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Just Happy to be Here
the blog of
Amy Nichols, CEO of Dogtopia

Record Numbers in 2010!

January 30th, 2011

Nope, not our revenue, though 2010 was our biggest year ever, I am talking about charitable giving.

At Dogtopia one of our Company Values is “active community service.”  We are committed to giving back, and all of our locations are extremely active in philanthropy.  In 2010 we raised a record $50,000 for a variety of charities and rescue groups!

More than $20,000 was collected in donations from our annual charity dog wash for our non-profit, K-9 Support.  K-9 Support provides food,  supplies, and much deserved toys to military dogs stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.  In 2009 we expanded to also include local Police K-9 units and Assistance Dog programs.

In addition to our Dog Wash, this year we created “Paws for Pink” and partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure throughout the month of October.  All Dogtopia locations dedicated a portion of their spa sales (baths, nail trimming, and self-service washes) to the cause – resulting in more than $7,000 given to breast cancer research.

On a local level, Dogtopia franchisees throughout the country established relationships with local rescue shelters, dog parks, schools and other organizations in dozens of communities.  They held fantastic events, washed more dogs, and together raised a total of $23,000.  In addition to raising money, the majority of Dogtopia locations also foster dogs at no cost until the animal rescue group finds them a permanent home.

I am so proud of Dogtopia – our franchisees, our home office team, and our employees who together made a real difference in 2010!

For more information about our philanthropic activities and our latest charity events visit Dogtopia Cares.

Paws For Pink

October 1st, 2010

This year we are very proud to announce that we have partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.  Throughout the month of October all Dogtopia locations have committed to donating 10% of spa sales to this wonderful organization.

We have “pinked-out” our website and stores in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and we hope that you will join us by getting your dog washed, their nails trimmed, or even using our self-service dog washes.

Clean Dog + Worthy Cause = WIN!

Food recall: P&G expands cat & dog food recall to include Iams & Eukanuba due to Salmonella concerns

August 2nd, 2010

Original Article:  DC Examiner.com

Five days after an initial pet food recall, P&G announced that they are expanding the recall to include other product lines. Iams and Eukanuba dog and cat foods are on the recall list due to possible exposure to Salmonella. These foods were sold at veterinary clinics and and specialty pet retailers throughout the US and Canada.

The newly added products include:
Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas (All dry sizes and varieties) with “Best by” dates of 01Jul10 – 01Dec11– All upc codes of all Iams dry foods within those dates are included.
Eukanuba Naturally Wild (All dry sizes and varieties) with “Best by” dates of 01Jul10 – 01Dec11– All upc codes of Eukanuba Naturally Wild products within those dates are included.
Eukanuba Pure (All dry sizes and varieties) with “Best by” dates of 01Jul10 – 01Dec11– all upc codes of Eukanuba Pure products are included if they are within those dates.
Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin (All dry sizes) with “Best by” dates of 01Jul10 – 01Dec11– all upc codes of Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin upc codes within those dates are included.

The company has expressed that because all of these foods are made in the same facility and the previous foods did test positive for Salmonella, the rest of these products are also at risk of contamination.

Consumers need to understand that pet owners who touch pet food may become sick with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella in humans include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Children, the elderly and those with a compromised immune system can develop serious complications from Salmonella. If you handled any recalled food and are experiencing symptoms of Salmonella you are advised to talk to a health care provider.

Sometimes pets can be carriers of Salmonella and not show obvious symptoms, but they have the potential to then infect other pets within the same household. Symptoms of Salmonella in pets include lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. If you have concerns over the health of your pet you should consult a veterinarian.

Consumers are asked to properly dispose of any recalled food taking care to ensure that no other animals may get into it. You may also call P&G to discuss any concerns including replacements or refunds at 877-340-8823. That number is staffed from 9 am to 6 pm (EST) Monday through Friday.

Dogtopia Dog Wash TODAY!

July 18th, 2010

It’s hot outside, but cool in here! Come out to the K9 Support Dog Wash TODAY 11am-3pm Dogtopia of White Flint, MD http://bit.ly/aBdO9c

Dogtopia To Clean New York City – One Dog At A Time!

July 16th, 2010

Calling all New York City dog owners! Please join us on the Fox News Plaza at 1211 Avenue of the Americas on Saturday, July 17th from 7am-10am as we wash dogs for our national charity K9 Support!

New York City is just the kick-off to the K9 Support Dog Wash Weekend – we are hosting Dog Washes in every Dogtopia location across the country!  Please check here for the location nearest you and for more information and directions.

We are hoping to wash 200 dogs and raise more than $20,000 for a very worthy cause – supporting working and service dogs of all kinds!  Each Dogtopia has chosen an organization to support, and you can find out more by visiting their page.

At Dogtopia Headquarters in North Bethesda, MD we will be raising money for the Montgomery County K-9 Police Unit and Urban Search and Rescue.  Come join us for what promises to be a wet and wild time!!

If you cannot attend a Dog Wash, you can still help out by donating through Paypal on our K9 Support home page.

Thank you in advance for your support!!

April Fools!

April 2nd, 2010

While we did receive a few requests to evaluate cats for doggie daycare, we were never planning to have cats stay at Dogtopia, and I seriously doubt any of them would have wanted to!

We just couldn’t resist a little April Fool’s Day joke!

Happy Spring everybody!

PS  Even though we are “Dogtopia,” we love cats just as much!

Now Offering Catopia!!

April 1st, 2010

Now offering cat daycare!

According to the Humane Society of the United States there are approximately 94 million owned cats in the US and until today, they were left out of the fun at “Dogtopia”. But not anymore! We’re thrilled to announce that Dogtopia is now Catopia as well!

If your cat is like most cats, they spend their days bored and lonely with only a ball of yarn or the occasional scratch at the post to amuse them. We know you can’t be with them all day and by the time you get home, they want to play while you want to relax and unwind. Even if you are lucky enough to spend the day at home with your precious kitty, they still miss out on very important cat-to-cat and cat-to-dog socialization.

Enter Cat Daycare! Soon you’ll be able to drop your cat off at Catopia and let them burn off all that kitty energy, as well as mingle with their own four-legged kind. You’ll pick-up a happy (and tired) cat at the end of the day and you can spend your evenings relaxing and purring together.

Similar to the entry requirements for Dogtopia, all cats must be well socialized.  Due to their smaller size, most cats will be placed in our Toy Box play area with the smaller dogs. For the more daring breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese and Maine Coons, the more active Gym would be an option.

Because we offer a mixed open play environment, Catopia requires an evaluation for all cats prior to attending daycare or boarding. The evaluation consists of our reviewing the evaluation forms, verifying the required vaccinations, and then introducing them to a group of dogs and cats. The vast majority of cats will pass their evaluation with flying colors and afterward they’ll be free to come for daycare or boarding any time.  We look forward to meeting you and your cat!

For more information email us at cats@dogdaycare.com.

Small Business Pundit

January 27th, 2010

I have decided to start a new web site to further explore my passion for politics and in particular, how small business is affected by policy.

I speak with small business owners every day that share the same frustrations:

1.  Access to capital (I feel like a broken record on this one, but we need to keep talking about it until there is some resolution and forward momentum)

2. Concern over how new policies may affect their business (health care reform and corporate taxation

3.  The ability to offer benefits to their employees balanced with maintaining a profitable business (see #2, but add to that the current exorbitant costs for small businesses to provide it because they cannot join together for better rates)

Those are just a few of the topics that will be discussed on my new web page, come take a look!

Small Business Pundit

Amy Nichols on Fox News “Your World” with Neil Cavuto

December 11th, 2009

At the last minute I was asked to speak about tax incentives for small businesses – and I was more than happy to oblige!  It was quite an experience, and the first time I had ever been interviewed via satellite -  rather strange when you can’t see the person you are talking to!

Bottom line – the Administration needs to allocate more funds to small business lending.  The Recovery Act allocated funds to be used to provide 90% guarantees on SBA loans and drastically reduced or eliminated the fees associated with SBA loans.  (In my case I saved over $11,000 in fees!) Let’s hope they can make this happen sooner rather than later and keep the momentum behind small business lending and job creation.

Amy Nichols on Your World with Neil Cavuto

Dogtopia In USA Today!

October 12th, 2009

We are honored and excited to be featured today in the USA Today newspaper and online!

Here is the article:

Dogtopia in USA Today

And the video featuring lots of cuties from Dogtopia of Tysons Corner, VA!

Dogtopia Video on USAToday.com

I hope you enjoy them both – big thanks to Dogtopia of Tysons for being so patient while we filmed, and Jordan, Maria, and Liz for being willing participants!