February 1st, marked our 14th anniversary and how quick the time flies! We are excited for this year because we are working on some pivotal changes that will improve our communication, provide some unilateral transparency between staff and departments as well as continue to evolve into being the greatest Great Dog we can be for you and your canine family members.
Through the process of opening (and growing) our Great Dog, I have developed some simple principles that have shaped my life. My founding truisms are as follows:
*If the time isn’t right, the door will remained locked. If the time is right for the door to open, your goals can be achieved.
*Thomas Wolfe was quoted as follows, “If a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns to somehow use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men will ever know.”
*My dogs will always guide me right.
I spent the last few years of the millennium trying to start a brick and mortar pet supply store in Wallingford and/or Ballard and even had a name incorporated, WAG. After several failed attempts either at securing a lease or financing, I shelved the project. I had two greyhounds at the time, Sam and
Jude, and I enjoyed spending time with them…regardless of what we had on the agenda for the day. Sam and Jude had a dog walker, Jamie Pflughoeft, who went on to follow her own dream of being a professional pet photographer (www.cowbelly.com). But, we were planning some construction projects around the house and needed the hounds in a safe, quiet location. There were just one or two small dog daycares in Seattle at the time. The industry was in its infancy and certainly wasn’t the mainstream pet service that it is today. As it happens, both businesses were full and because of their limited size were not flexible enough to handle two greyhounds for short term duration.
So, that formed the seeds…
It took root one evening when I was chatting with a greyhound friend, Alyssa Stenchever. She casually mentioned she always wanted to start a business but also hadn’t had luck with the initial venture stages. So I shared our little kernel of an idea, Great Dog. And off it went. The next thing I knew, I was giving notice at my job, drawing capital out and signing a five year lease on an empty warehouse in Pinehurst! Welcome 2001!
Great Dog started with five dogs we borrowed from neighbors and the five hounds Alyssa and I shared between the two of us. It was a lot of blood,
sweat and dog fur for a while. We laughed, gained new dog friends like Dash Jones, who was one of the very first pups to join our family or like the Risse’s and the Dunn’s who we have been blessed to know multiple generations of their furry family members.
Originally we were just going to be another small dog daycare, with 20 dogs and 2000 square feet. But as luck would have it, our first lease included the 5000 square foot big dog space. Our new friends asked us for grooming services and so we installed a bath tub and started to learn to groom. In Sept 2001, we needed a new front door
location (Did you know your dog can hear your car coming off Northgate?) and the current shoppe space became available. In 2005 we added the Adventure Park and Judi Anderson-Wright became my second co-owner as Alyssa decided to move on to another adventure. Judi took on the mission of expanding the
Canine Education department dedicated to dog and people friendly training programs A lot of who and what Great Dog is, revolves around our motto that later Judi and I developed after meeting international trainer John Rogerson, “Enriching the lives of dogs and the people who love them, each and every day.” Our staff love dogs. Our clients love canines. We have grown and shaped our programs to enhance the dog’s experience. We really do feel that we have grown a love for dogs into a Greatness called Great Dog. Thank you for being a part of it.