TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For Natalie Connor, the first day was certainly tough. Monday was filled with a wide range of emotions from excitement, to nervous energy, to worry, even grief.
The long time Tampa Bay area businesswoman, with a 13-year background in doggy daycare, knew she had a challenge in front of her.
She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she also knew, she says, that people’s pets deserved better.
“I knew that there were changes that needed to be made, and I know what to do, ” Connor told WFLA.
She took a bold step and took over the troubled and not-so-lucky Lucky Dog daycare in South Tampa. The well-known pet hot spot has faced a number of tragic circumstances as of late, including numerous pet injuries and, sadly, the deaths of two dogs at the property. Pet owners were left confused and heartbroken with endless questions.
Now under new ownership, Lucky Dog is officially Love My Dog Resorts.
Connor told us she knew something had to be done and that the buyout happened fast.
“If you want to know the truth, I just signed the contract yesterday at 10 a.m.,” she said. “I’m ready for this. I’m a local. I’ve been doing this a long time.”
Connor said she wants to change just about everything at the facility and has already started. On day one, the sounds of rumbling equipment could be heard inside the 23,000 square foot facility where the daycare portion of the building is already being dismantled by construction workers.
She is also promising to revamp all the rules and regulations, making things safer and protocol even more stringent. She knows that customers are counting on it.
When 8 on Your Side asked her about the past, tears welled in her eyes as she talked about the future.
“I’m so sorry, I just want people to give us a second chance,” Connor said. “This did not happen when I was here, this was not me. But, I want to make things better I want people to come and see what we’re doing. They will love it.”
At this point, Hillsborough County is investigating the death of two dogs, and the findings will be turned over eventually to the state attorney’s office.
Connor knows that she cannot change the past, but she is asking for support and a second chance for future pets who receive care on the property.
“This is my first day, but I want to change things and make this even better,” she said. “Safety is my number one concern, and I want people to know that their pets will be safe here.”
Connor already owns two other locations for Love My Dog Resorts, which are both in Pinellas County.
“We want to offer our customers in South Tampa the very best. I want to build a portion of the daycare for senior dogs. I am starting over completely and I want people to know that this place will be even better. I am starting over completely, and I want people to know that this place will be even better. I wanted to buy this from the previous owners and they let go of the reins, so I know good things are ahead. I just want people to give us a second chance.”
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