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.