Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara McRee.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Atlanta with two wonderful parents and I am the middle of three girls. After college I went to work for my mother’s travel company, and worked alongside her for over 30 years. The business, although a livelihood and one that accommodated raising a family, was simply a job. I decided my love for dogs needed to be an integral part of chapter two of my life.
In the mid 2000’s I started working with an East Cobb dog rescue group and by 2008 I knew having my own rescue was something I had to do. I wanted to rescue in a fashion that made sense to me and I believed I could save more dogs. With my friends Karen and Stephanie on board. – I applied for and received my 501c3 status and Mutt Madd-ness was born in April 2009. To date we have saved close to 2000 dogs from Georgia’s high kill shelters.
In 2012 the travel company was sold. Early retirement was not an option. I started planning and developing a dog boarding and day play center that I aspired to be unsurpassed. Health and Safety were paramount, but it was critical to bring “home” into everyone’s thoughts when they came to tour. Haven was opened April of 2012.
In spring of 2013 Mutt Madd-ness opened Rescued Too! Our upscale -upcycled home decor store. The shop was created as an additional resource to raise funds to bring our dream of a facility to fruition. This is still a work in progress. Location is everything, so we moved last year to gain more visibility; however, the rent went up considerably. We struggle, but we haven’t given up on making this venture a success.
I found myself thrown a curve ball in 2015 when the leasing company sold the building where Haven was located. I was just 3 years in and had to find a new location and rebuild in quick order. I was panicked but realized this would also give me the opportunity to do things better and correct the mistakes. It took a village, but I reopened April 2016 making the second time bigger and better!
Has it been a smooth road?
What’s a life without struggle? It’s the struggle that helps us grow and make us that much stronger.
As a small dog rescue it’s always a challenge to find enough funding, foster families and volunteers to keep everything running smoothly. Dog rescue is VERY rewarding, but also heartbreaking. If you don’t give yourself an occasional mental break you can find yourself with some very sad days. Wanting to save them all and having to turn away a dog that is looking to you for redemption can be overwhelming. We just have to continue to push through – one day and one dog at a time.
As an owner of a business who is responsible for someone’s beloved family member it is an incredible responsibility to insure we provide a loving and safe environment, one that feeds their mind and soul. Our team is unique and fantastic and therefore it is always a struggle when I have to replace someone.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Mutt Madd-ness Dog Rescue; Rescued Too! and Haven the Dog Spot story. Tell us more about the business.
I am very proud of building businesses that help to save and build esteem in our four-legged canine friends. What I do daily actually makes me smile and the words “thank you for being here” brings me so much gratification. My clients, two legged and four legged, are all so important in my life.
I don’t know if it sets me apart since I think entrepreneurs are all driven, but I have such passion and compassion for everything I do. I learned so much from my parents – two entrepreneurs’ in their own right. My businesses are all very personal to me – I have surrounded myself with key people and great employees and I consider them all my extended family.
Mutt Madd-ness Dog Rescue
By now you know I love mutts and we are all about saving and nurturing dogs, in fact it is a serious mission of ours. Our rescue’s soft spot is for mothers and their puppies…mutts that shelters have no room for and some individuals have no need for. We could not accomplish our goals without the incredible contribution from our volunteers/fosters in addition to a great corporate supporter in Classic Subaru of Atlanta. Classic provided us with our Mutt Mobile and sponsor annual fundraising efforts.
We strongly support spay and neuter and will work diligently towards ensuring that the numbers of unwanted animals in the state of Georgia be kept to a minimum; we will continue to champion for the welfare of all animals through legislation and education.
At Rescued Too we let people know they can shop with a real com”passion” since all proceeds from in store purchases go directly to the care and management of the dogs rescued and nurtured by Mutt Madd-ness Dog Rescue.
Our merchandise is upscale resale and most people don’t realize on their first visit that its thrift, most think it’s consignment. We invite everyone to come sniff and dig their way through our unique accessories, vintage and modern furniture, and unusual paraphernalia. Our wonderful, adoptable dogs are featured during special adoption events at the store. All donations of goods to the store are tax deductible.
Haven the Dog Spot
Over the years I have used many services for my personal and rescue dogs, this is why in developing Haven I thought long and hard about the environment I wanted to create. It needed to be someplace that I immediately felt comfortable in. Playful, intimate…a haven where all things discovered were through your dog’s eyes. To that end, I canvassed products, materials, design, ventilation, sanitation, lighting, bedding and people to make the dog’s experience, calming, safe and enjoyable…it will be as close to home as we can make it. I am so proud of the end results!
We are who we say we are and communication is critical.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Sadly in rescue there will always be animals in need and things don’t change quickly enough. We hope that with the ongoing demand to protect the welfare of our animal population that the humane education process starts earlier, that our legislators rule on the side of the voiceless, spay & neuter is made more accessible and those that treat an animal inhumanely have “real” consequences. We are just one of thousands working to save as many as possible and to be their voice.
The overall pet industry…GROWING! People love their animals and there is always the need for the best products and services. The desire to keep our beloved family member with us for as long as possible has brought industry focus on the health and well-being of our pets. Much has yet to be discovered and with so many creative minds working on nutrition, behaviors, entertainment and comfort we can’t wait to see what’s in store.
- Mutt Madd-ness Dog Adoption Fee is $300 – what this includes is noted here: http://muttmaddness.org/adopt-2/adoptable-dogs/adoption-fees-explained/
- Haven the Dog Spot Day Play: $25 full day | $18 half day.
- Haven the Dog Spot Boarding: $44 per night
- Address: Mutt Madd-ness | PO Box 71821, Marietta 30007
Rescued Too! | 4665 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta 30068
Haven the Dog Spot | 4719 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta 30068
- Website: www.muttmaddness.org; www.rescuedtoo.org; www.havendog.com
- Phone: Mutt Madd-ness 404-406-6322; Rescued Too! 770-226-9858; Haven the Dog Spot 770-672-7343
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/mutt_maddness | instagram.com/rescuedtoo
- Facebook: facebook.com/muttmaddness | facebook.com/rescuedtoo; facebook.com/havendog