Dogs have just always been special to me. I have three of them myself, they’re running around here now, and they’re just amazing! I’m Laura Schorrak, I’m the owner of The Dog Den and The Puppy Den in Madison, Wisconsin. We are dog daycare, training, and behavior. I love helping people help their dogs, so it’s those amazing moments when you see the owner and the dog actually have this “Oh my god, I get it!” and they understand each other, and it really helps people to have that family with their dogs, and nowadays a lot of people have dogs instead of children. So they really are family much more than they ever were. It’s knowing that they can have their dog somewhere, that they’re taken care of, instead of just leaving them home alone.
We help a lot with dogs that are in foster care, and Dane County Humane Society. We give them free day care, we give them free training, so we’re helping these dogs that at times were un-adoptable or had problems that people didn’t want them, and we’re helping them become dogs that people want in their families.
The initial purchase of the business was probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever done, but I believed in it, and I really believe in what The Dog Den does. So I really believe that we can make it work, but yeah, it’s been scary just not knowing what’s gonna happen, now knowing, you know, when we bought a facility on the other side of town were we gonna have clients that liked us? It’s working out wonderfully but we weren’t sure right away.
It’s all about the people that you have working for you. I have an amazing staff that really keeps things running and really supports me when I don’t know what I’m doing. We all kind of work together and figure it out. It’s a family atmosphere here, so we believe that the clients are our family, we think of each other as family.
We were looking for a loan to buy our second facility, so a lot of conventional banks didn’t want to look at us being the small business that we are. They didn’t like the way we looked on paper and then I met with Paige and Dave and they really listened to my story, believed in me, and helped me figure out how we could make this work so we could get our second facility, and then ultimately our third facility.
Now we’ve tried something completely new in The Puppy Den, which is just for dogs under a year old, nobody in the area, actually nobody in the State of Wisconsin is doing that, so we’re totally trying something new and it’s been going fabulously so far, so, knock on wood. Whatever we’re doing, people really like it.