The Case of the
Complaining Neighbors A boutique expands to include doggie daycare, which prompts neighbors to complain about barking
By Linda Liebrand
Jennifer smiled at the sight of her friend Tina taking the first group of dogs out for a walk. The small dogs bounced and spun around with excitement, and Tina had a hard time untangling their leashes as she walked out the door. The remaining five dogs in the playpen barked as they saw their friends leave and Jennifer walked over to calm them.
"Hang on guys; it's your turn soon!"
She beamed as she took in the scene. The play area for the dogs looked just perfect: The walls were a pale shade of pink, and she'd put up Victorian-style doggie portraits framed with just enough sparkle to match the rest of her boutique. The dogs could lounge in luxurious armchairs or play with toys from her shop in the spacious pen.
This was such a great idea, she thought. The customers of her doggie boutique had asked her about doggie daycare for ages, and joining forces with her friend Tina, the dog walker, was the perfect solution.
Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual pet businesses and people.
Two weeks into their operation, and Jennifer was already seeing an increase in sales, not just from the daycare fees, but the dog parents couldn't resist buying a treat or toy for their babies on their way out. She knelt down to pet Leo, the Dachshund when she heard the doorbell jingle.
A police officer stepped in and walked straight to the checkout counter.
"Are you the owner of this store? A Jennifer ...." He paused and tried to find her name.
Jennifer stood up and met him at the counter. "Yes, I'm Jennifer Williams. How can I help?"
This couldn't be good news, she thought and met his gaze.
"I'm here to investigate a complaint about nuisance barking," the officer continued, and as if on cue, the dogs kicked it up one notch. Jennifer tried to shush them, and the man frowned.
"I guess that's the noise we've been getting calls about," he said and scribbled a note in his notepad. Jennifer groaned inwardly and wondered who might have called to complain.
Her boutique was near some residential houses, but her closest neighbors were other businesses. Honestly, she hadn't thought that the small dogs' barking could even be heard through the thick walls, but apparently, someone had taken enough offense to complain.
The man handed over a serious looking form and explained that she would get some time to sort out the situation before he came back. Jennifer didn't dare to ask what might happen if she didn't get the barking under control, but assumed it would involve substantial fines and all sorts of trouble.
As soon as he stepped out the door, she picked up her phone and texted Tina. "Come back quick we need to talk!" As she tapped send, her head was already spinning with questions. How was she going to solve this problem?
THE BIG QUESTIONS:How can Jennifer best solve the immediate problem with the barking?
How can she best communicate the problem to her clients?
How can Jennifer keep the doggie daycare in her shop so close to a residential area and maintain good neighborhood relations?