Local Magazine Features Hounds Town USA Founder Mike Gould and His Growing Pet Care Franchise
When Michael Gould opened his first Hounds Town USA location in 2001, he wasn’t expecting it to grow into one of Long Island’s premiere pet care facilities. Now with four locations and counting, this interactive doggie daycare, overnight boarding, and grooming facility designed as a town for dogs has become an integral part of the community—offering much needed reliable and honest pet care.
As the Commanding Officer of the Nassau County Canine Unit and a founding member of the NYPD’s Canine Unit, Michael had more than 30 years of commercial dog training and management experience when he opened his first Hounds Town USA location in a small building in Port Jefferson Station. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Michael was deployed to Naples, Italy, where he ran the Military Working Dog program. During that time, family stepped in to operate the new business until he could return a year later. “My daughter [fellow Old Field resident Heather Fitzgerald] would call me and say ‘Dad, we have FIVE dogs today!’ ” he says. Fifteen years later, Hounds Town has hosted a collective 600,000 canine (and feline) visitors across three locations. A fourth location is slated to open in March in Deer Park.
As a small business, Hounds Town brings to the table a unique experience for animals and their humans. “We offer an expertise in caring for live animals that no corporate pet care facility can duplicate,” says Michael.
The facility offers fully interactive daycare, meaning dogs are placed in playgroups that simulate natural packs, based on their size and temperament. The interaction provides psychological structure for the dogs, and helps with behavioral issues, separation anxiety, socialization, weight control, and confidence.
The facility does not breed discriminate, a testament to Michael’s deep understanding of dog behavior. “The brain of the pit bull is no different than the brain of the poodle,” he explains. His background in canine management has enabled him to develop a particular method for grouping dogs in playgroups that fosters an environment in which all types of dogs can thrive—even blind, deaf, or physically impaired dogs, as well as “bully breeds.” It is a skill that is transferrable to others, which makes Hounds Town’s business an ideal franchise model.
Hounds Town began franchising several years ago, and is quickly expanding its locations across the country. “We have a proven business model that has allowed us to franchise while still maintaining our family owned and operated roots, and that is something that is very important to me,” explains Michael. After all, had it not been for his own family, Hounds Town USA may not exist today.
What Michael is most proud of is the work he has done through Hounds Town Charities, a 501(c)(3) he formed to rehabilitate dogs deemed potentially dangerous at local private and municipal shelters and who are at risk of being euthanized. The charity—which fosters these “red” dogs at their corporate location in Ronkonkoma and offers them socialization, training, and rehabilitation—has helped place more than 50 dogs from local shelters since the charity was founded 2011. “It’s so important to give back,” Michael says. “With so many animals that need our help, we strive to incorporate this concept into our business each and every day.”
For more information on Hounds Town USA, visit www.houndstownusa.com. Listen to Hounds Town Radio every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on 103.9 F.M., LI News Radio.