Rich and I were debating on which direction we wanted Dream Dogz to grow. It is easy to let things go with how they always have been. But we wanted to set goals and plan for our future, and the future of our business.
Should we purchase a commercial property and expand to include daycare and boarding? Should we purchase a place in the country and grow board & train? Should we purchase a city house and just do one dog at a time?
Our board & trains grew, and with our 4 personal dogs and our family (me, Rich, and Luc), we would have up to 5 board & train dogs sharing our townhouse with us. At a little over 1200 sq ft, and no fenced yard, it was snug, we were happy. But we knew we needed to expand.
We started looking at property, not knowing exactly what we wanted. At first, because we are self-employed and own our townhouse (but paying the bank for it), we would have to sell our townhouse before we could buy something else. But, with 4-9 dogs in the house, people would take one look and run. Maybe we should pay cash for a house? So we socked money away, but what we could afford needed a new house put on it. And where did we want to move? We knew we wanted outside of Alachua county due to taxes, restrictions, and electric rates. But some of the areas that we ventured to… yikes. As much as we love going to Disney World, we would love to be closer, but we still wanted to be close enough to Gainesville, not 2 hours away.
We finally found our dream property – after about 2 years of searching! Located in Sumterville, it is one exit south of the I-75/Turnpike split. 7 minutes from I-75, it is right on S US 301. Over 5 acres, fully fenced with chain link, and divided up into 9 separate paddocks. The house has about 1000 sq ft that we are using as our dog area – boarding, training, and client sessions – even an office! It has most everything we wanted. And is more than double the size of our townhouse.
We closed today. It took time and hard work. We kept our eyes on the prize and now we wonder what possibilities the future holds. We have movers coming in a few days, so we can begin this new stage in our lives. The dogs will be happier, they will get so much more off leash time, socialization, and play. They will be able to just lay outside sunbathing if they want to. We will get distractions for them (chickens and horses), new training for them (herding sheep and goats), and put in a pool for swimming. Dream Dogz Ranch will be the ultimate board & train paradise, with the dogs staying in our house, as part of our family during their time with us. We will even be able to board client dogs (I did mention we are close to I-75, if flying out of Orlando or Tampa).
Our next goal is to move, get settled, attend the IACP conference in September, along with Disneyland, Hollywood, and LA. Once we come back from there, the real magic happens. By making goals, working towards them, our dreams became reality!