‘Puppy Poo Patrol’ wins Vote 4 The Best

Cristina Mckay, owner of Puppy Poo Patrol, talks about her journey from healthcare to pooper scooper

Q: How did you get started?

A: After pursuing a job in healthcare, I realized how incredibly tough it was to work full time and be a mom. Working holidays, weekends and on-call shifts consumed so much of my time. With the support of my husband, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom, but as my children grew and became more independent, I found myself with a lot of free time.

I loved helping people and I loved animals, so I knew I wanted to do something that incorporated both. This is where my idea of Puppy Poo Patrol was born. With the help of my children, I decided on a name, applied for my LLC, created a Facebook page and post, and shared it with my friends and family. The entire process took me 4 days. Within that first couple of weeks, I gained my first client. The rest is history!

Q: Did you grow up with pets and do you have any now?

A: Yes, growing up, we always had a family dog. Now, we have 4 dogs, who are all rescues. Ellie Jo is an 11-year-old Chihuahua that came from an Amish puppy mill. Willow is a mixed breed dog whose age is unknown. She was thrown in an alley, in Ecorse, in the middle of the night and found after a nice lady saw Willow’s ears on her home surveillance camera. She went to River Rouge Animal Shelter and I fostered her from there.

Clearly, she was a foster fail, because once her legal case was over, we officially adopted her. Callie is a 6-year-old retired French Bulldog momma who was really sick when we got her. Lastly, Isabelle is a Chinese Crested. She is our special needs girl that comes to us from NBS animal rescue, out of Sterling Heights.

Cristina Mckay with her family, dogs and Puppy Poo Patrol team

Q: Best part and most challenging part of your job?

A: The best part of my job is having the ability to help my clients with a chore they either don’t want to do, or simply cannot do. I also love that I have the ability to donate my services when and where I can. Each year, Puppy Poo Patrol strives to help a dog owner in need. Previously, we selected a client receiving chemotherapy who was having a difficult time keeping up with the pet waste aspect of dog ownership.

This alleviates the dog owner of a task that can be extremely difficult or even impossible during such a rough time in their lives. Being able to enjoy their pet’s companionship, comfort and love is incredibly important. This year, we’ve decided to add a second person to our honorary scoop schedule. And we couldn’t feel more humbled and honored to help.

The most challenging part is springtime. Our phone rings off the hook. The snow melts, and many of our clients are seeing all of the poop that has accumulated over the winter. From March to the end of May, we receive approximately 15-20 calls per day, from clients that need their yards cleaned.

Q: Are you a dog or a cat person and why?

A: Although I think cats are really cute, I am definitely a dog person. Cats have claws and for some reason, they like to use them on me. A few years back, my chihuahua Ellie Jo and I were attacked by a feral cat and we almost lost her. I don’t hold any grudges against cats but I definitely keep my distance now!

Q: Advice for someone who wants to start their own business?

A: One of my favorite quotes is one by Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” This is so true! When I decided to start Puppy Poo Patrol, I was met with lots of skepticism. The truth is, roughly 50% of small businesses fail. Therefore, my advice to someone who wants to start their own business is to make sure the business you want to start is something you are passionate about. Make sure you have a vision. Develop your plan and just go for it!

Q: How did you hear about Vote 4 the Best? Have you ever won before?

A: We have always been active in voting for local pet-related businesses in the Vote 4 the Best contest. In 2020, only 1 year into our business, we learned that someone had nominated Puppy Poo Patrol. We were so excited! We decided to share this with our clients and friends. That year, we placed Top 5. In 2021, it was the same story only we placed 3rd! This year was our first year winning!

Q: Anything you want to say to the people who voted for you?

A: Thank you! You all were so dedicated to voting, and I am so appreciative of that. You are so loyal to my little company and I want to make sure you know that I would never have made it to where I am right now if it weren’t for your support.

Q: Tell us something about you that people may be surprised to know

A: In 2008, I graduated the surgical technology program with honors and was offered a position at the University of Michigan Operating Rooms. A few months into my career, I was asked to join the neurosurgery team. It was a very challenging career but one that I loved, and felt I was very good at.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: We want to make sure everyone understands that our service was created to simplify lives, just like lawn care, or home cleaning services. Our clients are not lazy. Some people simply find poop to be gross and prefer to have us take care of it. Then there are people that live busy lives or have disabilities and are physically unable to scoop their dog’s poop themselves. Whatever the reason, we are here to help them.

About the Author:

Zachary is a senior at MSU working in the Creative Services Department as an intern this summer.