View Full Version : The boarding kennel where I used to work...advice please!

10-11-2011, 01:01 PM
Will try and make this short.

I worked at a cat boarding kennel near here steady for over 2 years, then made a stupid mistake that cost me my job. My bosses and I were all very upset about it - I liked them, they liked me, but if I came back we'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I was getting $13 an hour, I got to work with all these kitties! - and I loved that job. When I left, I cried for 3 days.

Meanwhile, they were trying to sell their house and the business. They had built this from the ground up and 10 years later, they wanted to be able to take a holiday or two...they were burned out. They at least wanted to sell the business.

I finally recommended my best friend, all worked out, and she is manager there. An apartment is in the basement, below the kennel. She and her nale friend (they were engaged and broke up just before she got the kennel offer at which point they saw it through. He was refusing to get treatment for his PTSD). I thought she would be great at it for valid reasons.

I left. The former owners had their way of doing things learned over 10 years first-hand experience. My friend said she would have her own system - fair enough.

The present employee is experiencing some of what I did - I was no longer allowed to do the laundry, or dishes in the dishwasher (utilities cost!), or scrub and sanitize the litter boxes/scoops/brooms. It used to be that as soon as a cat room was vacant it was vacuumed, sanitized, then windows done and refurbished with clean towels, box etc.

Now she doesn't want the rooms done until they are needed. The litter buckets are not taken out and emptied daily. Dirty dishes are left outside the cat rooms when they are removed - and (I don't know how frequently) an opened can of cat food is left on top of one of the rooms.

The place is starting to stink. Dishes are hand-done in bleach and soapy water, rinsed and drained on a huge (clean) towel. The three large plants in the sunroom are dying - I was in one morning and managed to get some water into them. She "doesn't like plants".

She has health limitations, so the idea was to have her manage the financials and bookings (which she sometimes forgets to write down), but she is really good at that, while the other person did the more physical work. But it seems like she wants to do everything. And it doesn't get done!

Her personal stuff, like clothing, is in the kennel bathroom, on the table - in short, too much of her personal stuff in the business space.

Now, I know she is going through her own stuff. But I loved and love this place, it means a lot to me - and try and talk to her about the kennel stuff! Upset and defensive.

She leases the building and is paying off the mortgage for the business itself - a non-tangible asset.

The wife of the original couple has some idea of all this, and probably her husband as well.
Should the current employee and the past one meet with her and the original couple for a meeting?

She loves the cats and keeps a good eye on them...but she seems overwhelmed and will not let go of "her way" and let someone help her. Her doc has referred her to a psych and she also found out about a psychologist in town from the priest at my church, who she talks with every so often for spiritual advice.

Maybe he can talk to her?

She will run this into the ground and the rest of us (employees present and former) are standing by feeling helpless. It's none of our business, yet one can't approach her on this.

This is heartbreaking and frustrating.

Thanks for listening to the vent.

Any ideas?


10-11-2011, 01:01 PM
Tried to make it short, but didn't...

10-11-2011, 01:34 PM
You said she's managing the facility. Does that mean The original owner still owns it? If so, I'd call your former boss and voice your concerns.

The way the dishes are getting washed seems kind of picky. She washes them by hand rather than in the dishwasher, so what? They likely get cleaner that way. But the rest are definitely legitimate concerns. I think it's important for these things to be brought to the attention of the owner. After all, she's the one who will have to answer (and pay) if her kitty guests start getting sick from lack of proper sanitation. It's her reputation on the line as a business owner and I'm sure she wants her business to be represented as professionally as possible.

10-11-2011, 05:44 PM
It's none of our business, yet one can't approach her on this.

Exactly. People do buy businesses, mess up and lose it all. Unless the Sellers provided the financing, it won't cost them anything, and is no longer their concern either. If / when the changes start costing customers, then maybe -- MAYBE - she will be interested in help. Until then, you have to let her do things her way.

10-11-2011, 09:22 PM
Thanks, guys.

The owners/sellers are holding the mortgage. And the reason the former owners wanted the dishes done in the dishwasher is that the extreme heat sanitizes them.

I know nothing can really be done...but I think the current manager is getting to a breaking point.

And the owners are not dummies. They designed, built and ran the place themselves, and it had a stellar reputation.


Maybe contacting the owners is the way to go. Meanwhile, I'll be praying.

10-11-2011, 09:36 PM
Maybe your friend needs help. Can she hire someone else ????

10-12-2011, 10:19 AM
She HAS someone else, Wom - but she won't let her help. This helper was so p'd off yesterday - and I remember getting this when I was still working there and my friend became manager: "Don't do the laundry. Don't do the dishes (which are the cat feeding dishes so heat sterilization is important)." Etc

Totally threw out my whole routine and with her picking on every little thing I was a wreck in no time. I am surprised her present help hasn't smacked her one!

She does not delegate authority and seems to think she has to do everything herself - and is likely overwhelmed as a result.

10-13-2011, 10:38 AM
She sounds like she might have OCD or something, not trusting anyone other than herself with a task.

10-13-2011, 12:28 PM
It sounds like a hoarder situation where they can't see what they're doing is really unhealthy for the animals. Cats get airborne respiratory infections quickly and stuff spreads easily around where there are lots of cats. She needs to keep the place clean. If it were me I'd probably forget the merciful approach and place a consumer complaint to the better business bureau or to a local spca if there is one where you live. It sounds like this is the tip of the iceberg of one of those facilities that ends up on some animal cops show after years of investigation. Something needs to motivate her to get help or get out of the business.

10-13-2011, 03:40 PM
Thanks, IR. She is away on a break right now so the other worker and I are going to go to town on getting the place up to snuff.

She will not be told about this.

AND - I figure I can contact the owners...I went in to use the washroom and saw all this mess...I am sticking my nose in, but I don't care!

I know the blood, sweat and tears the owners put into that place and I won't see it wrecked!

10-13-2011, 04:35 PM
Candace, you have some good ideas and plans there. Go for it! We are all on your side here. God bless you and be with you as you help keep this refuge going for all the kitties who need it so badly.

Pat and cats

10-13-2011, 08:08 PM
This is a professional boarding kennel, not a rescue - though it occasionally acts as one.

The 'boss' is away. I am driving the one staff member to work there. I took my camera today.

Boss's BF saw me taking pictures and got tense - I joked about having worked there and feeling nostalgic.

The staffer finishes up - she was told to just feed and go as she had to leave early today. We go for coffee - sure enough, there is a nasty voice mail for her that she left early (this was agreed upon earlier, but never mind). Then she got a phone call from 'boss' to not let me in there any more and that I wasn't to take pictures!

Well...if there is nothing wrong there, why is she upset about pictures?

Taken Thursday October 13 at 5:00 pm.

NB - the dishes are as they were on Tuesday; also, the used room broom upstairs on the ledge has been there since Tuesday; none of the litter boxes or scoops have been cleaned. I was stunned to find out that the place has run out of the sanitizer in which clean brooms, scoops and boxes were soaked for 15 minutes - and none has been ordered to replace it.

Would be great to have a backer with $35,000 so I could be a majority shareholder.

10-13-2011, 08:11 PM
More pics

10-13-2011, 08:13 PM
Just a couple more.

And 'boss' called me to make sure I was able to pick the staffer up and get her to and from work. Like that is any of her business? I think the staffer and I are adults and can work that out ourselves.