Some of our decisions that seem insignificant at the time can lead to a monumental shift in the future. It’s a reminder that, for better or worse, life can unfold in unexpected ways. Tim Raven and Wendy Wallace made one decision that led to overwhelmingly positive change.
In January 2008, Tim and Wendy were watching the news and saw a story covering All Breed Canine Rescue. The organization was seeking foster parents for its dogs before finding them a permanent home. This opportunity caught the attention and interest of Tim and Wendy.
Having grown up with dogs and owning two golden retrievers at the time, Tim and Wendy immediately knew that fostering would be perfect for them. Following a successful inspection of their West Lorne, Ont. home, they were qualified to become foster parents.
After one year of fostering dogs, Tim and Wendy felt the urge to help in more ways and took their love for dogs to the next level. Tim enrolled in a one-year program at Animal Behaviour College, graduating with Honours as a Certified Dog Trainer in September 2010.
Tim also completed an in-shelter training course designed to teach techniques that help increase enrichment and reduce stress in shelter environments. He learned that fences, crates, and cages create barrier aggression, often leading to poor behaviour in some dogs.
Tim and Wendy both received their Pet First Aid Certificates, subsequently beginning their research on dog kennels. Tim and Wendy’s role as foster parents lasted for nearly a decade, but they wanted to help their local community through a comprehensive dog care service.
This help came in the form of Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch, which established itself as a dog boarding and daycare service open to the public in September 2010. Tim and Wendy once cared for dogs of family and friends, but they were now transforming it into a viable business.
“It was Wendy and her customer service skills that advanced many of the things we do at Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch,” Tim said. “When she was in school, she researched dog training and many different kennels to learn about what they did or did not offer, as well as their policies.”
Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch offers a wide variety of services through assessments and training, grooming, socializing, boarding, and daycare for all dogs. Tim, Wendy, and their staff strive to deliver a positive experience for all dogs as opposed to merely providing the bare minimum.
Their business has received rave reviews on social media, including five-star ratings on both Google and Facebook. Clients of Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch praise Tim and Wendy’s dedication to a dog-first method, particularly regarding the impressive results in training and socializing.
For clients who are worried about leaving their dog at Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch for the first time, constant updates from Tim and Wendy reduce these anxieties. Multiple times each day, the business’ Facebook page posts images of the dogs during their introductions and walks.
As lifelong dog owners and experienced foster parents, Tim and Wendy subscribe to the philosophy of “letting dogs be dogs.” This perspective has informed Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch’s cage-free approach, crafting an open environment that permits dogs to interact and socialize.
Situated on a 14-acre hobby farm, Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch fulfills Tim and Wendy’s vision for a dog boarding and daycare service. This location also serves as their home, moving in 2012 from West Lorne to their vast hobby farm in Muncey, Ont., thereby expanding their business.
During their move to Muncey, they developed a relationship with CFDC Middlesex, which helped with financing parts of their building and further expansion. Tim and Wendy also used CFDC Middlesex’s business consulting and workshops to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch grew faster than Tim and Wendy could have ever imagined, as they were looking to upscale their operations within the first few years of its establishment. This development would allow the accommodation of more dogs and an increase in the activities.
“I have started offering Reiki treatments for our client’s dogs, which can help the body with stress reduction, relaxation, and overall well-being,” Wendy said. “It is natural, safe, and gentle hands-on healing. As much as it is for people, it can also provide the same benefits for dogs.”
Like most small businesses, Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch felt the impact of COVID-19, shutting down for one week before deemed an essential service. Tim and Wendy took advantage of relief funds, but they were forced to lay off staff and did not pay themselves for a few months.
Their primary measure to help prevent the virus from spreading had clients drop off and pick up their dogs through the facility’s side gate. This cautionary change also involved cleaning the gate after each client’s visit and disinfecting food containers brought by dog owners.
Over the first three months of the pandemic, business slowed down for Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch. At this time, Tim and Wendy occupied themselves with getting other work done around their hobby farm and offered Sunday dog walks on the premises to their clients.
Due to this decrease in business, Tim and Wendy put a hold on their loans and other payments. Among their repayments included funds from CFDC Middlesex, which received a deferral for several months, enabling them to navigate these times of financial uncertainty.
Despite the effects of COVID-19, business is looking up because of Tim and Wendy’s passion for dog care and the demand for it. Along with their experience and expertise, it is hard to find a dog care service as comprehensive and of high quality as Tail Waggin’ Dog Ranch.