Dogfather and Co.

Meet Kristina – the Director of Operations and Senior Buyer at Dogfather and Co. 

Why did you choose the name Dogfather and Co.?

The company was founded by a couple who considered themselves to be the ‘dogfathers’. And then the business was purchased in 2008 by the current owner Nataly, who decided to keep the name. 

You’ve cared for street dogs in India. Tell us a little bit about what that experience was like. 

Caring for street dogs in India was tough.
It certainly was not an experience for the faint hearted. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime, and I learnt a lot about dog behaviour and psychology, as I was able to observe and work with dogs that live on their own without the interference of humans. 

Do you think the approaches used by holistic veterinarians work?

Holistic veterinarians are unfortunately extremely difficult to find here in Ontario. They not only go through vet school, like all other vets, but they also do years of schooling afterwards, usually at human holistic schools since there aren’t many available for animals.
Their approach is the only one I believe in, which is that the number one thing that leads to illness and disease is a bad diet and lifestyle.
Diseases can be significantly avoided or lessened with a change of diet and lifestyle alone. That goes for both humans and animals.

How do you ensure the services you offer at Dogfather are unique and one of a kind in such a competitive market space?

With the help of our passionate staff members we are constantly brainstorming and researching new products and services on the market.
Since we only hire staff who are completely dedicated to helping dogs live better lives, we feel that this gives us an edge over other companies who offer similar services.

From ordering pupcakes to one-on-one dog fittings, where do you get your ideas from, and what is next for Dogfather?

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline at the moment. With our second location opening soon, we will have more space to provide more innovative services and products. We are very excited to be announcing the launch of this new store in 2018.

What has changed within your business since you expanded by including a cafe and grooming facility?

The cafe and grooming facility came about because we want to provide all the services that one would need for their dog in one space.
While we are a tiny shop, we do try very hard to provide as many services and products that we possibly can.
Now that we’ve outgrown our tiny space, we have finally found a second location to help serve our customers needs better.

The products you sell in your boutique are very unique. How have you sourced these products and what made you decide to sell such a wide, creative range of dog products?

Some of these are our trade secrets, however, what I can tell you is that we won’t put anything on our shelves that we haven’t tested on our own dogs. Anything that we wouldn’t give to our own dogs, or that our dogs will not eat, does not make it to our store.
 

How do you ensure your products/ services appeal to a Canadian market?

We are always listening to what our customers have to say. Our customers are the most important part of our business.
If they recommend a product or a service, we look into it. If we believe it’s a product or service that the majority of our clients would also appreciate, we recommend it, or bring it in.

Tell us a little bit about K9 cafe and what makes it special? 

The K9 came about because of the strict regulations and rules around the prohibition of having dogs in restaurants and cafes in Toronto.
This can be extremely frustrating especially in Summer, when one wants to sit outside with their dog and have a coffee.
People can’t even sit on venue patios with their dog. So since we have a small patio out back, we decided to donate that space to our clients.
They can go get a coffee at any cafe in our neighbourhood and bring it back to our patio. They can also buy a treat for their dog to keep them satisfied and busy so the owner can relax, and enjoy the weather.
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Alfred and Oliver

My name is Maggie, and I live with my partner, David, and our two cats, Alfred and Oliver. I thought I would start with a little introduction to Alfred and Oliver.

Alfred is an all-black domestic short hair born on October 31st, 2015. He was originally adopted from the Toronto Humane Society by a family for their 10-year-old son.

When the boy didn’t take good care of Alfred his mother put him back up for adoption. We then adopted him in 2016 when he was about 4-months-old.

Oliver is also a domestic short hair, but he is a Tabby.  I would call him a ticked Tabby because of his marking.

He was born on July 22nd, 2016 and we adopted Oliver in September 2016 from a local pet store in partnership with the Toronto Humane Society.

What do Alfred and Oliver mean to you?

Alfred and Oliver pretty much run our household.

David likes to say that our cats are what we look forward to when we come home each night.

They mean the world to us and we do our very best to keep them happy and healthy at all times.

Why did you decide to start a social media account for them?

I have been an avid hiker for many years and I have always wanted to adopt a dog to take out on hikes with me.

But David and I just don’t live the kind of lifestyle that allows us to have a dog.

One day I found some social media accounts about adventure cats and I knew I had to try to train Alfred and Oliver to go hiking with us.

I discovered that I really loved and enjoyed training them to do all kinds of tricks and to walk on the harness and leash.

I started their personal social media account as a way to encourage other pet owners to stimulate their cats and to get them outside and active.

There are a lot of pets out there that aren’t getting the mental and physical stimulation they deserve.

If @alfredandoliver can help even one pet lover get started with some fun and healthy training, then we are happy and have achieved our goal!

What opportunities have arisen since you opened your account?

I started the account just over a month ago and since then I have had many people reach out to say how much they are enjoying my photography and images of the cats.

Those compliments mean the world to us!

We have been so lucky to connect with lots of individuals from the pet loving community and help others get started with some cat training.

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Do you have a favourite pet? 

Of course not! But, each of the cats has a clear favourite.

Alfred is a very cuddly cat and he likes to rub his face against ours. But unfortunately, David is allergic to cats! 

So, Alfred has chosen me as his best buddy.

And one of our favourite things to do together is falling asleep next to each other.

Every night he lies on my chest and wraps his two front paws around my neck like he’s giving me a big hug.

But Oliver prefers David. They spend lots of time playing fetch together with some of Ollie’s favourite toy mice.

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Have you always been a cat owner?

I didn’t have pets growing up, but David has always been a cat guy.

When he was six-years-old his family adopted a cat named Gidget and she was a great companion of his for fourteen years.

After Gidget’s death David didn’t think he wanted to adopt another cat but after a few weeks we both really missed having a cat around.

I gave Alfred to David as a gift for our two-year anniversary.

Do they always get along?

Alfred and Oliver usually get along very well.

Sometimes Oliver likes to chase his brother around the house, but Alfred is a pretty good sport about it.

There is never any hissing or claws!

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What is the cheekiest thing they have ever done?

Oliver is very particular about his litter box.

If it isn’t kept up to his standard, he likes to do his business on the floor directly next to the box.

This is really our own fault though, since keeping the litter box clean is our job! But it is still something very cheeky that he does! 

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Ten Pets that fit into a 9-5 Lifestyle

Are you aching for constant love, affection and attention?

Do you want to come home to a pet that loves you?

But do you have a busy work and social life?

Factoring in your lifestyle is really important when determining the best pet to buy for you and your family.

You need to consider how much time and attention the pet needs. And not just minimum time to feed and play with them, but additional time for you and your pet to spend together.

Your home and living condition also need to be taken into consideration. For instance, it would be cruel to adopt a Border Collie if you live in a small apartment, because they would require lots of exercise and space to run around. 

Ultimately, research is the name of the game.

And you shouldn’t think that just because you have a busy work and social schedule, that you can’t own a pet.

Which is why we have compiled a list below of pets that require minimal maintenance, but lots of love and care!

Budgies

Budgies are a really great breed of bird that the whole family is guaranteed to love and adore. If you are really short on time you should consider purchasing two budgies so they have constant company, however, keep in mind you will need to work harder to bond with them.

They require at least an hour of entertainment a day, and will probably mimic you in this time, which can be highly entertaining.

And you can get away with only cleaning out their cage once a week. In addition, they are extremely cost-effective, starting at $20.

Guinea Pigs

There are endless benefits to having a guinea pig! They are extremely cute and affectionate and don’t tend to bite.

They are a great addition to your family if you have children and will fit perfectly into a 9-5 lifestyle.

You will need to let them have some free time out of their cage and a decent amount of space to roam about, but you can do this when you get home from work or in the mornings.

They usually live between 4-6 years and as long as you work on building a relationship with your new guinea pig, they will really warm up to you and shortly become a part of the family.

Leopard Geckos

Geckos make pretty cool household pets and you will be sure to stand out amongst your family and friends. These creatures are extremely gentle and don’t tend to grow larger than 7-10 inches.

The only real requirement they need is heat above their tank to stay healthy as well as humid shelter.

A plastic hideout or secure area in their enclosure is crucial as well, as this is what makes them most comfortable.

Leopard Geckos make a great household pet, and as long as you wash your hands after petting them and maintain a level of hygiene around them to avoid salmonella, they can live up to 20 years.

Fish

Fish are an easy, visually aesthetic and entertaining way to add colour and decor to your home.

You can get away with cleaning out your fish tank once a week. And they also add a sense of charm and style to your house.

They are extremely easy to maintain and there are a wide variety of breeds of fish to choose from.

Cats

Cats are easy to maintain and require minimal attention, especially as they get older.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t give your cat lots of love and affection, but they are usually more independent than dogs and have a natural self-cleaning mechanism.

They can entertain themselves and roam freely inside or outside the home. They are truly a great animal companion to have for anybody without an abundance of spare time.

You can also choose whether you would prefer an inside or outside cat, to further cater to your lifestyle needs.

Hamster

Hamsters are super furry, cute animals who are happy living in solitude in their cages.

Just be careful if you are purchasing two of the opposite sex as they reproduce quite rapidly and in only two weeks time.

These are a great pet choice for those who are time conscious as hamsters can be left to fend for themselves as long as they have food, water and some sort of entertainment.

Rabbits

Rabbits are a great choice for a pet if you are space and time conscious.

They are extremely gentle animals who prefer living in a quiet environment.

The only real caution when considering if you should buy a rabbit or not, is their specific diet, as they are vegetarian and have a very delicate digestive system. But this is just something to keep in mind and be prepared for.

Turtles

Turtles can live up to 40 years!

They do require a big tank that needs lots of equipment, but are a great low maintenance pet.

Certain breeds, such as Painted turtles, adapt to new environments quickly and don’t require much exercise either.

As long as they are fed, have a shallow bed of water in their enclosure and a dry area to cool off, they are quite placid and happy creatures. 

Snakes

Snakes, depending on the type of breed you purchase, can live for more than two decades!

Corn snakes are a popular breed to buy as household pets, as well as Milk or Ball Pythons, as they are neither large or venomous.

Hermit Crabs

Food, water and shelter. Easy right?

Hermit crabs are a great easy pet for families! They only really need a bowl of salt water in their enclosure as well as some dry land to to be comfortable.

They do not reproduce in captivity and because they are nocturnal and like travelling in groups, you can purchase multiple of them and be rest assured that they will be happy and entertained.

If you have any other suggestions we would love to hear them! Comment below.