Please tell us about your company and what role(s) you play.
My name is Barbara Noll. Along with my husband Chad, we are the founders and owners of TailBanger’s Pet Resort, LLC. In Dallastown, Pennsylvania. Our services include Doggie Daycare, Boarding and Training. I am the operations and training director. After Chad’s full-time position in health care, he devotes the remainder of his day as property director.
How and when did you start your business? Was it inspired by a pet?
My two Golden Retrievers, Hunter & Lily were therapy dogs that visited nursing homes, libraries, and hospitals. In 2014 I became a certified dog trainer providing private in-home training. I had a successful but stressful career and needed a more rewarding lifestyle by working with dogs. For four years I attended every expo, webinar, and became a member of dog boarding and daycare organizations. I needed to obtain as much knowledge and find mentors that could assist me thought my vision of owning my own pet resort. In June 2015, my husband, and I decided it was time to “jump without a parachute” and pursue our goals. We sold our retirement beach house, boat, and beautiful home to purchase a 54-acre farm that had an 8k sq. ft. indoor horse-riding arena which would later become the pet resort. We officially opened February 23, 2018 and have welcomed through our doors over 1,100 dogs and their parents.
Do you have a pet(s) that joins you at work, what are their names and roles? My 9 ½ year old Golden Retriever, Lily, accompanies me to work Monday-Friday. Lily is a very special girl. She was diagnosed with lymphoma and a rare skin cancer in December 2018. Her prognosis was grim with only 9 months to live. This December will be 2 years that Lily continues to fight cancer. She has become an icon at the resort and loves all the attention from staff and visitors. Lily is the perfect example that through faith, anything is possible.
What makes your business or brand unique? TailBanger’s is a resort, not a kennel. We offer five different styles of lodging quarters to better meets the needs and comfort of our lodging guests. Every dog is walked five times a day at no extra charge. In addition, we have a prime location. Even thought the resort is on a farm, we are only ½ mile off a major interstate that goes directly into Baltimore, as well as the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Convenience and location are extremely important for today’s busy pet parents.
How does your business help other pet lovers like you? From the beginning, we vowed we would not become a mega resort. We can accommodate a maximum of 50 lodging guests/night. Because we are on a smaller scale, we can provide a more personal high touch/high care service for our pet parents and their dogs. Many of the veterinarians in the area refer TailBanger’s for larger dog breeds who need more activity and walks, as well as seniors and those with special needs.
We are known for our safe off leash daycare which follows industry standards with a ratio of one daycare leader for every twelve to fifteen dogs. The large dog daycare group always has two daycare leaders supervising their play. Our trained daycare staff provide a fun and safe daycare facility.
What have been some of your biggest challenges in running your business? How did you overcome them? Like many in the pet industry, one of my biggest challenges is hiring staff that have the drive and passion that is required when caring for people’s dogs. Remember to hire slow. Do not accept anyone who comes through your door just to have a warm body on hand. By taking your time through the interview process, and having the candidate shadow with your staff, you can find an A-team member.
What qualities have made you successful or do you feel are important for inspiring leaders?First and foremost, let your faith be bigger than your fear. As a pet facility owner and caretaker, I have an unwritten agreement with every dog in my care. I am going to do what is in the dog’s best interest, even if it might create an inconvenience to the human client. For example, if a dog simply does not enjoy daycare, I refuse to continue signing them up for a stressful activity. The pet parent might feel guilty leaving their dog for long hours at home, however daycare is not the best environment for their dog. Make sure your top priority is the health & safety of the dog before the dollar. It will pay off in the end.
What cool things are you/your business working on that you would like to share? New product or service? Podcast or training series?
During the COVID-19 shut down, dog boarding and daycare were still considered essential. We had to do some re-inventing, so we introduced our Puppy Enrichment Academy. Pet parents could drop their pups off (curb side) and know that their puppy would be spending a day of socialization, training, and enrichment games. We have had over 20 academy graduates since the program started in March.
After completing renovations, we will be introducing a new service. Stay-Play-Plus will be offered to those dogs that are not social butterflies, prefer a small playgroup with their “furiends”, or simply a place to go for walks and enrichment stimulation. We are expecting to unveil our new service by the end of September.
Where can someone get more information about your business? Go to our website at www.tailbangerspetresort.com. Also follow us on Facebook and see our daycare dogs having a pawsome time with their “furiends.”
Final quote by George Addair, “Everything you’re ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” This has been the inspiration through my journey in the pet care industry.