Think made-up holidays are for the dogs? This one might change your mind.
It’s National Pet Day, which was created in 2006 to encourage people to adopt animals from shelters — a noble cause, to be sure. To mark it, we’ve compiled a list of 6 animal-loving entrepreneurs whose businesses cater to the needs of woman’s best friend (and their accompanying humans, of course). Read on!
CJ Tomlinson of House of Ruff
Tomlinson’s Seattle business closed temporarily in 2020, as millions of other firms did due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When Washington governor Jay Inslee declared her work essential, she struggled with whether or not to reopen — until she recalled one group of people who could desperately use her services: first responders. “We have a lot of people working in the medical field, the police and fire department, and I wanted to be there for them because their dogs are stuck at home while they’re working seven days a week, 12-hour shifts,” she says.
Sherri Franklin of Muttville
Franklin’s $4 million social enterprise specializes in rescuing senior dogs — work she came into while exiting a less-than satisfying previous path. The former hairstylist wanted to make a difference, and after volunteering with local shelters and animal rights organizations, she learned about the plight of older dogs, who tend to be viewed as “unadoptable.” She and her San Francisco-based team rescue and re-home about 1,000 senior dogs each year, Franklin told us when we last checked in.
Becky O’Neil of Becky’s Pet Care
For over 20 years, O’Neil’s dog-walking and pet care venture has been tending to the four-legged loved ones of people in the Arlington, Virginia area. She manages a team of over 160 pet pros who provide on-demand or scheduled services for pet owners. It’s a far cry from where she was when she had just launched — spending the entirety of her Christmas that first year hustling to get a few gigs booked for her growing venture. Decades later, it appears that work paid off.
Tania Isenstein of Camp Canine
Isenstein ditched a decades-long career on Wall Street to take over this New York City pet day care center. “As a former attorney at an investment bank, I knew the challenges of being a dog mom and having a demanding career,” she told us in her 1,000+ Stories submission. “I knew that I could provide a great service to dog lovers with demanding schedules.” She also took a failing business and turned it into a profitable one, she adds. “In the first 5 years, revenues increased 300 percent, and we went from 6 employees to over 40.”
Lucy Postins of Honest Kitchen
For those concerned about what to feed their pets, Postins has the answer — and you could even have some of their food yourself, if you don’t feel like cooking yet another meal. The organic, non-genetically modified, gluten-free ingredients her chows boast could rival any dinner idea you’re eye-balling anyway. That commitment to natural goodness has been baked into her San Diego business since launching in 2002, and to date, has been a recipe for success.
Lauren Pietrocarlo of Dogs Deserve It LLC
This Chicagoland venture was launched by a former political strategist who wanted to start her own passion project — and the answer to what inspires her came in the form of her canine companion. In the years since it’s opened, it’s become an award-winning firm that has, according to its website, taken over 10,000 dogs on more than 400,000 walks. Woof. (Bonus: It’s also a favorite Instagram follow for some of our staffers.)