Wouldn’t it be ideal if every apartment complex allowed dogs, regardless of breed or size? And what if there were communities of other dog pawrents that you could socialize with on a regular basis? With Fidus Pet Concierge Communities, the dog-centric apartment is already a reality!
That’s right, there are apartment communities that welcome all friendly dogs 𑁋 no matter their breed or size. So, what does it take to be a part of Fidus Communities, and how did this come to be? Let’s dig in to find out!
Steven Bardack is the founder and principal of Fidus Pet Concierge Communities in the Dallas Metro. Raised in a multifamily household, Bardack says he has always been interested in bringing tailored products to specific customers whose needs are not currently being met by the marketplace.
“As a dog lover who grew up in a family of dog lovers, living with pets has always been something that's been part of our lives,” he says.
“It really started to open up the question of why isn't it easier for pet owners to find housing that enhances their lifestyle instead of simply tolerating it?”
In the spirit of developing this dog-centric lifestyle, Fidus Communities offers a fully trained staff of experts in all things dog. Staff members provide services like dog walking, pet sitting, pet grooming, pet transportation, daycare and boarding, and pet concierge. There are also onsite pet care centers coming in 2023 and a DIY dog spa where residents can shower their pets in love!
But how do all of these services work in tandem at Fidus Communities? With the push of a button in the Fidus mobile app, residents can access any of these services. So, if you’re working and pulled into an unexpected meeting, you can easily have a trained staff member take your dog out for a walk.
Or, if your work is too demanding and you can’t get home to check on your dog, you can have the staff provide daycare services for your dog until you return. The best part is that the staff will bring your dog back to your apartment, so there’s no need to pick them up!
“This is the first-of-its-kind onsite, on-demand dog nanny service. It's the newest, greatest, latest luxury amenity in the multifamily industry. We created it.” Bardack says.
Think about living in a regular apartment that allows dogs, where you are solely responsible for checking in on your dog throughout the day. Maybe you even have to rush home to bring your dog out for a walk so they can do their business.
Dog parents everywhere know the stress of wondering if your dog is making a mess inside your apartment. So, imagine having trained staff at your fingertips ready to check in on your dog while you’re at work.
The Fidus app is especially helpful for people who frequently travel for work, like pilots or flight attendants. Instead of having to find outside doggy daycare services or boarding, busy workers can travel at a moment’s notice by having their dog boarded and cared for onsite at Fidus Communities. If residents would rather their dog stay in the apartment, the staff can provide check-ins and in-unit feeding.
If you use the boarding services due to traveling, Bardack says the best part about returning home is that your dog will be waiting for you upon your arrival. That means no more getting back to an empty apartment late at night because you can’t pick your dog up from traditional boarding until early the next morning.
“So with us, you let us know that you're coming home from a trip and you want your dog in your apartment. Your dog will then be at home waiting for you. Not only do you get an incredibly warm welcome when you come home, but you also don't have to waste the time in the morning and you don't have that chaos in your life,” Bardack says.
The Fidus Community in the Dallas Metro got its start during the pandemic and its first deal was closed in late 2020.
“We were thinking about what life was looking like during this disruptive period and how it was impacting people and their lives, especially those dealing with isolation. It became very apparent that there was an uptick in adoptions as a result of people feeling like they needed some type of connection,” Bardack says.
With the lockdowns, the rate of pet adoptions increased with people feeling loneliness creeping into their daily lives. In seeing this uptick in demand for pets during the pandemic, Bardack says he could envision an apartment community that not only welcomes but caters to pets.
“This rise in pet adoptions led us to believe that the percentage of apartment dwellers who own dogs would also increase and that means that there's going to be a lot of unmet needs,” Bardack says.
Some of the questions that Bardarck asked himself about this shift in the world was how to make a good experience for new pet parents, especially now when normal life is returning. Considering that some people are returning to the office or traveling for work again, Bardack wanted a smooth transition where people wouldn’t have to stress over leaving their pets at home.
“We want to make sure that we have a solution that is always going to be applicable to people’s daily lives,” Bardack says.
So, how does a pet parent become a resident at Fidus Communities? Besides the basics of an apartment application, dogs receive a temperament test from a trained professional in animal behavior. Rather than having strict requirements for dogs based on breed and size, Fidus Communities instead ensures that the dog is friendly and fit for apartment life.
Bardack says that other apartment communities that allow dogs often restrict them by breed and size. At Fidus Communities, the philosophy is that friendly dogs come in all breeds and sizes so there’s no need to pre-judge based on these external factors.
“What I think everybody is concerned about is whether the environment is clean and safe and is it going to be a good living experience. And so we completely changed the paradigm by taking every dog where they stand. We believe every dog is an individual and there's no such thing as a bad breed,” Bardack says.
The temperament test is a three-level, three-step process. First, there’s a one-on-one interaction between the animal behaviorist and the dog. This test assesses how the dog interacts with a new person and how they respond to commands. Second, an additional controlled introduction to other dogs of various sizes tests how the potential incoming dog interacts with new dogs. Lastly, the behaviorist will test interactions with the dog within an apartment. The initial temperament test takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
If you want to check out the community before applying, Bardack encourages people to bring their dog(s) for a tour. Whether you’re only browsing or seriously looking for your next apartment, Fidus Communities welcomes visitors who want to live in an environment of like-minded individuals.
With Fidus Communities, the ultimate goal is to create that strong sense of community. Bardack says that with so much division going on in our society, he believes that bringing people together with a common goal can help create a friendly, productive, and safe environment for everyone.
A part of creating that ideal community requires everyone doing their part in cleaning up after their dog. Like many of us who have lived in dog-friendly apartment complexes, we’ve all received that email from management making the rounds asking people to please pick up after their dogs.
At Fidus Communities, there are extra steps in place to ensure that this situation doesn’t happen. Every dog is registered on the property and receives a cheek swab for DNA recognition. With these measures in place, it adds extra awareness of being a responsible dog parent and consideration for your fellow community members.
This is where Porch Potty comes in, saving Fidus Pet Concierge Communities of more dog waste and smell. Brandon Kennington, the inventor of Porch Potty, teamed up with Bardack to create the best possible potty experience for dogs.
Kennington says he wanted to create a larger version of the Porch Potty specifically for Fidus Communities. This gives residents with a balcony the luxury of having a specialty-sized Porch Potty for their dogs to have the perfect piece of green.
Are you already a Porch Potty fan but wondering if you can get the Fidus Communities specialty size at home? Well, you might be able to get your hands on this larger potty size in the future.
"The larger size we offer to the public is four feet by two feet, and they have a four by four on some of their patios, which was kind of a unique exclusive. Well, exclusive at the time. We might decide it might be a great addition to add to our lineup of Porch Potty sizes now that we've designed one, but they have the benefit of having basically a double size," Kennington says.
With all those dog potties in one centralized place, how does it hold up with the smell after dogs have used it several times?
"So one of the things that come with the idea of having a Porch Potty or a litter box for dogs at all is, you know, you do get the downside of concentrating on the area where the dog uses it for going to the bathroom there, and therefore potential smells add up," he says.
To solve this problem, Kennington says that Porch Potty is dedicated to changing the game and getting the smell out of the box. The "cardboard competitors" only offer grass on a flat tray, which sets up the box for a smelly disaster.
"Whereas Porch Potty takes it to the next level. We've learned that diluting urine just with water solves the smell problem quite easily. And so we created a Porch Potty with drainage and a pop-up sprinkler system to rinse, drain, flush, and we drain the system to keep it smelling as good as we can," Kennington says.
But that's not all. Porch Potty is a continually improving product. New ideas are tested to make it a better dog potty whenever possible. For instance, Kennington says the tray below the synthetic or natural grass on the Porch Potty has raised bumps. This feature holds the grass higher, so it airs out better and prevents water and urine from collecting in the tray.
"We're continually working on new ways to address that problem to always be the best out there compared to what alternatives there are. Right now, we're actually working on a low water flushing system that we believe is going to revolutionize the industry for having a dog litter box at home, similar to maybe how a cat litter box at one point was just the standard cat litter," Kennington says.
Making improvements for the better is something that Porch Potty strives for every day, gaining inspiration from customer inquiries and modernizing pet products.
"Now you see new technologies out in cat litter that are odor absorbing and new materials that are being used that are eco-friendly, and we're doing the same thing for dogs."
The usual smell from dog urine can also be combatted with Porch Potty's Turftastic. This eco-friendly spray is easily applied to the grass to eliminate those odors. Dog parents who already own a Porch Potty also love giving their thoughts and ideas on improving the dog potty. Kennington says he loves hearing about customers' suggestions to improve his product.
“We love talking to customers. In fact, it's so mind-opening that we get all of our engineers on the call and listen in and be part of the conversation. And it is, it's really a great way to not only hear what the customers are saying, but just appreciate the customer and where they're coming from, potentially showing us that there's a secondary problem that we haven't thought of yet, or that we need a solution for, or a third level product or a third level problem,” Kennington says.
With Porch Potty, this makes for a great relationship with Fidus Pet Concierge Communities in keeping the community clean. From the balconies to private yards to the open green space that residents and their dogs use daily, ensuring a sanitary environment is vital.
After all, when there is a constant search for the offending pet parent who won’t pick up after their dog, it creates animosity within that community. We love going by the honor system as much as the next pawrent, but sometimes these things slip through the cracks and then there’s dog poop all over the green spaces.
“Instead of leaving things to chance, we have put in place systems, technologies, and processes to ensure the health and safety of our residents and their pets,” Bardack says.
Speaking of safety measures, every Fidus apartment has a doggy door that leads to a private yard or a private dog-safe balcony. Details are key in the apartments, which include dog-specific features like motion-activated lights above the doggy doors.
Because dogs may be nervous about going outside in the dark, the doggy door lights help calm their fears so they can do their business. This feature prevents indoor accidents due to spooked dogs who don’t go outside in the dark to go potty. Plus, there are other safety measures like snake fences that are specially designed to keep out snakes and other Texas critters that could harm your dog.
Besides bringing dog parents together within one community, the other benefit and goal of Fidus Communities is making life easier.
“When you really think about it, what's going to change your life as a dog owner is having your freedom and your flexibility back. That's the game changer. That's something that you can't get anywhere else,” Bardack says.
Fidus Communities allows dog parents to have it both ways, where you can provide your furbabies with extra services and still live an independent life. You can have a spontaneous outing with friends or family while knowing that your dog is being taken care of by trained staff. And doesn’t that take the stress out of going out?
Dogs are a natural icebreaker for all of us dog lovers, so what better way to foster a community and bring people together? By seeing the same people with their dogs on a regular basis, you have more opportunities to start a conversation about your shared love of dogs. Then, before you know it, you have a whole family of humans and dogs alike!
When people befriend their neighbors, community trust increases. And when dogs are in the mix, it’s bound to make everyone happy and more upbeat on the daily.
Do you manage a pet-friendly apartment complex or retirement community and are looking for ways to help your residents be the best dog parents they can be? Contact us today at email@example.com.