I am lovin’ this 10th year celebration! It is fun to think about all the people and dogs we have met! A very important and delightful person is our staff member, Vanessa Coogan.
Vanessa has been with Crate Escape since May, 2010. Her friendly, charming personality, and her strong commitment to always doing her best, continues to be immediately obvious. Pooches and staff alike look forward to seeing her every day.
I asked her some questions about her life and her time at Crate. (My first interview!) Her responses are below.
Presenting, Vanessa Coogan
Manager, Crate Escape, Belmont
Vanessa first started at Crate Escape as a Pen Attendant. The job is one of the most important positions we have, and requires varied skills, physical and mental. The fun part is meeting lots of dogs of all ages, sizes and temperaments. The challenge is being confidently ‘alpha’ while supervising their socialization and exercise. Many applicants have come because they like dogs, and that is not enough. Vanessa had the right combination of skills.
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was 14. I worked at an after-school child daycare. There are many similarities between child daycare and doggy daycare. (Except, I’d much rather pick up dog poop than change a diaper!) The most interesting experience I had working with children was when I had to write up one the kids for biting another child.
How did you hear about Crate Escape?
I was working for a cleaning company part time and really wanted a full time job. I wanted my next job to be something different that I hadn’t done before. I have always had a passion for animals and knew that was the next field I wanted to work in. I was on craigslist in job ads and saw Crate Escape’s post. I’ll never forget it said “Do you want to be around 40 dogs and get dirty?” My immediate answer was “This is perfect!”. I started in the pens, getting to know all the dogs and their behavior.
Then you started working ‘up front’ at the desk on Flanders Rd- getting busier everyday… Stories to share? What was it like?
My favorite part of working at the front desk, coming from the pens, was that I got to meet all the dogs owners. I finally met the amazing people who own the amazing dogs who I knew well and cared about.
I also loved working with Nikki. I made my mistakes but she soon whipped me into shape. If it weren’t for her patience and perseverance, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. She’s kind of like my ‘mother hen’.
I have so many stories that it really hard to pin point or choose any particular one. Here are a few:
1. While checking in Murphy, golden retriever, I was talking to his Dad, Mark. Murphy decided he wanted to go play and wanted to take me with him. Murph slid
in between my legs and lifted my feet off the ground. Big Murphy literally swept me off my feet.
2. I was working in the pens one day and one of the other pen attendants and I had noticed something sticking out of one of the dog’s bums. When we investigated we realized the dog was trying to poop out a bra.
3. I was working in the “van pen” which back in the day was the ‘chill’ dog pen. My uncle (who was a big part of my life) had just passed away. I was watching the dogs and I started to tear up. One of the dogs (Sachem) came right up to me, put his head on my leg and looked at me as if to say “I’m here for you”.
Then you were promoted to the Manager of Crate Escape too. Stories to share? What was it like?
When I started managing the Cambridge location it was a bit overwhelming. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be adequate for the job. After a couple weeks I got into the swing of things. I felt a real accomplishment, being responsible for my own little store! Again, the customers and dogs are amazing!
Now, as of February, 2014, back to Crate Belmont as the Top Dog! (Manager). What is it like? Stories to share?
It is SO good to be back. I loved the clients and pups in Cambridge but Belmont is my home. Managing Belmont definitely has challenging moments but I am learning more every day about managing on a large scale. It feels good! I know I will get into the swing of it, just like Cambridge. Seeing the customers and the pups make this more than a job, they are my family.
What is your biggest challenge over all?
I don’t know if you want to use this answer or question… but my biggest challenge is everything always breaking!
What do you see in the future for you and Crate Escape?
I see a bright future with myself and Crate Escape. I love Stephanie, Brad, Nikki and Barb. The dogs, customers and staff are amazing! I love my job!
Vanessa & Buddah; Great Friends!
Many of you have been following our association with Paws Donations, an organization founded for the purpose of gathering donations of dog and cat items for rescues and shelters. Our own, Kate Gallaher, is behind this effort, and Crate Escape is giving all of their donations to Paws Donations during the months of March and April. Here is a list of the items requested: