Fur Baby Bliss Offers Resort Style Boarding and Grooming Part 2

In the first part of this article, we introduced you to Jennifer Beckman and her furry pack. In part two, read about the jobs her own dogs have, why she likes working with dogs, and what she hopes for the future of her business.

Personal Pack – With Jobs

Beckman has three dogs of her own. They all have jobs in helping manage overnight guests. Beckman believes that if a dog has a job he or she will be fulfilled and happy. She depends on her own pack to help manage the yard and feels without them she could not be nearly as successful in what she’s doing.

Beckman’s pack – Toby, Sadie Mae, Emma Bear, and Blaze (l-r)

Just weeks ago, Beckman had to say goodbye to one member of her pack. Emma-Bear was an 11-year-old Chocolate Lab who was adopted nine years ago from a shelter. She was the momma bear whose job was the Greeter and HR representative. She would welcome new dogs and show them around and help soothe and calm nervous or shy dogs by walking around with them or laying next to them. She also liked to manage the playroom couch. She is missed by her human and canine family.

Blaze is a seven-year-old German Shorthair Pointer who serves as the Pack Police Officer / Alpha. He loves to be the leader and works at enforcing the rules of the yard if tensions get high between dogs. He also helps train the younger dogs who visit. Beckman says he has a lot of pride in training younger pups so they feel confident knowing the routine and rules of the yard. He even teams up with and trains other alpha dogs when they visit so they can fill in if he wants to take a break.

Toby is a seven-year-old Beagle. His job is Little’s Captain as he loves little dogs. Beckman says his best feature is his “adorable big ears and being an excellent couch snuggler.” He’s not always a fan of bigger or younger dogs, especially if they get in his face. But he’s all about hanging out with small dogs. He’s also excellent at understanding dogs that have high anxiety or are stressed or nervous. He’ll help keep them calm by walking next to them in the play yard or just hanging close to them until they feel better.

Finally, Sadie Mae is the pack’s youngest member. The Golden Retriever puppy is approaching her first birthday. She is the Brand Ambassador and was purposely added to the group for the business to be the future yard boss. She hasn’t found a dog she doesn’t like or that doesn’t like her. Beckman says she was raised by dogs, trained by dogs, and lives for dogs. She loves to play with all of her friends to make sure they have the best experience while at the resort. Her favorite job is putting her friends to bed each night in their private condo suites and coming to wake them up in the morning. 

Working with Dogs

Beckman says the best part about working with dogs is the positive appreciation and natural happiness they give you. She loves that they adapt easily and teach her new things about their world every day.

One of the challenges faced daily when working with animals is safety. “No matter how much we try to domesticate an animal, we always need to remember, they are still animals,” comments Beckman “We develop such a strong bond and trust with dogs but easily forget at times that they are still dogs that have needs and behaviors different than ours.”

According to Beckman, when humans forget that dogs are animals or are in too much of a hurry, cues from a dog can be overlooked or misread. This can result in high stress or anxiety that may lead to fights or bites. There shouldn’t be a fear in working with dogs, as they will sense the emotion. Being trained and training staff to always be aware of body language and knowing if a dog needs a break from the pack is crucial in making sure negative behaviors never reach a breaking point. The goal is to set the dogs up for success so they can be happy. 

Another challenge that comes with working with dogs is the physical demand. There is continuous daily cleaning that’s labor-intensive, especially when grooming. Beckman likes to call groomers professional athletes noting the crazy moves, lifting, and stretching that goes on during the process. There’s also the mental challenge of constantly needing to be aware of how each dog is feeling and behaving while being groomed or playing with others. 

Looking Forward

The response from clients since opening has been positive. Beckman feels blessed to be part of a supportive and welcoming community. She says she’s a small-town girl and knew it would take time to establish trust and a positive reputation but she’s overwhelmed with the reaction from clients and their willingness to help her grow.

During the first year of operation, Beckman was constantly adding, changing, and expanding what would work. She feels much of the daily operation of her business is running smoothly. In the coming year, she’ll look to continue planning and observing the operation to make things even better. 

Some staff members will be added for the summer months to help out. Once trained they will allow Beckman to dedicate some of her time to admin needs and working on the next phase of the business. In the near future, she would love to add doggie daycare to her business model as she has had numerous requests for this service. 

In a few years, she would love to build a facility on the edge of her property that would house all of the overnight suites, have an indoor playroom, include a spa parlor, and multiple play yards outside to accommodate different play groups. She’d also love to have a large inground dog bone-shaped pool for the dogs. Her fun and creative ideas are numerous and she’s eager to see where the next stage of the dream will take her.

The majority of her new business has been from word of mouth. “It’s the best form of thank you and appreciation one can ask for and something most small businesses strive to achieve for years to get. I certainly have the best clients ever!” says Beckman of those who do business with her.

Beckman loves watching how dogs learn from and teach each other. She stands on the sidelines and lets the dogs establish their own norms in the pack. Each group is different and when a new dog arrives the order and energy change. The dogs create their own rules and order is typically established quickly. The pack doesn’t want conflict and looks to establish harmony. 

Dogs will correct each other with respect when needed. Beckman says she learns so much by observing their behaviors and interactions. Proper introductions are an “absolute key” and are naturally coded in how they regard one another.

In conclusion, Beckman says, “On my hardest day with dogs, it’s still the easiest compared to the human world. Dogs are so forgiving, selfless, and appreciative. It’s a passion I was born with, and it makes me feel happy & excited to get up every day!”

Weekends and holidays are typically busier at the resort and usually fill up. It’s advised to plan months in advance for big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. For other times two to three weeks ahead is generally safe, but the earlier planning the better. For more information about Fur Baby Bliss and to book a stay for your family canine visit their website, Facebook page, or Instagram page.

Photos courtesy of Fur Baby Bliss and used with permission.

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