At Dogtopia we believe that every person and dog should be treated with respect, kindness and love. We are proud to support an inclusive culture that embraces all team members, pet parents and communities regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability. This business philosophy combined with the strong support system and collaborative environment is what solidified the decision of franchise owners, Jen McCain and Joni Elder, to launch their entrepreneurial careers with Dogtopia.
Jen, owner of Dogtopia of Bloor West Village and Dogtopia of Newmarket in Ontario, Canada and Dogtopia of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, was excited about the opportunity to help build the brand in the Canadian market, which was new to the market when she opened her first daycare in 2017.
She also saw an opportunity for her Dogtopia daycare centers to embrace and positively impact the LGBTQ2S+ community. “Pet ownership in the LGTBQ2S+ population is quite prevalent. I believe growing up with a dog provided a friendship that they wouldn’t otherwise find. They don’t judge, they are loyal and love unconditionally.”
An active member of the local LGBTQ2S+ community, Jen is the Vice Chair of Friends of Ruby, that provides youth and social services to the Ontario LGBTQ2S+ community. She also volunteers with the Humans Right Watch LGBTQ Global Circle.
But the support doesn’t stop with Jen, the teams at all three of her Dogtopia daycare centers feel strongly that it is a social responsibility to support this community with some of her employees personally identifying with the community. “It’s a right of passage and necessary to pay it forward and honor all those who have helped the community,” says McCain.
During PRIDE month, McCain’s dog daycare centers are participating in local events including walking in and hosting a booth at Save Our Scruff’s Puppy Pride Parade in addition to donating gifts to their fundraisers. And, during the month of June, every time an employee wears a rainbow or black top to demonstrate their solidarity, Jen will donate $5 to organizations supporting the LGBTQ2S and Black communities.
“Dogtopia is a family of like-minded individuals and there’s a safety net knowing that someone always has your back,” says Jen. “That’s an important source of confidence for not only LGBTQ2S+ and female entrepreneurs but all entrepreneurs.”
As an LGBTQIA+ entrepreneur, Joni was inspired by the diversity of the Nashville community which is home to her Dogtopia of Hickory Plaza and Dogtopia of 8th Ave daycare centers in Nashville, TN. With new people moving to the city every day, there are a lot of different perspectives and great energy. “I think it’s important for businesses to support all underrepresented and minority communities because people can’t always speak for themselves,” says Elder. “It’s easier for an organization to speak on their behalf. The way forward is not easy.”
Joni is proud of the diverse team she employees and the pet parents and dogs she cares for. “Celebrating diversity is who we are,” says Elder. “We want everyone to be included and feel they are accepted.”
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