Woof Pack: They Speak Dog
Profile of Success
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by Woof Pack
It’s a bit challenging to operate this type of facility,” says Woof Pack owner, Bob Carbonell. “But, it’s a great experience for the animals.”
When Bob Carbonell opened Woof Pack Daycare and Boarding, making it cage–free was his vision. And today that vision is a reality.
“The only time the pets are confined is at feeding time,” Bob says. “That’s to ensure that each dog gets their own food.”
Bob opened Woof Pack in 2017 in Bristol, Connecticut. Choosing the name was easy for him. “Our motto is ‘We speak your dog’s language,’ ” says Bob. “Woof is their language. And, the facility has an open park environment. So, Woof Pack was a natural when deciding on a name.”
Woof Pack sits on three private and peaceful acres that are set back from the road. They have a 13,000 sq. ft. climate–controlled building. It has a spacious open floor plan that can be configured into as many different sections as they need by using their divider partitions. Their primary business is daycare and boarding, but they also offer many training programs, full service grooming and have a retail sales area.
“Safety is paramount with us,” Bob says. “We do not breed–discriminate. Every dog gets a rigorous temperament test before it is accepted for daycare or boarding.”
Woof Pack averages about fifty dogs per day in its daycare. The dogs are separated into groups such as seniors, small dogs, etc. Every pack group is supervised by a trained staff member. Typically, there are less than twenty dogs in a group. Weather permitting, the dogs spend most of the day outdoors in playgrounds that are equipped with lots of play equipment, splashing pools and sprinklers. They are in the process of installing an in-ground pool for their furry clients.
Overnight boarders also get to participate in all the daycare activities. Then, they have a slumber party at bedtime.
“After being active all day, most of the dogs are really tired and more than happy to snuggle up with a buddy and call it a night,” says Bob. “We turn down the lights and play soft music.”
Woof Pack offers several types of training: in–home, group classes, board and train, and agility. Training classes are very popular with clients of Woof Pack, especially with the first–time dog owner. They also have full service grooming and spa services on site. Owners love to be able to pick up a freshly groomed pet at the end of their stay.
To make things easier for their clients, Woof Pack has a pet taxi. Its personalized license plate is ROVER. They pick up and deliver clients for all the services they offer. They even provide after–hours pickup.
“We go above and beyond to help our clients,” says Bob. “That’s what sets us apart from everyone else. Customer service is of the utmost importance.”
They are staffed 24/7 every day of the year. Their lobby is open from 6 AM to 7 PM for clients to drop off and pick up their pets. Woof Pack prides themselves on being totally transparent. They encourage people to drop by anytime to see the facility. Another way people can see Woof Pack is to take a virtual tour of it on their website.
“We’re really proud of our website, www.gowoofpack.com, and all the information it provides,” says Bob. “We put all of our services, requirements, and prices on the site. It also gives details about the loyalty programs, long-term daycare packages, and VIP packages we offer to reward loyal clients.”
Their technology helps day–to–day operations run smoothly. Each dog’s information is loaded into the system. The staff has access to the pet’s profiles. For example, if there is ever any problem between two dogs, it is noted and they are kept separated.
Communicating with their clients and people of the community has really helped Woof Pack increase their business.
“We work with local pet stores and network throughout the community,” says Bob. “We do a lot of co-sponsored events. It brings more business to their stores and in turn gets more clients for us. In the beginning, we tried about a dozen different ways of advertising and spent a ton of money, without much results. Word of mouth is always the best way to grow a business. These dogs are like people’s children and they are not going to just drop them off anywhere. Owners want a recommendation from a trusted friend or relative.”
Woof Pack sends out pet report cards every day, by text or email. Clients love them. The report cards give updates about how the dog is doing, how well it ate, who it played with, etc. It really gives the owner peace of mind when they are away from their dog.
“One of the most fun parts of our business is our photography sessions. We have a studio set up with backdrops and we have special photography events,” says Bob. Then he adds with a hearty chuckle, “When we had photos with the Easter Bunny, some of the dogs didn’t know what to make of him and his big ears.”
They have a monthly newsletter. It’s one way they keep their clients informed about all the activities and events that are happening at Woof Pack. They also recognize dog birthdays and have a pet of the month featured.
People rave about their social media presence. They have upwards of 1,800 followers on Facebook. All of their events and tons of photos are posted every day.
The staff at Woof Pack is vital to its success. Richard Branson, British business magnate, said, “You are nothing without your staff.” And Bob Carbonell agrees with him.
“My staff is everything!” says Bob. “I can’t rave enough about them. They are the best. All of our staff members at Woof Pack are trained in pet CPR and certified in animal first aid.
“We worked very hard to assemble a professional staff; trainers, behaviorists, pack handlers, and the rest. We appreciate them and provide them with paid vacations, paid time off, and other benefits.”
The retail center of the facility carries a complete line of USA–made accessories for the dogs and their training needs. They also feature some of the local artisans and display their paintings, mosaics, stained glass and other artwork. Right now a large mural is being painted at the facility.
Woof Pack’s business is booming. In fact, they are in the process of expanding. Bob is going to open a second location by the end of the year, and one more the next year.
Life is good when you speak ‘dog’.