Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Did a little data mining over the holiday - just because we actually had a few moments to spare (a little shockingly) and what else do you do to entertain yourself and your staff when you dare not open the door into the kennel because the 60 dogs in there have finally all settled down and are quiet??

Our most popular dog names?

Jake - 10
Buddy / Molly / Bear - 7 each
Buster / Bailey / Roxy / Maggie - 6 each

How many dogs do we have where we have only 1 instance of that name?
An astonishing 422! Some of those are bogus data, but on the other hand we have a whole lot of names like: Dresden, Hundo, Iz-u, Bluevon, Chisholm, Brulee, Sparkle, Rheubull, T-Bone, Luna Yona, Makekai, McFudge, Lily Bean, Lulu Bear, Posole, and Norbert... just from a quick scan of that list.

How many customers have we had?

358 customers have boarded with us
199 customers have > 1 boarding reservation (not canceled),
159 customers have only ever had 1 boarding reservation.

572 different dogs have stayed with us
440 have come to day care
500 have boarded with us

What incredible coincidence it was to have just booked our 500th boarding dog when we started looking at this -- because I'm pretty sure if I did those stats again today they would be different. We thought for a while we should identify who that 500th was, but, actually turns out it's pretty hard to define just who that would be so I'm gonna let it slide. I know - it's definitely taking the easy way out there!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Young Wild Things

Friday night Dave and I took off from the kennel to go see Fall Out Boy and entourage in concert (on the Young Wild Things tour). As it was the day after Thanksgiving I figured my nieces Kelsey and Sara would be up at Phyllis's for the holiday, so we'd invited them to go with us: because I thought they'd be interested -- but also somewhat to give us our 'cover' as to why we were attending a show that attracts primarily teen aged fans. LOL. Our plan worked perfectly. Before and after the show a number of strangers just asked us about the concert, and I kept saying "how did they know we were going/went?" Dave just pointed at Sara and her best goth/emo/fan girl outfit and then it all made sense.

Mike and Phyllis drove the girls up to Denver and the plan was for us to get dinner together, and while we were at the concert they were going to jaunt up to Black Hawk to pick up one of their alpaca and babies. Well, Phyl called me mid day to inquire about our weather -- it was fine. Cold and gray, but dry. They were getting a lot of snow, but figured it was just local to them. Not so lucky, they fought icy roads, snow, and very slow traffic all the way to Denver -- and called fearing that they might miss more than just dinner. But that didn't happen and we grabbed a sandwich together within walking distance of the concert. They, however, had decided not to try and fight the travel home that night (it was already long past the possibility of driving into the mountains to pick up the alpaca) so they found a motel and chalked the trip up to practicing driving the trailer in really bad conditions.

Dave first pointed out a Fall Out Boy (FOB) song on the radio to me this summer, and I liked it enough to get their album. Which I also liked right away. The funny thing was that I got both FOB and Fountains of Wayne at the same time, and I know for the first few weeks I had trouble separating the two groups! This is amusing, because now the two bands don't bear any resemblance to each other for me. Ah well.

Then I started reading up on the band, and discovered Pete Wentz, and I was fascinated. (Pete's a founder of the band, is the bassist, lyricist, and basically the front man despite not being the lead singer) Many people despise him, and that's to be expected of anyone who presents such a public persona. But you can't fault his energy or ingenuity... Far beyond fronting a very popular band, he owns an indie record label that has fostered a number of other very popular bands. He owns a clothing line. He owns a film company, co-owns a bar in NY, has one published book and a second in the works... It's dizzying. And fascinating. Saw a quote from him at one point that said "if you're going to be big, it's inevitable that your band will become corporate. So - why not BE the corporation?"

I was fascinated enough that for Halloween I dressed up as Pete Wentz, and Dave went as Ryan Ross -- Pete's buddy who's in the band 'Panic! at the Disco'.

They were fun costumes!!

But mostly I like FOB's music. So when I looked and found they were playing in Denver over the holiday - I was off to get tickets like that.

The show -- unfortunately was a huge disappointment in that our seats had truely horrible accoustics. I mean like - I'm a fan, and on some songs I couldn't even tell whether I knew them or not. >:( Nor could we understand what any of the speakers had to say in between songs. So that was really annoying.

But it's never a total loss, the show was well staged and entertaining. And it was FOB after all!!! (obligatory squee) Actually as I mentioned in my last post, Plain White Ts were there as an opener and they were really good too. I wasn't so impressed with Gym Class Heros -- though they consistently get good reviews from reviewers along this tour. I'm just not sure why.

Click to see bigger versions


The acoustic set -- which interestingly enough, we could actually hear.

Staging for "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" (yes, those are flames back stage, not lights)

Last song -- Pete took the mic. To sing what... I have no idea, dammit!


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hey There Delilah

Anytime any dog comes up to me in the yard looking for pets, they usually get an automatic "Hey There {insert dog name here}" from me. This week, we've had a Delilah, so my greeting to her I always made me chuckle because of the popular song out now, "Hey There Delilah". What made it more poignant was the fact that we went to a concert on Friday at which the Plain White T's were one of the opening bands, and of course they played their blockbuster song. So below are, in essence, two Delilahs. :-)

........Plain White T's ......................................... Delilah

For those who aren't familiar with the song, here it is:


And... this is really creative and hysterical spoof of the song (the video is negligable, but the song is clever)



Saturday, November 24, 2007

Only 38

We're down to a very comfortable level of just 38 dogs in the kennel this evening, and it's wonderful. 22 (TWENTY TWO) dogs checked out today. It's so weird to walk around and see empty kennels - LOL! We were only full for 2 days, but now it feels like we're empty, and yet the feeding chart is still about 5 pages long.

Never the less, the day went very well. Actually much of the week has gone well. There were a few notable exceptions, but in general we were pleased. Still thinking about what and how to make things better of course. Christmas is just around the corner, after all, and we're already 3/4 booked.

Joey and Duke

It's risky getting down on the dog's level - but sometimes it's worth it.

This trio stays with us frequently, Okra, Abita and Odie. You just couldn't have asked them to pose any nicer for this picture! OK... there is a fence in the way - but still!

Stone is the most unusually colored Weimeraner we've had - such a beautiful slate gray.

Tanner and Montie

Taos and Luna Yona -- 3 month old Great Pyraneese pups.
AKA: Puff1 and Puff2

Who... are always getting into things as you might imagine. Despite whether the other dogs welcome the attention or not!

EVERYTHING is my business, isn't it??

Well -- no, sometimes it isn't!



Boomer would howl on command. We discovered this after the neighbor's burro started braying.. for what ever reason. His response was to howl. Since he's just a mini aussie, his howl is actually pretty cute instead of annoying (well - two or three times in a row it is) so we'd play with him and get him to howl.


Definite silliness

Kiwi checked in early this week and David immediately made this connection. We didn't immediately see the resemblance.. but it pretty much grew on us. LOL

We, of course, mean no disrespect to either Kiwi nor Mr. Simmons. Hee


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Normie is a boston terrier, who has enough personality for a much larger dog! He just LOVES balls, but hates to give them up to anyone.

You might as well get prepared for much silliness, like this video, from this week. It's been awhile since I have spent as much time in the kennel.

Normie and his Ball


Does it HAVE to snow ON the holidays??

Yes, yes, yes. I know it's been in the forecast for over a week now. Just didn't want to believe it.

I think Ginger always gets to star in these snow pictures, because her pink snow suit stands out so well!

Bandit turned up with sore tootsies yesterday. Gets the bootie treatment today.

I think I did mention a few posts ago that we were better prepared this year -- and I didn't even mention our SNOW PLOW! (I must have still been in denial about the forecasts!)


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It Starts

Today I'm home to help out with the kennel. Never mind the fact that I'm now (supposed) to be doing Anark work since we had plenty of kennel help this morning. Rather - here are some random shots from this morning:

Tucker. (1 of 3 Tuckers we have with us -- 2 are from the same (integrated) family!)

Piper -- though I keep wanting to call her Toto

Teddy and Frosty -- looking so Fierce! Teddy's nickname IS Teddy BEAR.

Water Break

Teddy and Teddy - with 50 dogs, we're bound to have a number of duplicates.

Maddie -- such a darling!

Penny - can't help but make us laugh.

Planning who gets to play with whom

Kayla and Teddy

Buddy, and his ever present ball

The Kids from the 'fast' play group


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What a difference a year makes

Some times it's good to look back and remind yourself where you have been.

A year ago this time the kennel had been open for almost 9 months. We had 1 part time helper who helped David run the kennel over the summer while Ginger was doing summer camp - but wasn't working once school went back in session. We only had half of the kennels installed - having ordered the other half and they were sitting on pallets in the kennel. We only had one large dog yard and one small one, yet we did have the posts in for the cross fence at least. We had not yet filled up our reservations for the holiday and were starting to wonder whether we would or not.

So, it was a time of considerable angst and activity! We got the cross fence splitting the big yard into two big yards up. My mom and dad came up the week prior and dad and Roger helped us install the kennels, while mom set about calling all of the reservations we did have for the kennel to try and get confirmations - inform them of vaccinations that needed to be updated, etc. We managed to secure our part time helper to help out some over the weekend. And before you knew it -- we were up to our eyeballs in dogs! Oh, and that also happened to be the week between my old job and my new one.

I went to find some blogs to link to -- and decided that all the posts in November are relevant!

This year? It's so satisfying to say it is a different story altogether. We instituted a deposit policy required for holiday reservations. Staring about 3 weeks ago, we emailed all of our reservations and flagged all reservations that had not yet paid their deposit. It was a couple of weeks of chasing people down, but it all cumulated into the fact that today, a week before Thanksgiving we have every kennel but one filled with a confirmed and deposit-paid reservation. We have a group of 6 experienced staff members we're scheduling to work.

And what else is there? The yards are in good shape, since we replaced the broken gate a few weeks ago and had installed the new water lines a few months ago. We have been fielding a much higher rate of evaluation dogs (a dog's first visit with us) from first time customers needing Thanksgiving boarding. But those have been going relatively smoothly (with one notable pair who were the exception -- they were so overwhelmed and intimidated by our environment they wouldn't even come out of their kennels without considerable personal attention to make them brave it out. As a result, they will be coming back for another day of daycare next week and while we'd expect to see them regress back to that fearful state to begin with, we're hoping that they are able to shrug off the intimidation much quicker.)

Anyways, at this point it kinda feels like -- what's the big deal again?

I LOVE that feeling.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Papa Bear, Mama Bear and BABY Bear

Hee hee!

'Papa' and 'Mama' belong to a friend of ours and they stay with us frequently. Admittedly, Jasper is the biggest Rhodesian Ridgeback we've ever seen, where as Makeba is more typical. But this past weekend another of our customers with a new puppy brought her to stay for the first time. Rhu. I just thought the three of them were so cute together.