TailsInc.com

Issues

Behind the Brand: Pet Service Gurus

It seems like you can’t go more than a few blocks without passing a pet store, groomer, doggie daycare, vet office, or some other kind of pet-related business. But once upon a time, not too long ago, there were a few pioneers leading the way for the pet-friendly lifestyle that has evolved in our cities and towns today. Here’s what a few of them have to say about their drive, devotion, and dreams for the future:

The Dog Walker: David Lipschultz

davidlipschultz

What inspired you to get into the dog-walking industry?
It’s more of a who than a what…it was my first dog, Scrap. He was a Cattle dog I adopted in college. He, like any good herding dog, wanted to be in charge of everything—including my career. He insisted I own a business with dogs, and since he was alpha, I did what he said!

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?
That I would never ever be able to get all of the fur out of my car upholstery. Ever.

What are you happy you didn’t know before you started?
That I would be professionally talking about poop every day.

What is the best part of your job?
Helping people. I love working with new pet parents who recently adopted a dog, or with families in transition (like having a human baby). They are learning the challenges of balancing their own schedule with their dog’s. My favorite part of the job is being able to say to people, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of your pup.”

What is the number one question consumers should ask when seeking out a dog walking service?
How do you train your staff? Dog walking is much more complicated than people think—so many things can go wrong. Having a great staff requires professional screenings and a training program.

What is the most unexpected thing you have learned about people over the years?
People, dogs, and snowflakes are all alike, in the sense that each one is different! That said, if I’ve learned anything it is that people are people and that no matter what’s going on, everyone relates best by talking to each other with honest and open human-to-human communication.

What do you do in your personal life that makes you a better business person?
Working out. I put on my headphones, turn up my music, and focus on nothing other than exercising. Clearing my mind on a regular basis keeps me fresh for making inspired business decisions.

Who is your greatest mentor and why?
My dad. He and my grandfather were both business owners. My dad started teaching me to be a business owner when I was a kid. He taught me to always see the long-term vision for the business and to not get too caught up in the day-to-day.

What is one thing no one knows about you?
I’m a slightly above average juggler. In fact I generally keep a pair of juggling balls in the top shelf of my desk.

What is your superpower?
I’m a super organizer. I am always looking for the patterns in everything. Whether it’s data analysis or reorganizing closets, I’m always working on a logical way to organize things.

What do you still dream of doing?
Dunking a basketball.

The Trainer: Rendy Schuchat

rendy

What was the most unexpected thing you’ve learned since opening your own business?
I never thought, after being in this industry for more than a decade, that each day would be even more fulfilling than the next. I truly mean that—I never expected to love it this much.

What is the hardest part of your job?
Looking into the eyes of a broken, misunderstood, or confused dog. I love that Chicago has such an amazing rescue community and I support it as much as I can. In most cases, I know that I can help, but just knowing their story was full of heartache and abuse is really difficult.

What is the number one question consumers should ask when seeking out a dog trainer?
If it’s possible to watch one of their classes and talk to a reference. A trainer who is willing to show you exactly what he or she does isn’t hiding anything and will let his or her work speak for them.

What is the most unexpected thing you have learned about people over the years?
Just how much people will sacrifice for their dogs—and not just from a monetary perspective.

What is one thing no one knows about you?
I recently turned into a “little dog” person. (There, I said it.) I am adopting a nine-year- old Chihuahua this week after having large dogs my whole life.

What book has inspired you the most?
Patricia McConnell’s The Other End of The Leash. This book just clicked things into place for me. It does an amazing job of illustrating your dog’s perspective of the world and how your relationship can evolve if you just understood your dog better.

Is there a favorite quote you use to keep you focused/motivated?
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible!” It is perfect, especially considering the name of my business.

What is your superpower?
Understanding and relating to people very well. Don’t get me wrong, I understand dogs, too. However, while my title may be dog trainer, I don’t really train animals at all. It’s the dog’s human counterpart who is the most important part of the equation. Helping humans and animals communicate is what I do best. I’m not sure if it is a superpower, but it feels pretty ‘super’ when it happens!

What are you happy you didn’t know before you started?
There’s a lot of heartache and tears in this business. Dogs are like family members and sometimes when there is a serious problem, hard decisions have to be made. Fortunately, most of my difficult cases have happy endings, but the ones that don’t keep me up at night and weigh heavy on my heart.

The Doggie Daycare Owner: Saq Nadeem

saqnadeem

What inspired you to get into the dog daycare industry?
I traveled frequently for work and there weren’t any good options available for me to board my pets. I would sometimes drive five to seven hours instead of taking a 45-minute flight to my assignment so that I could bring my cats with me! I figured I couldn’t be the only person who experienced the same pain.

What is the hardest part of your job?
When you love your work as much as I do, the lines between personal life and professional life blur, which is really an understatement. That is often hard for most other people around you to understand, which can be difficult.

What is the number one question consumers should ask when seeking out a doggie daycare?
“Is this the right place for me and my dog?” You need to evaluate your dog’s specific needs and whether the doggie daycare or pet hotel meets them. For example, if your pet does not like a stimulating environment with a lot of other dogs, can the daycare provide alternative options that are suitable?

What is the most unexpected thing you have learned about people over the years?
It is okay to take risks on people. They may not always pay off, but the ones that do more than make up for the ones that do not.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
It’s not a matter of if things will go wrong because they will; it’s about what to do when they do go wrong.

What do you do in your personal life that makes you a better business person?
I try to work out almost every day, whether that’s going to the gym, running with my dogs, or playing volleyball. It is an important part of keeping me grounded by having a little ’me’ time as part of everyday, no matter how busy I am.

Who is your greatest mentor?
My mom. She was an entrepreneur herself and persevered against extremely steep odds. She has set a great example for me of what one can achieve with hard work, persistence, and passion for what you do.

What book has inspired you the most?
I think I’ve been more inspired by the TV shows Golden Girls and Frasier than any book I have read!

Is there a favorite quote you use to keep you focused/motivated?
From the final episode of Frasier, adapted from Alfred Lord Tennyson: “While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

What are you happy you didn’t know before you opened your own business?
I’m glad I didn’t know the economy was about to tank because I may have veered away from opening a travel-reliant business in 2008. But I’ve learned that people will continue to provide for their pets even if that means cutting back on their own personal expenses.

What is your superpower?
Optimism.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

Supporting Rescue $ Adoption since 2000

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter





horizontal divider horizonal divider


Explore the Community
Check out local eventsAdd your resourceFind a dog parkPets and the militaryPurchase an adList your event for FREEConnect with FriendsBusinesses Giving BackFind a breed rescue groupPurchase a subscription
Skip to toolbar