In this episode of ‘Behind the Scenes’, I want to talk about the Ranch staff.
I have always believed that in any type of business, staff are of number one importance; if folks are trained well, remunerated well and are given everything they need to make their lives as comfortable as possible, then they will be happy to come to work every day, and happy to live up to our high expectations of them.
How does that effect you?
First of all, people who are unhappy at work spread bad energy in a workplace, and as you may know, there are no greater readers of energy than dogs. Show me a healthy dog who isn’t happy go lucky and calm in his own skin, and I will show you a dog that is living in a toxic (to whatever degree) environment.
Our first goal always is to provide a happy, calm, stress-free environment for the dogs, and that HAS to mean happy, calm, stress-free employees.
The two go hand in hand.
Secondly, and equally as importantly, there is no substitute for really KNOWING someone.
Because of our commitment to keeping our staff happy, they stay with us for a long time, we have very little staff turnover at the Ranch; this means that every time Max, Charlie, Gracie or Reese comes to stay, they are greeted by someone they know very, very well.
They are walked by someone whom they trust absolutely, borne out of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of shared experiences with hand-feeding, brushing, massage, cuddles, even just sitting and breathing together.
That person knows the dog intrinsically; knows that your dog wouldn’t be happy in a large group of boisterous dogs, or maybe knows that your baby doesn’t like fur throws, or that she needs a bit of ‘foreplay’ at dinner time with some kisses and body strokes before she will eat.
This knowledge can only come from time spent, which results in your dog becoming like family to us all, and they are thus treated as our own.
Right now, with me needing to be away from the Ranch for much longer than I had ever thought, Ranch Manager Kristen and our team of incredible care-givers are the single most important people on the planet to us, and of course to your dogs when they are staying with us.
But let’s look at the other extremely important members of staff- the ones who you may not know.......
Let’s start with Canine CEO Drake.
Drake is a 9 year old Weimaraner that joined the team last year, quickly rising up through the ranks when we saw his incredible talent for keeping control of the pack during play sessions. Just like his predecessor Freddie, who we sadly lost just before Christmas, Drake has perfected the art of the aloof ‘Muphasa’ type leadership, quelling uprisings with a sideways swerve of his head and a ‘talk to the hand’ demeanour. Drake is the King of the Meet and Greet, greeting everyone both joyously and gently, but maintaining an aura of kind capability at all times.
Next up, we have Babs, Executive Director of Leisure.
Babs is the beautiful brindle boxer you may have seen haring around the field and Dingly Dell like a squirrel on crack. She’s hilariously funny and just the kind of dog you need to rev up a gloomy day and get everyone ready to party. Babs favorite game is ‘Catch me if you can’ but so far no-one has. Not once. Nuh-uh.
In her spare time, when she is not gleefully zipping around, Babs enjoys a variety of leisure pursuits that include gobbling back treats, scarfing back any food she finds and chowing down on anything that’s edible, no matter what it looks like, smells like or if it was already half way to Aunty Kris’s mouth. So basically Babs’s hobby is to eat. Whenever she can. Wherever she can.......as long as she can get away with it.
And then there’s Jackson. Ahhhh, Jackson.
Jackson is a three year old bloodhound that we adopted from the Gwinnett County Jaildogs Program, who has proved perfect to step into the role of his predecessor, loveable doofus Hoss, who retired this summer after serving eight and a half years as official Play Meister. Jackson is an easy going, affable sort of chap, who wins everyone over with his soft yodel and stunning good looks. Always up for play and just about any adventure, Jackson is the kind of friend that every dog should have...the Huckleberry Finn of the dog world. He’s also pretty adept at climbing onto kitchen countertops to surf for food. House Mama Babs has taught him VERY well, seeing as he’d never lived in a house until June, man, that boy caught on fast!
Together, this tremendous trio provide all of the love, play and support your dog would need from a trip to the Ranch....always there whenever your dog needs a friend, their work is challenging, rewarding and physically exhausting.
But what of their remuneration, I hear you ask?
Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, these dogs are treated like royalty, and have an excellent package with full benefits.
The main remuneration for all of these rescued lovelies is a lifelong commitment to them, a ‘til death do us part’ kind of thing.
Living accommodation is part of their package and each of them gets to sleep in a bloody great big bed with the human of their choice every night, head on the pillow, not getting kicked out of bed for farting...or stealing all of the blankets.
Personal chefs to cater to their every whim with home cooked or raw food meals every day, top notch supplementation and treats a-plenty to rock their world.
Full medical coverage, their own vehicle and pension plan for when they’re old and grey, they’ll still get all of this when they can’t go and run in the field or start a chase game.
We are blessed to have such an amazing crew, both two and four legged, and do not take them for granted, ever.
Thanks to all of you for how incredibly hard you work and the wonderful care you give our guests!