[Resolved] Dogability Center / Pooch party
I paid $300 for a pooch party in which my daughter and 10 friends were supposed to receive 1 hour with therapy dogs in variety of stations, including agility, costume dog dress up, pretend to be a vet, and read to dogs. I was told there would be about 8 dogs and they would rotate through centers. I was also told I would have party room for a half hour. This was booked in January with $100 deposit for March 18. I had confirmed in email about the stations in January and never told I was mistaken. The week of said party, I emailed number of guests and attempted to confirm stations. I was emailed back that the type of stations is dependent on dogs and she doesn't know what it will be. I replied and tried to confirm again. No reply. The only station present was agility. Noone assisted with party room. The children were with dogs for 40 min. 10 min before end of party adults had on coats near front of storefront with dog gate between. I emailed the person who booked party stating my displeasure and that my daughter was disappointed. I asked for a chance for her to return and do the stations I paid for or for a partial refund. She said she had a family emergency and was out of town and rather than cancel the party, she let it continue (without my knowledge) with just volunteers. She explained noone is paid, and yet they took $300 for the party. She said someone should have assisted in party room, but that did not happen. Noone helped to even clean up and I cleaned the entire room. We finished early because workers had coats on and it was clear they wanted us to leave. She stated all were volunteers and were only required to be there with their dogs for the first hour. Therefore, noone was expected to be there through the end of the party. It is unclear where the money they take from people goes, since all are volunteers and they bring their own dogs. At first she said we could come to a private session, and after the one date offered, we could not attend since I had a doctor's appointment, she refused any other possible dates.
Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.
DogAbility Center Customer Care's Response, Apr 04, 2017
DogAbility Center is a nonprofit all-volunteer organization providing innovative canine-assisted experiences, using certified activity therapy dogs with skilled handlers that afford stimulation, encouragement and entertainment to better the lives and well-being of children and adults of all abilities in the community. Participants include a large variety of individuals and groups of children and adults with and without special needs.
This is the FIRST complaint that we have received in 5 years of business. Our customers have left glowing reviews on our website and social media pages. We provide an alternate experience for a birthday party using our therapy dogs.This parent was informed that the dogs would interact with the children in a variety of stations which MIGHT include obstacle play, wagon rides, tug-of-war, costuming, care corner/vet station, and reading to dogs. Dogs are assigned by availability and it was explained that the activities depended upon the individual dogs that are in attendance on that day. In January, when booked, we were unable to determine which volunteer dog handlers would sign up to attend this event.
Even though she claims that she received no reply, we were in constant contact with this parent regarding the events, dogs, activities, etc.(emails can be provided).
Eight (8) dogs were present at this party involved in the following activities: tricks & games, obstacle play, micro-agility, puppy play with focus on canine education/body language. Two dogs did wear dresses/costumes for the entire session. At the start of the event, not all the guests were present and this parent refused to start without them. The children engaged in interactive play with the dogs for the remaining time. Not once during the party did this parent express any disappointment or concern. The feedback from the other parents present at the party was ALL positive.
Therapy dogs, by policy, are not permitted to make visits that last longer than an hour to be sure to not over-stress them. When the appointed hour was up, the volunteer dog handlers are welcome to leave (hence the coats that were mentioned in the complaint). The 1/2 hour remaining in the party room is without dogs and is designated for refreshments -- in this case only cake which was provided by the family. The President of our Board of Directors offered to assist in handing out the cake and was told it wasn't necessary since there were many parents in attendance. Many families do clean up after themselves. The Executive Director remained until all people left the premises to clean and lock up.
This parent questions what her $300 fee pays for since we are all volunteers, and this WAS explained to her. Any location that hosts an event charges a fee and ours included the entertainement. Since she was disappointed, she demanded a refund or a replacement session for her daughter. She provided her availability, we scheduled a session with our dog handlers, and then this parent claimed to have an appointment at that time. She WAS offered a date to be made up in the future.
Additional information can and will be provided if necessary. View our website to see all that DogAbility Center provides the local community.