Elaine Rosen, President and CEO of Dog Lodge, talks about her charity that houses disabled dogs.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the website. I’m your host, Matt Register. Jay Curry had to step out for a little bit, but he’s going to join us here in a little bit. I don’t know what he’s doing. He’s going to join us shortly. We love dogs around here. I don’t know how many of you guys have seen Lucky, our studio dog. You know, you have cat people, you have dog people, we’re dog people around here. Now, we have a charity that we like to support. We have some guys that are really, really good to dogs, that I want to make sure that you know about. These guys take dogs in, they make sure that they’re sheltered. They do it in the right way.
So, we’re going to jump right into it. Go ahead and get your calls in. 844 814 8144 is our 24 hour call-in line. Get your calls in now. Call in at 3:00 in the morning, I really don’t care. It’s a 24 hour line. We also monitor #tbr on Twitter. TBR, Texas Business Radio. Get your questions in, we’re going to get the experts in here to answer them. Jumping right into it, Elaine Rosen, president and CEO of Dog Lodge. Elaine, welcome to the show.
Elaine Rosen: Thank you so much, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Matt Register: So, Dog Lodge, what do you do, who do you do it to? Tell me about it.
Elaine Rosen: Dog Lodge Sanctuary is a facility that offers a permanent home specifically to special needs dogs.
Matt Register: Okay, tell me more. What is a special needs dog? A dog that’s been injured?
Elaine Rosen: Possibly.
Matt Register: Okay.
Elaine Rosen: A dog that’s chronically ill, requires medication for the rest of its life. A dog that’s blind, a dog that’s deaf, a dog that’s an amputee, a dog that’s paralyzed. All those fall into the special needs category.
Matt Register: Okay. And you bring the dogs in, you house them, you let them live out the rest of their life there, right?
Elaine Rosen: That is correct. Yeah, we provide a home for life for these animals. We are not open to the public. Our dogs come from shelters and from rescues, and, generally, these are dogs that are, for all intents and purposes, unadoptable.
Matt Register: Sure.
Elaine Rosen: Personally, I don’t think there’s such a thing as an unadoptable dog, but sometimes facilities don’t have the means to hang onto a dog as long as it takes to find the right person to adopt it, so we offer an alternative.
Matt Register: And this is in Hampstead. This is still under construction, correct? Or it’s already existing?
Elaine Rosen: We’re almost ready to go, but not quite. Still have a little bit of work to do, and I’m hopeful that it won’t be much longer.
Matt Register: Well how many dogs can you house there? And how much space does this take? I’m not sure I fully understand exactly what that requires.
Elaine Rosen: Phase one is what we’re working on now. Phase one consists of two buildings. One is what I call our work building that has our grooming room, our laundry room, our food med prep room, i.e the dog kitchen, our food storage area, and it’s got a very large indoor training and exercise facility. Some of our dogs are going to be geriatrics, they’re going to be really old, and we all know what weather is like in this part of the country, and it may be that they are not able to go out when it’s 100 degrees and run around, so we offer an alternative, and that’s air conditioned space where they can play and do any training that we’re going to be providing for the dogs.
And building two, that’s our housing building. Now, the dogs that we take in do not live in cages and kennels. They’re in, what I call, suites.
Matt Register: Sounds like not a place … You don’t have any openings for me, do you?
Elaine Rosen: Well, yeah, they’re in suites, and they’re only in the suites at night and at feeding time, and the rest of the time, they’re in a common area, or they’re outside. They’re supervised all of the time. They’re not allowed to just roam around free. We’ve got big outdoor paddocks for them, and they’re being monitored constantly. What we’ve tried to do is provide a facility that as closely mimics, what I call, a real life environment, so it would be the same as a dog who has the benefit of living in somebody’s home.
Matt Register: Got it.
Elaine Rosen: We have our common areas, a living room with sofas and chairs. Obviously no lamps and tables for obvious reasons. We’ve got a big 62 inch flat screen TV, so, since we’re volunteer based, volunteering may look like coming over and watching the Sunday football game having a dog on your lap.
Matt Register: Okay, I got it. It’s interesting. I like it. How many dogs in phase one? How many dogs are we talking about?
Elaine Rosen: In phase one, we’re talking about a maximum of 25 to 30 dogs, and the reason that we kept it small is because our approach to housing these dogs is somewhat novel, and I need to make sure that my vision works. I need to make sure it’s practical. I also need … What we’re doing is very expensive, because most of these dogs are going to need regular and constant veterinary care.
Matt Register: Yeah, medications and expensive stuff, right?
Elaine Rosen: Exactly, exactly. I mean, if you’ve got a seizure dog, that dog pretty well needs care 24 hours a day. You can’t leave the dog unattended. So I need to figure out what my per diem expenses are going to be. They’re all on special diets and all of that just adds up, and so we figured we would run six months at a smaller number, figure all of that out, that made sense to us, and then expand from there. So we already have phase two designed. Three and four, we’ve already got it on the site map. I’m not sure if I mentioned, we’re on 60 acres, so we’ve got plenty of room for expansion as we start doing it.
Matt Register: Sure. Why do this? What was the driver behind … I understand you love dogs. I love dogs. I didn’t get off my butt and build this, right, you did. What was the driver behind that?
Elaine Rosen: This is a passion and you can’t do it if you’re not passionate about it. We have been working with rescue on our own for years and years and years, and we have supported a variety of really good rescue organizations and shelters, but it seemed to us that there was a missing link.
Matt Register: Okay.
Elaine Rosen: We have a horrible problem, not only in this city, not only in this state, but in the entire country with over population for a whole variety of reasons. We could do a whole show on why we’ve got a problem with that.
Matt Register: Sure.
Elaine Rosen: And it’s very difficult for dogs that are abandoned, dogs that have been lost and don’t get back to the owner, to find a place where they can be safe, and there are not enough facilities and there is not enough money to continue caring for dogs that need to reside in a shelter setting, because there’s no other place for them to go at this time, so, as a result, the way of dealing with over population in many cases is to euthanize, and we felt that we were passionate enough about this whole situation to say, “Wait a minute, there are dogs in shelters that are not finding homes quickly enough-
Matt Register: There is a better way and we’re going to do it, right?
Elaine Rosen: Yeah.
Matt Register: So you are about to launch Dog Lodge Radio. In fact, that’s how we met. We are working together for you to launch your radio show. Tell me a little bit about that.
Elaine Rosen: Well this is a totally new venture for me and it’s exciting as can be, and, to be honest with you, I am so grateful to you for helping us with this. Dog Lodge Radio, animal issues that matter. We’re not just going to deal with dogs, we’re going to deal with all animals, because I’m not sure that there’s any animal in this country that doesn’t suffer in some way, and so-
Matt Register: Well I’m pretty sure my dog doesn’t suffer a lot, so …
Elaine Rosen: Well mine don’t either, but all kinds of animals, farm animals and all kinds of stuff, and so we’re just going to deal with all kinds of animal issues. We’re really excited about getting this started.
Matt Register: Well we’re excited to hear it as well. The website is doglodge.org, doglodge.org. We’re going to have that linked directly from texasbusinessradio.com if you’re driving and can’t take notes. But this is a very interesting charity. I have not seen one like this. Now, you are looking for donation as well, right, from the website, correct?
Elaine Rosen: That is correct. Let me say this about money that comes in. All the money goes to operational expenses. Nothing goes to bricks and mortar. We are taking care of all of the facility. Money coming in does not pay for any of the facility or any property. Dog Lodge leases the facility, and so, therefore, all money coming in can go towards operational expenses, actually taking care of the dogs.
Matt Register: Wonderful. Great stuff. Elaine Rosen, president and CEO of Dog Lodge. We are completely out of time. We got to go pay some of our own bills. We’re going to be back right after this with a whole lot more Texas Business Radio, don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.