K9’s in Kahoots – an oasis for your dog
Storefront from K9s in Kahoots There is a dog haven located on the Main Street in the heart of Stouffville, Ontario; a place where daycare, training, and walking exist under one roof. That may seem like a lot of services offered, well it’s even more when you consider the quality of work and level of care provided by Darlene Johnson, the owner and operator of K9’s in Kahoots.
Oh ya! Let’s not forget the several items K9’s in Kahoots has available for purchase.
A huge thanks to Darlene for providing the answers to the interview questions below.
How did this dog haven get started might you ask?
Like many in the industry, getting my first dog, Shelby, was what got me started. When I got married, I took some time off and got a dog. Wanting to make sure she was well behaved, I took the dog to obedience training. I was hooked. The slippery slope started with me wanting to become an obedience trainer. Through the courses I was taking, I was offered an opportunity to fill-in for someone at a dog daycare close to where I lived. After doing that, I figured I could start my own, given that I could see a demand in my hometown. I had taken some businesses courses in University and started to write my business plan to start up my own dog daycare. Fourteen years later, wow how time has flown, K9’s in Kahoots is still growing.
Tell us a bit about Shelby? And do you own another dog now?
Simcoe from K9’s in KahootsShelby was the love of my life, don’t tell my husband that. She was 7 when K9’s in Kahoots finally opened and she lived to 14. For an American Golden Retriever, that is s pretty long life and she lived it to the fullest. From fly-ball to agility to her St. John’s certification, she helped me so much to be the trainer that I am. She was great introduction into the fabulous world of dogs for me and my family.
So, now we have Simcoe, named after one of my favorite places, Lake Simcoe. She is a 6-year old English Golden Retriever. Simcoe couldn’t be more different from Shelby, helping me continue my journey of learning about dog behaviour. Where Shelby was patient, calm, and forgiving, Simcoe is driven, intense and continues to challenge me to be a better trainer. She is a true retriever; so much so that when we go swimming in the lake we need to bring at least 10 pool noodles for Shelby to retrieve, otherwise she will start retrieving people by their bathing suit.
If you were a dog, how would you describe your business to other dogs?
Dogs at K9’s in KahootsThere’s this place that my mom takes me where I meet up with all my friends. We play with each other and get to play in doggie pools and have nap time together. We get awesome treats when we have our lunch and get to play again with our friends in the afternoon. The humans there are awesome and are always taking pictures of us for this thing called Instagram! They are trying to make me a celebrity.
How would you describe your typical customer?
We are so fortunate to get a chance to talk with our customers when they pick up their pups and they are such hard-working people that care about their companion and only want the best for them.
Are you active in your neighbourhood? If so, how?
Every year is Stouffville, on the first weekend of July they hold the Stouffville’s only off-leash park. This is a huge event, attracting over 25,000 people, that shuts down the Main Street and we participate with a super dog-friendly booth and “doggie-bags”. In addition, for the past 10 years, we have been the lead or co-sponsor of the Dog Contest. We also sponsor a local baseball team, invite Santa in every year for a weekend of picture taking with pups, helped create Stouffville’s only off-leash park and support responsible dog ownership through the sale and support of dog tags and offering discounts on services to rescue dog owners.
What goes on during your typical workday that you think would surprise your customers?
People often think of daycares as being loud, chaotic and frankly out of control, but after a morning of fun and play we can see anywhere from 10-20 dogs all take nap at the same time without the use of crates. It is so peaceful. The other surprising thing is that because of how our facility is designed, when customers walk in the front door the dogs will not bark…unless they ring the doorbell, then all you know what can break loose.
What’s a fun-fact about yourself that you can share?
My staff all laugh about this, that I have this weird “birthday connection”. So, it starts with everyone I hire. Now keep in mind I have a small staff, but every one of them have a birthday that is the same as someone significant in my life. Then there are the dogs. All the dogs that are significant in my life have the same birthday day as significant people in my life. Then there are anniversaries. Don’t get me started on anniversaries. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a fun fact, but more a bit spooky.
If you could buy one thing for your dog, what would it be?
A cottage. If you were a dog that loved to swim and retrieve, would that be what you wanted? Just sayin’. Plus, I know he would invite me up every weekend.