Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Judge.
Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Before owning Dogwood, I worked for over 25 years in the Corporate World as an Executive Assistant to Top Management. All my office friends had dogs & we shared our dog pictures & stories with each other every day. When Doggie Daycares first started to pop up in the 1990’s, I often dreamed of opening up my own Dog Facility. On a bad day at work, I would comment to my coworkers “What are we doing working for these guys? We should open up our own doggie daycare!” When I was laid off in March 2000, I was already attending Dog Obedience Classes with my puppy, Louie, Our dog trainer, who had over 30 years experience working with dogs & horses, encouraged me to join Animal Behavior College to become a Certified Dog Trainer. While studying their Dog Training & Animal Behavior course, I also began working as a Dog Handler at a local Dog Daycare & Boarding Facility. I was responsible for caring for 45-60 dogs a day.
When I graduated from ABU with Honor Roll Status in January 2001, the Daycare I was working at asked me to start their very first Training Program. While I did dog training there, I also began to seriously think about opening up a Dog Facility of my very own. My dream of many years to work with dogs became a reality when Dogwood Daycare & Boarding opened on July 2, 2001. Dogwood is unlike any other Dog Facility in LA.
Dogwood has 12,000 sq. of indoor & outdoor space with a much more Home-Like atmosphere rather than the Warehouse effect that most Dog Facilities have these days.
Dogwood’s outside yard is very large with a huge tree & lots of greenery all around in an extremely secured setting. Dogwood is also never overcrowded since we are very selective in the dogs we accept as Members & limit the number of overnight dogs to 10 dogs on regular nights or up to 25 dogs during Holiday Time. Dogwood is extremely clean, it’s quiet, & it’s a safe place for dogs. Dogwood rules out the more powerful breeds regardless of how sweet they may be or any dog regardless of the breed that shows signs of aggression. All the dogs must have certain things in place as far as being neutered/spayed, current on the vaccines that we require, on a monthly flea prevention program & socialized around other dogs & people. In addition to Dog Daycare & Overnight Dog Boarding, Dogwood also offers Dog Grooming for our Members as well as Group/Private Dog Training. Dogwood has also recently partnered with Vanderpump Dog Foundation to rehabilitate, train & find forever homes for Rescue Dogs. Like Lisa Vanderpump & Dr. John Sessa, Vanderpump Dogs’ President & Co-Founder, Dogwood is determined to make the world a better place for dogs. I’ve never looked back or wanted to return to the Business World despite the many long hours I work with very little time off. I truly feel this is what I was meant to do with my life.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Owning a small business can be difficult at times, but so worth it! Very long hours with little time off. Also found out over the years that it’s very hard to find really good, hard-working employees.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dogwood Daycare & Boarding – what should we know?
Since 2001, Dogwood is your dog’s best choice for boarding, daycare, grooming & training. We specialize in being different than our competitors & are known for having an extremely clean, comfortable, quiet & safe environment for dogs. We also have a huge outdoor yard with a huge tree & ivy all around. I am also a Certified Dog Trainer & Animal Behaviorist as well as the Owner & am onsite most of the time; while other Dog Facilities are owned by people who have little dog experience, are never on-site except for rare occasions & are run by young, inexperienced workers. From what we hear from our competitors’ former customers who now bring their dogs to Dogwood, the other dog facilities are strictly indoors, are overcrowded, are not kept clean as their dogs come home dirty & smelling like urine, have young, inexperienced workers who don’t seem to really care about the dogs or the facility, & take every dog regardless of whether or not the dog is aggressive towards other dogs/people. I think I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve managed to stay in business for 16 years with more competition each year & have stayed true to how we believe a Dog Facility should be. We’ve never had a Kennel Cough epidemic at Dogwood, which is quite common at other Dog Facilities. Dogwood has partnered up with Vanderpump Dog Foundation recently & currently has two of their rescue dogs boarding here. These two dogs were rescued from a Slaughter House in Yulin, China & have been living in a Sanctuary over in China ever since. Vanderpump Dogs flew the dogs to the US to find the dogs their forever homes. In the meantime, Dogwood is now helping take care of these dogs, rehabilitate & train them to become more social.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Our family, friends & loyal customers have been very supportive over the years. Encouraging us to continue keeping to our values & beliefs in how a dog facility should be run. Also by telling us that they would never dream of going to any other facility with their dog since we are the only people they trust with their furbabies. We’ve taken care of many of our customers’ dogs their entire lives starting from when they were puppies.
- Address: Kate Judge
Dogwood Daycare & Boarding
8652 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
- Website: www.dogwooddaycare.com
- Phone: 3105593647
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org