Susan Steiner used to be a private investigator before
her business went to the dogs. And she couldn't be happier.
She's taken a giant leap of faith and left the
dog-eat-dog world to start her own business. And it's one you
may not take seriously at first. But she believes it can
combine her love of animals with her love of making a good
buck (or should that be a good "bark"?)
Lotsadogs, a day and overnight camp for canines. She
claims it's a way to let man's best friends be exactly what
they're supposed to be.
"We've bred them, and we've
trained them for things through the ages, and then we leave
them at home and go off to work, and you know Labs don't get
to retrieve and Shepherds don't get to herd," she explains to
Pulse24.com. "We just let them play all day. And if
it's crappy weather, I have a living room to let them sit
around on the couch ... with people and let them watch
Steiner first stumbled on the concept when she
left her own dog with a similar camp several years ago. But
she didn't like the way it was run, and that bone of
contention spurred her on to make her own attempt in January.
"I thought if I find the right property, then I'll do
it," she recalls. "And I found ... a stream and I fenced in
two acres for the dogs in a meadow with lots of trees ... And I
have two forests and I take them in there."
business, near Oshawa, is able to accommodate 20 boarders and
20 day campers, some of whom she'll pick up at the Whitby and
Oshawa GO stations. So exactly what does a pampered pooch do
at Camp Lotsadogs?
"First they run around like
lunatics, they play, they do their alpha thing, they pee
everywhere ... then we have ... tennis balls, and we fling balls
for about 20 minutes until they're all absolutely pooped or
the balls are all chewed up ... And then we pant ... and some of
them like to be hosed down."
But it doesn't come cheap.
"It's $230 a week and they play all day, 12 hours ... and day
camp is $100 a week," she outlines. Still, with some Toronto
kennels charging twice that for a week's stay, she thinks it's
And the dogs aren't cooped up all day, which
they appreciate. "I had one lady ... she starts crying, "I can't
leave her here! ... and when she came back ten days later, the
dog wouldn't get into the car!"
For now, Steiner is
advertising in local flyers and community newspapers, hoping
to get the word out. And while she admits she'd do it all for
free if she could, she's hoping word of mouth makes her big
financial gamble a winner.
"I need ten dogs a day to
cover all my expenses including pizza night for the dogs," she
laughs. "And that's it. The rest of it's passion."