When Zack Marson went out of town, he dropped his dog Ripley off at a Dogtopia location in Richmond, Virginia. He was a loyal customer of the dog daycare, so he trusted them to keep Ripley safe and comfortable. But while he was away, he received a concerning phone call.
A staff member called Marson to let him know that the daycare closed permanently while Ripley was still in their care. There was no warning, and even the employees were blindsided. Marson wanted answers, but more importantly, he wanted to ensure that his dog was okay.
An Abrupt Close
Dogtopia labels itself as the largest dog daycare chain in North America. The business has 160 locations and at least 15 more opening soon. Yet, the West End location was the one Marson trusted more than anywhere else.
Ripley is a sweet, lovable dog, but she has separation anxiety. So, Marson doesn’t feel comfortable leaving her just anywhere when he’s gone. He thought she’d be in good hands at her regular daycare until an employee notified him of the bad news. The company announced its closing on Facebook but didn’t give any warning before the closing day.
“This journey over the past 9 years couldn’t have been possible without our wonderful customers and employees! It is with great sadness that we announce that we are no longer able to run the business and must close. We are working our hardest to support our customers and employees – please reach out to us via email if you have any questions or concerns,” the business wrote.
Dogtopia announced that they would send the dogs in their care to other locations. One Dogtopia employee even offered to care for Ripley until her human returns. The company said they will refund Marson for the unused days at the business. While they seemed to have everything covered, Marson said the situation was still confusing and scary.
Dog Parents Left Confused
The closing wasn’t only a surprise for customers, but also for the employees and property owner. Dogtopia offered an explanation to news reporters via email, but it still doesn’t explain why they couldn’t plan a closing date in advance.
“We are devastated to have to close, however, the financial situation of our business was severely impacted by COVID and we were unable to recover,” the email read.
Loyal customers like Marson had no idea that the business was struggling. They seemed to have no shortage of customers, which only made the situation more confusing.
“I never once thought they were struggling with business. I always saw people dropping dogs off before and after me,” Marson said.
Now, Marson is unsure where Ripley will stay when he goes out of town in the future. He felt comfortable leaving her at a place he knew and trusted, but now everything suddenly seems different. He’ll need to be extra careful choosing a reliable sitter from now on.