Well as all of you know, 2020 has been a whirlwind year that people throughout our country have had to adjust to due to the worldwide pandemic. For some it has created complications and uncertainties and for others, perhaps a welcomed change or desired lifestyle, especially if you are now able to work from home. But for everyone, it has taken some getting used to, and then changing the way you do things to make life work for you, your job or business, your family, and your household. In our Golden Retriever breeding business, we too are having to change things around a bit…
Earlier this year, we saw the need to expand our waiting list to include a place for those who were maybe 90% sure they were ready to buy a Golden Retriever puppy, as well as those who are 100% sure and have been searching for quite a long while to find the right breeder with the right puppies. Our solution was to have a priority puppy reservation list where a deposit is paid in hopes of purchasing a puppy from an upcoming litter. In addition, we created a standby waiting list where a deposit is not required, but is used for those who want to be considered in case someone ahead of them on the priority list decides to cancel.
Up until this year, we didn’t have a very reliable or efficient way of handling a standby list because of all the different ways people contact us: phone, text message, email, and our contact form on our website. All these different ways make it hard for us to keep track of who called first and what they were interested in. To solve this, we allowed our second group of people on the standby list to create a personal account on our website where they can keep track of where they are on the list for the upcoming puppy litters. This also helped them know if they have moved up on the waiting list if others ahead of them have cancelled. It seemed like it would be a great idea because it allowed people to get in line for as many of the colors of Goldens that we offer (white cream, light blonde, caramel, and auburn) as well as the gender: male, female, or both (no preference). Going standby for more of our upcoming litters and/or genders increases the chances of getting a puppy when others ahead of you on the waiting list end up cancelling. After the pandemic hit and within a few months, we had close to a 100 people on our waiting list, with about half of those who placed a refundable deposit. Everything seemed to be going quite smoothly and the only thing left to do was wait for the upcoming litters to be born …
In November and December of 2020, three of our anticipated litters were born and it was wonderful… we helped bring a total of 22 puppies into this world. We just love this because it really takes our minds off all the craziness going on this year. But then it came time to start contacting all the people who had been in line for many months on our waiting list to get a puppy, and some who had been in line almost a year. We started going down the list reaching out to those who had made their deposits first and had been waiting the longest. Most were very eager and excited to hear the good news! But about 30% seemed to have had unexpected things come up and could not take on the responsibility of becoming a puppy owner. This wasn't a surprise to us because it has pretty much always been what we’ve come to expect over the years. We think it’s probably because we make it so easy and non-threatening by having a refundable deposit policy. But hey no problem, we now have a standby list! So we started reaching out to the people on standby. However, we found that about 70% of them were no longer interested for one reason or another, and about 20% were just flatly ghosting us, but we understand… things change, especially for this year, 2020.
But pandemic or not, we cannot fail to mention that breeding dogs is a lot of work to maintain a responsible breeding program, to provide the necessary care for our adult dogs, the time and attention to our newborn puppies, AND keep track of our customer base and try to keep everyone informed with a website. When it’s getting close to the time for the puppies to go to their new homes, we cringe at the idea of aggressively advertising at the last minute trying to find good homes for our babies. And, because we are not a puppy mill or a backyard breeder, we want to focus our efforts on our dogs and our puppies. We don’t want to just quickly sell them to the first person that comes along. You might want to have a look at we wrote a while back where we try to describe, impulse puppy buying which by the way, is not a hard trap to fall into… I mean afterall, we’ve all been in pet stores and smitten with puppy love a time or two.
Okay, so what are we saying with all of this?
To keep from running into this repeated problem of cancellations, last minute scrambling, and figuring out the best way to accommodate our customers, we are making some policy changes that will affect our waiting list, our deposit policy, and cancellations. We think these changes will accommodate everyone because they have the needs of everyone in mind including: (1) those who are 100% sure they are ready to buy a puppy and have been searching for quite a long time to find the right breeder who has the right puppies, (2) those who are 90% sure but whose situation might be a little more fluid, and then finally (3) those who might just be window shopping but have fanaticized for a very long time about owning a Golden Retriever puppy. The policy changes for Emery-n-Denise’s Golden PuppiesTM will go into effect on February 1, 2021. If you would like to learn more about these changes please click here.
Your comments (in good taste are welcomed here). Thank you for considering Emery-n-Denise’s Golden PuppiesTM!