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The Long Dog Retreat Dachshund Rescue’s motto has, since its inception, been “Till they all have a comfy bed and a warm lap!” This turned out to be somewhat prophetic, considering its founders – married couple Kellylynn Caldwell and Joseph Landgraf – would later rent out a cottage with very comfy beds! across the street that allows visitors to “rent” adoptable Wieners for the duration of their stay.
On Airbnb, they advertise the well-reviewed cozy Michigan home with a nice little tagline: Rent a Cabin & Save a Wiener! There are three bedrooms, five beds, a fireplace, satellite television and internet, paddle boats and pontoons, and a great view of Huyk Lake, among other things. But by far the best amenity is the very pet-friendly policy.
“One day I read an article about an animal shelter in Colorado that ‘loans out’ their animals to people on vacation,” says Kellylynn. “It made me think about the possibility of having folks who are staying in the cabins ‘borrow’ one of the Dachshunds during their stay.”
Wiener rental only costs $5 a day, and the fee is waived if you take said Wiener for a walk, give said Wiener a bath, or brush said Wiener’s hair. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask us.
Of course, the cottage was already pet-friendly to start, so the “Rent a Wiener” program was a bit of a no-brainer for Kellylynn and Joseph – not only does it help socialize the dogs (which is very useful for getting them adopted and preparing them for life in a home), it also provides some publicity for The Long Dog Retreat.
“This has been beneficial to the dogs because, in a foster care environment, they get very comfortable with us. Some of these dogs are with us for many months. By spending a night or two away from us, they get one-on-one attention with another family, they get to practice socialization skills with different humans – and sometimes different dogs – and the clients often give us feedback on personality that we did not notice because the dogs will behave differently around different people.”
As the program has only existed for a few months, only about 30% of guests so far have actually “rented” a Wiener, and no Wieners have been adopted by a renter. However, a large percentage of renters do visit the rescue – and the adoptable Wieners – during their stay, and the rescue has had “lots and lots” of referrals both for potential adopters and Airbnb clients.
“The best part,” according to Kellylynn, “has been combining our business with our passion. We find by being pet-friendly and offering guests a look at the world of rescue, it helps us enjoy our work more and we are gaining clientele that we love because they are animal lovers like us!”
Kellylynn and Joe fell in love with Dachshunds in 2011 after adopting a 10-year-old long-haired named Austin. In fact, they fell so hard that they started going to Dachshund meetups, where they learned about the needs of the breed and decided their 5-acre plot of land in South Michigan would make a great place to build The Long Dog Retreat. Now, in just a few years, they have a thriving rescue that helps these wonderful and mysterious long-bodied creatures find forever homes.
If you love what Kellylynn and Joe are doing as much as we do, make sure to follow The Long Dog Retreat on Facebook (you can also donate to the cause here). And if you’re ever near Marcellus, Michigan, consider staying at their Airbnb cottage and participating in the “Rent a Wiener” program. We hear there’s a little Wiener named Fritz Charming who particularly loves the extra attention and extra treats.
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