Steve and Anthony of Hounds Town – Bergen interviewed by Sarah Wallace of NBC New York.
In May, dog day care Hounds Town – Bergen opened its doors to a unique trio of abandoned Beagles nicknamed Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Named of course after popular characters from Disney’s Frozen, these siblings were lost and terrified when they first picked up by the Woodcliff Lake Police. When they arrived at the Bergen County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, they did not know how to socialize. There was speculation that the dogs had never even been indoors before. This all meant that the potential for adoption was grim. Hounds Town franchisee owner Steve Garibell said, “After being assessed by the shelter, we decided that some time at Hounds Town would be perfect for them.”
A Relationship with a Surprising Benefit
So how did this beagle threesome go from the local animal shelter to a popular dog day care? Garibell attributes it to the surprisingly synergistic relationship Hounds Town USA has with local rescues. “Our relationship with the shelter began when we opened a year ago. We had groups of [shelter] dogs stay with us for a few weekends so our team could train them. While this was a great way for our team to learn, we discovered it was extremely beneficial for the dogs too. So, we started working with the shelter weekly to identify dogs that either needed some socialization skills or were too stressed to be living in the shelter.”
Anna, Elsa, and Olaf began boarding at Hounds Town – Bergen. They learned basic socialization skills, responded well to crate training, and discovered how to approach people without getting scared. “The most important thing they learned though was just how much love they have to give,” says Garibell.
Clear the Shelter Day
On Saturday, August 17, Hounds Town – Bergen worked with the Bergen County Animal Shelter for Clear the Shelter Day. The increasingly popular event—now in its fifth year–is a nationwide initiative to encourage pet adoption for the more than 6 million dogs and cats that end up in shelters each year. Adoption fees are waived, and more than 2,000 rescues participated in the NBC- and Telemundo-sponsored event. Boasting record-breaking adoption this year, more than 12,000 dogs, cats, and even roosters were rescued on Clear the Shelter day. That includes more than 1,200 in the tri-state area alone.
The success of Clear the Shelters was particularly poignant for the folks at Hounds Town – Bergen. “To prepare for the big day, we helped the dogs socialize and de-stress. It allowed them to have better meet and greets with potential adopters. Also by allowing the shelter dogs to interact with our resident dogs and posting social media about them, people get to see who they really are.” Some of the dogs that were trained by the Hounds Town – Bergen team were successfully adopted that day including Krypto, Derek, Rocco, Nina, and of course the once-terrified Beagle trio. Hounds Town President Jackie Bondanza said, “We were thrilled to hear that Anna, Elsa, and Olaf found their furever homes. Steve and Anthony gave these pups a second chance at life.”
Giving Back Has Its Rewards
For his part, Steve doesn’t like to take too much credit. “It is our responsibility as business owners to give back to the community.” And that responsibility has turned his love for dogs (including his own rescue pit bull mix Cooper) into dollars. “Many of the adoptions that are placed end up becoming Hounds Town customers. The shelter and rescues we work with have become our top referral sources for new customers. It’s a win-win for everyone.” Anna, Elsa, and Olaf for sure must agree!