Passion for Pets

It wouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that you’d be greeted by a couple of friendly “woofs” when you walk into the head office of Ren’s Pets in Guelph. Life-size letters on the wall above reception welcome guests to headquarters: “Passionate about pets and the people they own,” which not only serves as the company’s corporate mission, but also embodies the way of life for employees and customers alike.

When President Scott Arsenault started with the company seven years ago, there were three Ren’s stores. The premier pet retailer has grown to operate 16 stores across Ontario, with plans to open seven more this year and expand nationally across Canada in the coming years.

“Everyone who works at Ren’s makes a difference in the lives of pets – from accounting, to marketing, to the front lines. Each employee plays a role in the big picture of our business,” Arsenault says.

A couple of years ago Ren’s head office adopted a pet policy, where employees are allowed to bring their dog to work with them. While there are guidelines, morale has increased and job performance has remained intact and perhaps even improved. “Everyone is so much happier. When you walk by purchasing and see Pivot the Border Collie, you have to stop and smile and say hi,” Arsenault says.

When it comes to giving back, Ren’s focuses on the pet owner community, confidently standing behind and passionately endorsing products and services aimed at improving healthy pet lifestyles.

Locally, Ren’s works with humane societies within the communities in which they operate. They also strive to support organizations that value the bond between pets and the people that care for them. When they opened their fifteenth store in 2017, Ren’s partnered with Don Cherry to exclusively sell a line of beef liver dog treats in honour of fallen Canadian soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirrillo, who was an avid pet lover and was killed in the line of duty at Parliament Hill in 2014. All proceeds from the sale of the dog treats support the training of rescue dogs as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) service companions for military veterans and first responders in Canada.

Giving back to companion animal health and well-being is another important goal for the company. This past August, Ren’s celebrated National Dog Day by raising funds at their store locations across Ontario for OVC Pet Trust, the company’s national charity of choice. The event raised $15,000, funds that will go towards advancing pet health through research, teaching and care at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

“Pets are our family members,” says Arsenault, who has three dogs and two cats of his own at home. “That belief is at the core of our business. We know our customers consider their pets to be an important part of their family and only want the best for them.”

Arsenault believes OVC is the premier location for discovery and treatment for companion animals in Canada and beyond. “If you are a pet owner, you know the high level of care a pet will receive when someone says they are taking them to the University of Guelph (U of G),” Arsenault says.

“Even if your pet hasn’t been referred to OVC for advanced or emergency care directly, the U of
G will somehow have an influence on your pet’s life. Whether it be the advanced care for animals that is available in their hospitals, treatment options that may not be available today but will be tomorrow because of the innovative discoveries of their researchers, or the training and education provided to their graduates 
(the family veterinarians that work in our local communities), your pet probably has been or will be positively affected by OVC during its lifetime,” Arsenault says. “It may not be today; it may not be tomorrow. If you have a pet, they will most likely be touched by the work that’s being done at Guelph. How can you not support it?” 

Arsenault acknowledges $15,000 was a good start for their first year of corporate support. “We play in the land of great at Ren’s. Our goal is to give up to $250,000 annually,” he smiles.

In August 2018 Ren's Pets celebrated National Dog Day and raised $17,000 for OVC Pet Trust. Photo: K9 Klub. 

Read more in the fall / winter issue of Best Friends Magazine.