I invite rescues to send me stories and pictures with American Dogs, each with their own story that we can periodically feature on this blog.  American Dog stories will start on Wednesday, July 22.  Let me know what you think by dropping me a comment. 

Until then, meet Hercules, a Boston Terrier at the Animal Rescue League.  He is a happy guy who likes a good belly rub.  When I met him he was play wrestling in the ARL dog park with a dog twice his size and weight.  Hercules seemed nonplussed by his sumo sized rival.  He reveled in the moment.  Hercules looked like he was a natural in front of the camera and enjoyed having his picture taken.  What a handsome boy.

From Fans of Fenway Bark - Outreach

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Selecting a Dog Care Facility

Fenway Bark is in the process of identifying and hiring very talented and devoted people to take care of your pet. As stewards of your pet's care in your absence, it is critically important to us to have exceptionally trained, dedicated, and communicative team members that will work with you and your selected pet care professionals to ensure your pet is receiving the best of care as our guest.

As one of our quality measures, Fenway Bark will be seeking accreditation by the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA), formerly the American Boarding and Kennel Association. Their standards are high and few facilities seek their accreditation. Fenway Bark will be seek and secure acccreditation by this organization but it takes a bit of time after we open per their process. Rest assured, this accreditation is important to us and we will begin the process as soon as we can by their rules.

Which brings me to the point of tonight's blog.

As we interview people from other facilities, I am truly, truly troubled by some of the things I am hearing from interview candidates about standards (or lack thereof) at their current employers. I am not going to point the finger anywhere but simply suggest to all of you that it is important to ask question about, among other things:

- the ratio of dogs to care givers (15 or less to 1 is good)
- how the facility tracks and administers medicine for each dog (how much room is there for human error?)
- the training and experience of the care providers
- vaccination policy
- Is there isolation space and what is the policy to isolate in the event of illness
- temperature controls and ventilation
- and the amount of play space in daycare each dog? For medium to extra large dogs, the minimum amount of space should be 100 sf per dog. For toy and small dogs, the minimum amount of space should be 50 - 75 sf per dog. Facilities that are too crowded, particularly during the holidays, are rife for problems with dogs that are crowded together.

We will continue to provide information to you so that you can make an informed decision about your pet's care.

Please find a link to the Pet Care Services Association guide to selecting a facility below.