604 – Creating Better Outcomes for ALL Dogs
Creating Better Outcomes for ALL Dogs
Host Laura Reeves is joined by the founders of For All Dogs — Chris Fleming of Pinnacle Pet and Martha Boden of SPCA Tampa Bay. This unlikely partnership grew out of a mutual desire to create better outcomes for all dogs, including retired breeding dogs from commercial kennels and adoptable dogs in animal shelters.
As we wrap up “spicy October,” this conversation about a powerful alliance of opposing forces stands as a testament to the positive outcomes when we work together for the good of ALL dogs, instead of tearing one another down.
Fleming is a broker for commercial kennels who sell puppies through pet stores. Boden is the director SPCA Tampa Bay’s animal shelter. They describe their partnership and friendship as serendipitous. Their work is beyond groundbreaking.
In 2008, Fleming began working with his suppliers to improve their facilities and programs. After meeting Dr. Candace Croney in 2014, he started encouraging these breeders to come into compliance with the Canine Care Certified program she created. Listeners may remember the episode linked HERE where Laura spoke with Dr. Croney about this program.
“So, the benefits from the Canine Care, it’s data that has been just really kind of eye -opening for us,” Fleming said. “Looking at taking notes, breeders do everything from measuring humidity and air temperatures every day to stimulation or handling the pups that they deal with, really puts in a more hands -on approach.
“What we’re seeing is better socialized animals. We’re seeing healthier moms. We’re seeing when you’re focused and attentive to what they’re doing, the happier mom makes a happier pup, you’re having lower vet bills and it feels weird saying this now because it feels like common sense but now it’s, I can point to the science of this. So lower vet bills, happier healthier moms and puppies and being mindful of an appropriate retirement age.
“You also have a kennel that you’re getting moms out of the kennel retired at an earlier age. The puppies that they’re producing, there’s more of them. It’s better litter counts, lower veterinary bills. So from a business standpoint, it’s lower costs, increased profits. And so from an animal welfare standpoint, it’s happier dogs and kennel owners that are reporting enjoying the time in their kennel more.
“That leads into the For All Dogs program and it’s a pilot program for us because we’ve ran a few of the retired adults from canine care certified kennels. But this For All Dogs program needs to offer up a trusted source for breeders that are looking for either canine care certification or at least achieve those standards and have a trusted retirement partner.”
As Fleming and Boden talked after a chance meeting at an animal welfare event, they began to have more in depth conversations about their two disparate worlds.
“I started to get a feeling for what a puppy distributor did,” Boden said. “And then as we were having these conversations, Chris started talking to me about Canine Care Certification and I thought, ‘Wait a second. This is not something that my world has been talking about at all. Like why are we not aware of this amazing thing that’s happening at one of the best veterinary colleges in the country?’
“And I realized again working through Chris and getting a chance to learn that it was still kind of in its early stages. And so I thought, okay, well, I want to understand more about it. I want to understand more about these standards. And I also want to understand, because Chris is bringing animals into my community, he knows something because he provides puppies to two of those six stores, he knows something about the world I live in. And I thought, if there’s an opportunity to partner with somebody who’s this closely involved with animals that are coming into my community, I should figure out what it is.
“So Chris brought, I think his entire management team to Florida. And we talked very frankly about, would there be an opportunity to partner and how it needed to be something that was a win for both of our organizations, and all of the people that we touch. And we just started brainstorming about what that might look like.
“And the first thing that came out of my COO’s mouth that I think made us all kind of stop on our tracks was she said, ‘You keep talking about a good breeder. Well, I’ve never seen one, because I don’t get called in when a breeder is doing a great job. My team gets called in when it’s a disaster. So forget any marketing that somebody might be doing. I’ve been there, I have walked through, you know, overwhelming facilities where, you know, there’s all kinds of horrific things happening all around us. That is all I know. So Chris and your team, you’re going to have to help me understand what a good breeder is.’
“And that really just opened the floodgates. So we basically all agreed, all right, let’s get to know each other. Let’s figure out who we are and what language we use and how we might be able to work together.
“And so we went into it with a very open mind, but not a whole lot of preconceived notions notions other than this kind of idea that, hey, wait a second, the Canine Care Certified Standards do require an adoption pathway for retiring adults and gosh, one thing we’re actually pretty good at is placing adult dogs with individuals that want to move them into their home. So that started a year -long journey.”
Listen in for the rest of this heart warming story about a truly staggering partnership to improve the lives of ALL dogs. Please take a moment to complete the survey Boden mentioned HERE.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
When you become a patron of Pure Dog Talk you’ll tap into an exclusive community of experts to help you and your dog be blue-ribbon best at whatever you do with your purebred dog! Your support helps keep the MP3's rolling at Pure Dog Talk!
As a supporter, you’ll immediately gain access to the weekly Pure Pep Talk SMS, Pure Pep Talk private Facebook group, and priority emails. Patrons can choose to level up to the After Dark Zoom and a Patrons Digital Badge for their website— even a private counseling session with Laura on any topic.