Hello, Elliot’s House blog readers! It’s been so long and I have missed you! Summer is now in full swing and vacations have been taken and recovered from and I’m ready to get right back into writing for and about man’s best friend! And what better way is there to come back to the dog blog world than an interview with the founder of Elliot’s House, Elliot’s mama, Carol? Full disclosure, I have known Carol for many years; we were even roommates for a time in college. She is a beautiful person both inside and out and has always been a huge animal lover and protector. Carol’s creation of this business seems completely natural and pre-ordained because anyone who loves animals as much as she does should absolutely spend her days caring for them. We had a sit-down to discuss how this all came to be. As always, it was great spending time talking with such a wonderful friend, and I learned a lot about her inspiration in founding Elliot’s House. I hope you enjoy this insider look into the inner workings of Boston’s premiere dog walking and boarding business (cats are welcome too)!
You have an Entertainment background and worked jobs in that industry, among others. What inspired you to open Elliot’s House?
I worked in Film & TV and the music industry, which both sound like a lot of fun until you see the paycheck and hours. I just felt like I was running in circles. When I came back to Boston I considered working in the mortgage industry but found that a desk job was definitely not the right fit for me either. I also found that I missed Elliot a lot and was working really long days with him stuck at home. In LA, he would go to a daycare that he loved that had everything you could think of. Unfortunately, there weren’t (similar doggy) daycares here in the Boston-Cambridge area that really offered much more than a stuffy room with beat up toys. At that point, the idea came together. I knew that I really understood what kind of services a pet care company should have because I understood what was needed as an animal lover, a fur babies’ mama, and a consumer. Being that I love being around animals, as I find it soothing and therapeutic, the thought just clicked in my head and I ran with it. Elliot offered a lot of support and advice along the way of course.
Elliot and Carol
I have definitely been to places that are just a fenced in area with torn up tennis balls and staff that seems really uninvested. What do you offer that other similar businesses don’t?
I feel like we have more of a personal touch. Our clients are directly in touch with who is walking and taking care of their babies. We send pictures, videos, and updates for our boarding, cat-sitting, and dog-walking clients. I am also very picky with who I choose to work for our company. I understand that these are people going into your home and either taking your pup or pups for a walk or caring for your precious kitty. Everyone we hire, on any level, is very dedicated and they are true animal lovers. Some even work with animals through going to vet school, or pursuing training and obedience careers.
On top of that, our customer service is extremely on-point and we are quick to respond to answer any questions, make any additions or changes to scheduling, solve any billing issues, and handle any emergencies or concerns. I know what its like to be a concerned “parent” and we will do anything it takes to ease your mind and ensure the best care for your little ones.
A member of the staff picking up a client.
What is a daily routine for an employee of Elliot’s House?
Typically, our walkers will have their schedules sent to them at the beginning of the week and they set on their way. Routes are usually from 10am to 4 or 5pm on an average basis. As they go through their route, based in either Cambridge, Somerville, or Downtown Boston, they take pictures and videos of all of our furry superstars and send updates to their owners.
A satisfied customer enjoying the day.
I follow Elliot’s House on Instagram (@elliotshouse)! Those pictures make my day. I’m actually a little obsessed with that new puppy, Piper. Do you feel that this is what you were meant to do?
I feel like this is the beginning of what I am meant to do. The whole goal is to open a commercial spot where we can have a daycare, hydrotherapy and other services, as well as a boarding facility. Moving forward, I would like to help rescues and shelters by offering up our space to house some of their fosters while they wait for homes. I want to raise more awareness and help more animals get adopted; it’s a crisis and my head and my heart have a really difficult time dealing with the fact that over 4 million animals get euthanized every year. It just breaks my heart. Elliot was a rescue and was saved from a high kill shelter at the very last minute and honestly I don’t know what I would do without him. It blows my mind that there are so many amazing little souls out there that desperately need a safe home where all they want to do is love you unconditionally. So as we progress I will be putting more and more effort towards minimizing and hopefully turning that crisis into something of the past.
Cutie Piper is never in the doghouse.
I agree. Albie was also a rescue dog, although he was a puppy when we got him. I’m a huge supporter of shelter animals. Every time I see an animal in need of a forever home on my Facebook feed I have to talk myself out of adopting them all. Albie is really more than a handful on his own! Do you have any advice or tips for any other entrepreneurs out there who are sitting behind a desk wondering if this is it for them?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, that its too difficult or ridiculous or that it will never work.
Don’t settle for working a job that you hate and not living the life that you want. If you follow what you are passionate about then you are destined to find your way and make it work. It can be difficult and quite a struggle at times but at the end of the day you will be much more happier that you did it. To me, that makes all the difference.
Deuce looks a lot like my Albie!
What’s the best part about working with animals?
Where do I start? It’s all amazing! Sometimes I am at a dog park or playing with a laser pointer and some cats and I think to myself that I can’t believe that I am so lucky to be hanging out with these guys, entertaining them (and myself, to be honest) and taking the best care of them while their owners are away for the day or for longer. I can’t tell you how many clients I will be chatting with who will tell me they just want to quit their jobs and come work for Elliot’s House.
Carol’s home is always dog-friendly and beautiful.
I feel like my husband is going to read this and also want to quit his job to work with animals and laser pointers! It is a pretty awesome way to spend your day. But it can’t all be kibbles and bits, tell the truth: what’s the worst part?
This last year we had one of our clients pass away. He was such a sweet and amazing dog and I get teary just thinking about him now. I would say that so far has been the worst part but it also can put it in perspective and make you realize why your doing this in the first place. If I can make their days happy, even if it’s for a quick walk or some playtime, then I feel like I have accomplished something.
Co-founder of Elliot’s House, Taghi, gets some Elliot love.
Thank you so much for sharing so much of your time and self, not just in this interview, but everyday with all the people and pets you work with!
Another satisfied, and adorable, customer.