Joe Fox: It was business. It wasn't... personal.
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
- You’ve Got Mail
I’m nine months into owning my business. I still get a lot of questions about whether or not anything has changed.
My actual job functions have not changed. I can run this business in my sleep. But I’ll tell you what has changed: my feeling of responsibility.
To clarify: I always felt responsible for the staff and the canine guests. I was always available via phone or text and pinch hit in many different capacities over the years. But let’s be honest: the business wasn’t mine. When ya got right down to it, I was entitled to nothing nor on the hook for anything.
But now, it’s different. I feel personally responsible for the staff: how they treat (and are treated by) customers, how they treat one another, how they feel about their jobs, this business, etc. I am responsible for all of that. And the dogs! I find myself sharing a customer’s outrage when they tell me if a veterinarian or groomer mistreated or misdiagnosed their pet. If they tell me another dog was mean to theirs at the dog park, I am personally offended. I’m not sure when I started taking all of these things to heart but fact is, I do.
I wasn’t consciously aware of this until about a month ago. Someone said to me, rudely and in a very nasty, uncalled for manner, that not everyone has the “luxury” of owning a business and some people had to “work” for a living.
Truth: I don’t feel like this is work. I never have. Sure, I am here every day doing bookkeeping, ordering, new camper evaluations and a thousand other things but “work”, nah. It’s a joy for me to be here.
And I am here. Like clockwork, I am here.
Admittedly, I took two weeks off for my honeymoon (which is the longest I had
been away from home in over a decade) but other than that I’m in with the rest
of the staff. And like I tell them and the dogs – I see and hear everything.
I’m well aware there are absentee business owners out there. I am not one of them. I get up, put my son on the bus and go to work. I love being here. When I’m not here, I’m at cub scouts or basketball or jiu jitsu but I’m still in communication with Hounds Town – Port Jeff. I love it. I love watching my staff flourish, the dogs have fun and customers feel good about leaving their beloved babies with us. I love that I take this business personally. I can’t ever imagine not feeling this way.
As for that obnoxious comment last month, I let it slide. It was sent via email (naturally – it’s amazing how “tough” people are when they’re hiding behind a computer) and I debated if I should get into a whole thing about how much I do everyday and how I’m not off on a yacht somewhere sipping Cristal but…eh. Some people are just miserable. It wasn’t worth a good rant. :)
In other news, Kayla, our groomer here, is having a grooming demonstration on Oct. 21! From 3 to 5 p.m., she will show folks what goes into a full groom. Seating is limited though, so if you’d like to go please reserve a spot by calling (631) 476-9320. Her model, by the way, is my extremely handsome Ringo D. Dawg.
I’m also calling on all my fellow dog friends to post any cool pet related events on our Facebook wall: Hounds Town – Port Jeff. Fall is a wonderful time to get out with your pooch for the day and often times, the events benefit shelters or rescue groups.