Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

18 Nov 2010While doing my usual searches on the net for interesting anecdotes, I stumbled across a story about a great business.

Dog Central is a doggie day care centre for dogs that have owners that work full time or lead busy lives. Chelie Jones, who started the company two years ago, is mother to two furry canines; Daisy and Max, while she was ready to retire, she had a light bulb moment to start up her own doggie day care business.

Dog Central is an Australian company that operates in Victoria, with branches in Yarraville, North Melbourne and Brunswick. Dog Central offer a great range of services, which begin with an assessment to determine each dog's social skill abilities, fears, any aggression issues they may have and these are all printed onto a photo ID card to alert all staff members of each dog's behaviour.

When the dogs are in Dog Central's care, they receive a minimum of two walks a day, game time, inside and out, a brushing and coat preening session. Dog Central offers a sleep over service too, where a staff member will take a dog home with them and spoil these furry children, just as their owner would. The centre also has various areas for older dogs who want to just sit and relax or a sick bay for dogs that have recently had surgery or aren't feeling the best, where they can lie down and be given medication when required. And for the more active dogs, there is an indoor play gym where they can go nuts. Friday is beach day, where staff take the dogs to a semi private beach where they can run around, swim, play with each other and get the exercise that all dogs need.

Why am I telling you about a doggie day care business on a disability website you may ask? Well the wonderful thing about this company is, a lot of their staff have disabilities or learning difficulties. Chelie says that she realized there are people with certain disabilities who fit better into this type of role than she does. One of her longest employees, Jessica, has a disability and has now been employed by Dog Central for over 18 months.

The company is willing to give people with disabilities a ‘fair go', they need to be physically fit, able to walk large and small dogs and speak clear fluent English, to ensure the dogs will understand commands ect. The job also involves some dirty work, such as cleaning up after the pooches, but Chelie assures that although exhausting, it really is a rewarding job.

All of the staff are trained with at least a level 4 in animal companionship, or are currently studying to get it. At the end of each day, the dogs have their very own report card filled out, so their owners know exactly how they behaved throughout their visit. Most of the report cards are filled out by the staff who have disabilities, this is a great way to enhance their reading and writing skills, whilst also feeling as though they are contributing to all aspects of the job.

If you have a disability, live in Victoria, and you love dogs or have aspirations to work with animals, you can send your resume to [email protected] or visit their website - http to learn more - you can also click on this link to learn more about Chelie's vision for the day care centre, as featured on the television show: Barefoot Investor -

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand

Dogs & Disabilities Go Hand In Hand


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Previous Comments

Jo Blogs from Sydney posted on 14 Mar 2012
It's awful to hear things like this Lauren, because when I originally heard about this company, I thought it was such a great idea. I live in Sydney so having not seen the business personally, I could only write from what I've read... As an animal lover, I feel there's nothing worse than an animal business existing, when the owner or staff aren't animal lovers. It's kind of a contradiction, and people like that should really consider a different career. I really do hope that the staff and animals from this company will be treated better in the future. If this is all true, then karma will eventually take care of things....

Lauren from Footscray posted on 24 Feb 2012
This place may sound wonderful... but it is nothing like the article.Its a shame because such a concept would be fantastic. But it is like Olive said- the treatment of staff- and thats for all staff whether disabled or not- is so abusive and nasty. I write this to warn people who may read this story and think of trying to see if they can work there.... don't.Because that is what happened to me and its not like it appears.I don't like to say nasty things about people but the owner of this business- she is unpleasant, and someone who really shouldn't be working with animals or people.

Sandra Schleger from Bracken Ridge posted on 19 Jul 2011
This looks like a wonderful service. A dear friend of mine has a dream that is equalvant to the very project you are providing in your community. I would much like to be able to see the in operation. I am sure we should learn so much.Kind rewgards,Sandra

Jodie from Sydney posted on 8 Dec 2010
Hi Olive, thanks for your comment. This is sad to see as it sounded like such a great idea when researching for this story... Hopefully though, if this person is mistreating people with disabilities that are working for her, action will be taken against the issues and it will stop. That is the most important thing though, that if someone with a disability is being mistreated, that someone will speak up for them if they can't.

Olive from Yarraville posted on 6 Dec 2010
I have met two former employees of this place who have left because they were uncomforTA-BLE with the way Chelie Jones treated the employees that have disabilities. I am also aware of one case in which the parent of a disabled employee is taking action against Chelie for the way she spoke to (or verbally abused) the employee. Beware!

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