DOG PATCH PET AND FEED
1108 E. Ogden Avenue
The handsome guy on our LEARN page button is Milhouse; true friend and sidekick to Bart, Harry and Ellen. When he visits Blue Sky we all enjoy his wirey spunk and dash. The thought that he and we nearly missed a second chance at a forever home and for us to know him is unthinkable. You see, Milhouse came from Tennessee to Dog Patch as part of Greg Gordon’s “Find Your Rescue Here” long term idea that a pet store could successfully offer rescued animals rather than those provided from other sources. This idea has been a long time in coming and the road has not been straight and even.
Several years ago while volunteering at a rescue in Naperville I remember others talking about “this guy who insists that the dogs that were sold out of his store were not Puppy Mill dogs”. I also remember that none of us believed what he said. After all, who does that?
Years later we now know that “that guy” was not only truthful but has successfully forged a new humane way to save and provide companion animals to prospective households. Not an easy undertaking of helping the dogs win, we think “how did he do that?” Here Greg Gordon openly answers the questions of so many of us have wondered and were unable to ask him directly.
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IF YOU COULD?
A. My facility was scaled for puppies. We never have enough space for bigger dogs. My vet bills often are not covered by our adoption fee. It’s good for a healthy animal but anything that veers out of balance costs even more. We are often behind with our very forgiving vets.
Q. HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOUR EMPLOYEES TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR ENDEAVOR?
A. Train, train, train. My core staff has been with me a very long time. My General Manager, Jennifer Lewin, has been at Dog Patch for 25 years. I’ll stack her knowledge of animals against anyone. She knows dog and cat food better than anyone I know. We hire people that get it. If it’s not all about the animals, then it won’t work. Frankly, this is a horrible job. Hot, cold, stinky, sweaty, heavy lifting, and then there’s the human!
Q. IF SOMEONE ELSE WAS TO IMPLEMENT YOUR HUMANE BUSINESS MODEL, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE?
A. I talk to stores all over the country. I’ve spoken at pet trade shows on how we do what we do. You have to reinvent yourself. You need a great vet. You need a couple of trainers that can help with dogs and humans. Expect to lose some money. If you are doing this for the money, don’t start.
Q. HOW MANY RESCUE DOGS HAVE FOUND THEIR FOREVER HOMES THROUGH YOUR STORE?
A. We are over 2,000 dogs in the last seven years. Nearly 500 in cats/kittens. It represents so much work by so many great people.
Q. WHY SHOULD SOMEONE ADOPT A DOG FROM YOUR STORE?
A. Our goal is to make the process simpler and more fun. We are the only store around that can let your kids play with puppies that are not from mills. While it costs a bit more to adopt from us, we do all the vet work and are there with answers to all of the questions that pop up. We spend a lot of time finding the right diet to work for each individual. Also, all of the money stays local. When you shop at a local independent store, more than 70% of your money stays in your community.
Q. IN YOUR OPINION, ARE YOU SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR MISSION?
A. It feels good to know that so many animals are alive and thriving because of what we do
We thank Greg Gordon for his honest and informative responses.
Want to see this idea for yourself? Make a trip to Dog Patch Pet and Feed and decide. SPOILER ALERT WARNING! You may have your heart stolen. At the very least, you will find many “gotta have it” items for your resident four foots. Yes! HERE the dogs (and cats) are winning!