woofers, big enough to be good…… small enough to be great!
In brief: Woofers began trading in 2005 with one station wagon and a (not so lonely) dog walker. Since then we’ve grown with an intention to never loose sight of what mades us good; personalised quality care by professional people.
We now have a great team of thirteen full-time staff on salary; seven professional certified Dog Trainers, three fully trained Animal Handlers, three senior Dog Groomers and an after school student whom helps around the salon and office. Our small but comfortable headquarters (Woofers HQ) and a grooming salon is based in Ormond is open Monday through to Friday (except public holidays).
The Woofers team work closely together sharing duties and interchanging roles between HQ and field work, so when you call the office you’ll likely speak to a handler that knows your pets (almost as well as you know them). We operate all year round (365 days) providing services that you’ve grown to rely on and we’re proud to offer. We take it in turns to work weekends so that we can always be on duty everyday of the year keeping your pets safe and well cared for.
Our flexibility, sincerity and accountability means that you can trust in Woofers to provide unfaltering quality of care for all animals great or small.
Read more…From the founders: “I was recently asked how Woofers began and only when reciting the story did I feel it was important for others to know what lead us to become such a close knit family who are serious about proper professional pet care and how that foundation lead us to where we are today. In early 2005, we had an opportunity to bring some of our experiences from overseas to Melbourne and fill a niche in the market for an affordable and client-service focussed pet care business. We realised we could add a touch of professionalism into a industry known for it’s inconsistency and lack of accountability. Our original aim was to open an urban dog day care centre complete with overnight facility in what we felt was a perfect location, the inner suburbs of southeast Melbourne. However through numerous attempts and hours of hair pulling we conceded that restrictive licensing, lack of capital and the massive costs of rent for an appropriate style premise far outweighed any chance of offering value in our services nor fulfilling our ultimate goal of “improving the life of urban animals”. So we reviewed “our” aims versus the desires of dog owners and compared it to the actual “needs” of dogs. A good colleague (dog trainer) reminded us that as much as we think of dogs and pets like they are our human children, dogs are, and always will be, a different species. We often anthropomorphise them when actually they have real “needs” versus our perceived needs.In the animal welfare circles it commonly understood that when broken down to basics dogs, like many animals, “need” four key things for the basis of life; food, water, shelter and exercise.
However, it is our belief (and it’s often a point of discussion) that for a true quality of life, a dog requires a fifth element…..socialisation.
It is the socialisation, (including the opportunity display innate behaviours), that makes a massive difference in a canines’ well-being. Petting, affection, grooming, primal interaction, learning through exposure and, possibly most importantly, inclusion in a pack environment tip-the-scale to truly enrich a dog’s quality of life.
And we’ll gladly argue that socialisation is the difference between quality of life rather than basis of life.
Realising that “any old dog walker” could offer the basics; food, water, shelter and exercise, it would take a new approach and style of pet carer to truly improve the life of urban pets in a safe environment. Of course, socialisation needs differ for each dog and we promote that pet care isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach so we set out to make Woofers World stand out, to lead the way in improving the industry and to offer dogs an ability act out their primal behaviours and to socialise with dogs of a similar nature and to and play freely in controlled open environments with skilled handlers. And, as much as possible, to INCLUDE the pets into our family lives (their pack).
Our plan for a big building with pens, chandeliers and flat screen TVs was shelved and we revised what was actually important to the the pets; outdoor playgroups, in-home boarding, enrichment, inclusion in a pack and educated career pet professionals that could improve the industry not compete within it.
Not only would Woofers need a strong the team with a theoretical knowledge of behavioural science but we’d need a range of experiences with all types of pets in all types of situations. Rather than learn as we go with the clients’ animals we wanted to be a knowledgeable authority. We want to enrich the lives of urban pets and educate from a pool of knowledge focusing on the actual needs versus perceived needs….. and at the same time we wanted to have fun, ….. with ……of course……plenty of pats, cuddles and affection along the way.
The immersion of the Woofers Sleepover was a great starting block for us realising our goals. Prior to early 2000’s the practice of home boarding was somewhat under the radar because of it’s “backyard” nature. Inherently there was a lack of accountability, professionalism and consistency despite it being common understood that most family pets weren’t actually suited to traditional boarding kennels.
We recognised a need for a middle ground. Woofer set out to improve the previous short comings and enhance the positives of home-boarding. We searched and sifted through hundreds applications for dog minders applying a strict criteria for families that could help us raise the bar in quality of the home boarding service. Over the last ten years through careful screening and assessing homes and skills have we been able to refine the typical “backyard” industry of home boarding and offer pet owners a quality service with all the security of a traditional kennel (24hr vets, safety, education, housing, exercise, accountability, insurance, appropriate animal interaction, etc etc) with all the comfort of a caring home environment.
A few years ago we were faced with the reality of business viability and in order to survive the team decided that “rather than increase costs nor the number of clients we’d opt to increase the number of services”. It’s that attitude that has lead Woofers to grow in strength without compromising the quality of care an be considered a leader in the field (not just the biggest in the field).
Without a doubt we think of your pets as our own pets, we certainly spend enough time with them that they feel like part of our family. And just like any family, no matter what the family need we’ll be there for them. Rain, hail or shine, 365 days, we ensure that each and every pet has what it needs and a quality of life. We believe what makes a good animal handler is being a good provider. Food, water, shelter, exercise and social interaction. The dogs know we are there for them and through experience we’re confident the owners know it too.
We are proud of what we have achieved over the last few years and the growing list of wonderful services focused on the pets’ needs is constantly evolving. Such success is a testament to the team, it’s because of the team, their fantastic team spirit, their culture of sincerely appreciating each pet for it’s individuality and the continual strive for education and bettering the animals lives is what has made the woofers family grow in quality.
I would like to thank everyone for their kind support and encouragement especially throughout the formative years and for allowing us to be apart of the happy lives of so many little friends.
Life is grand with a pet.
Jonathan W. Co-FOUNDER/GENERAL MANGER WOOFERS WORLD