As part of our 4th Anniversary of The Dog Gurus membership, we wanted to highlight a couple of our charter members. Charter members were facilities who joined The Dog Gurus as soon as we launched and have been with us ever since. We are thankful for their support and hope they have loved being a member as much as we love having them! For this post, we interviewed Konrad Gastony from Paws and Pals Pet Resort in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
TDG: Provide a brief overview of your company (when you started it, services offered, what is your facility like)
Paws & Pals Pet Resort opened in June 2005. We were one of the first true full-service Dog Resorts to open in the Twin Cities metro area offering lodging with group play, daycare, grooming and training. We were the first all-suites facility in the Twin Cities. Paws & Pals is playful and professional. Our staff love taking care of dogs and are trained and held accountable to the highest industry standards. For our Guests, it’s like staying at a Marriott resort with the best staff, excellent accommodations/amenities and various fun activities! Our customers appreciate the excellent service they receive, the value we provide, and our reasonable prices. They really like the personalized packages and activities based on what their dog likes to do.
TDG: Why did you get started in the pet industry?
I was looking for a career change, had always loved animals, and wanted to own my own business. I never felt good about the options for leaving our dog when we went on vacation. I wanted to provide a service with “meaning” in the sense that people loved their pets and would only want the best care for them.
TDG: What do you find most rewarding about working in the pet industry?
Seeing the dogs having fun and being happy and excited to be at Paws & Pals. Having their owners sincerely thank you for taking care of their precious family members. And, as an owner, creating opportunities for our staff to do something they love and grow and learn professionally.
TDG: What does being a member of The Dog Gurus mean to you?
I’m proud that we’re a charter member of the Dog Gurus and active in our industry. I believe in their mission to keep dogs safe and healthy while still having fun. Their credentials are awesome and their educational materials are the best available!
TDG: What is the thing you are most proud of for your company?
That we always do the right thing for the dogs under our care and that we are a trustworthy and professional company. I’m also very proud of the investment we make in our staff’s education, training and professional development. The Dog Gurus have provided many of the foundational tools, resources and advice to make this possible.
TDG: What does your staff do together for fun?
We do a good job of continuously recognizing staff for work well done and we always celebrate Birthdays and other major events. We have an awesome Howl-o-ween party every year that our staff, the dogs and customers have a lot of fun with. We also have an annual holiday gathering for our staff. We’ve participated together in several fund raising walks and events for local animal rescues. Finally, our staff love participating in the Daycare Games!
TDG: Do you have a client or dog who changed the way you run your business?
That’s a difficult question since there have been so many. One of the very first and regular lodging/grooming customers we had moved away after a couple of years. Shortly thereafter, we received a very sincere and heartfelt letter from them expressing their thanks for how well we had taken care of their dog. They said they knew he was “spoiled rotten” by us but didn’t realized how much until they went somewhere else. This didn’t necessarily change anything but it reinforced that we were on the right track.
TDG: If you could meet anyone in the industry, who would it be and why?
I’ve already met Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs so I can’t really think of anyone else
TDG: Anything else you would like to add?
I have an incredible team that does a fantastic job of taking care of our guests and customers! I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful and rewarding profession.