Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Secret of my Success

When I started out my dog hiking business in 2007 I wanted to do find an occupation that could keep me busy in the mornings and ensure that I could pick up my kids from school and spend the afternoon helping with homework and bringing them to their after school programs like soccer, rock climbing and gymnastics.

The idea of starting a dog hiking business I owe to one of my best friends. She told me: turn your hobby into a business. I did and I will always be grateful for her great advise!

Once I launched my business I met the harsh reality of this diverse and yet odd business sector. The level of professionalism is extremely diverse. You will meet all kind of professional and unprofessional businesses.

The unprofessional businesses have definitely help build my business. They kept me focused in every possible way. Believe me, I had days I laughed when I encountered their attempts to destroy me. They spent their energy in trying to get rid of their competitor instead of building their own business. I focused and I kept my act together and it paid off! Last year I hired 3 people simply because I was full and now I am yet again confronted with the question: expand or build up a waiting list? I’m not sure yet. I’m happy where I am at. My days are filled with work and my family. There is not a moment I have free. During my Target runs I buy the movies I missed at the theatre and now they lay unopened in our living room. I simply do not have the time to watch them.

One advice I can give to building up a successful business is to stay a professional at all times. It will pay off in the end. You simply look stupid doing stupid things. Harassing and trying to defame another business will hurt you in the end. If you claim you have issues with 6 other businesses it may not be the other businesses but possibly you that has the issues. Always post facts and not assumptions! You may be surprised that what you assumed may not be true in the end. Life is short and if you don’t make it out there take it with pride and don’t blame the other one for your mistakes. My rules in life:

3 R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for your actions.

Life is good!!!!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hiking Green and launching our new website

A few months ago my daughter started redesigning her PurrfectKiddies website. It was time to redo our website as well. I loved the other website we had for The Dog Hikers but it was outdated and simply done. I had it designed about two years ago and although the design was almost what I had wanted it never gave me the feeling it was good enough for The Dog Hikers. I knew we could do better and we did.

I had learned to make a website overnight and it really wasn’t that hard. My then 9 year old daughter showed me how to do it. She is such a sweetheart! Before I knew it I was asked to design the Santa Clara County Website: and the K9OAC website: For the past few months I have been working on my Dog Hikers Website and I love the outcome!

The website totally reflects what I am and who I am. I just love it!!!! It took me a few months until I found the right design but after that everything went smoothly. I am content like a dog after a hike. JAPPY!

Going green, well, we were green to start with. We recycle about 95% of our garbage. We have one garbage bag a week with 4 people, 2 dogs and 5 cats. The rest of our bags are filled with plastic, paper and glass. It is really easy to set it up: go to Ikea and get some stackable plastic containers, mark them and start recycling. The marking is for the kids … they will still by accident put it in the wrong bin ;-).

For our hikes we use reusable water bottles that eventually can be recycled. Normal bottles cannot be recycled and stay forever in the landfill. I was also one of the first people in Saratoga that came in with reusable grocery bags. How weird they looked at me bringing my own bags. People in Saratoga I guess don’t do that. Now more and more stores are promoting the reusable bags and I’m very happy with that.

We are fixing up our house and everything we use is either recycled or eco-friendly. Recycled glass counter top, bamboo flooring, eco-friendly paint, the possibilities are numerous out there. To bring more awareness out there we decided to officially go green. I just bought a Yaris. That car is just allergic to gas stations. 1 on 36 and sometimes even better. A Prius was not an option for me. I love the environmental part until the battery! That is where it ends for me.

The Dog Hikers is hiking green. We are setting the trend! If a small business like ours can do it why not everyone else. Help us reduce your dog’s carbon paw print. It does not cost you more to go green. You just have to change your habit a bit. That is all!
Check out our new website:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Camping in Bear Country

This summer we camped in Lake Tahoe. Every night we had a Black Bear strolling through our camp. Every night the Bear got lucky when the oblivious new arrivals left their food out past dark. A sudden “Bear, Bear …” and he was at it again. A 2 year old male juvenile simply happy to fetch a pack with someone’s not eaten sandwich or a bag of chips. One night a group of pretty drunk kids chased the Bear into a tree right off our campsite. The Bear was sitting about 12 feet up in the tree looking down at these young kids. Taking pictures, throwing rocks and screaming “bad bear, bad bear.” Luckily our camp host lived right next to us and she dashed out to send everyone back home. The bear stayed in the tree for another few hours at least. I could see the reflection from his eyes as I checked on his whereabouts every 30 minutes or so. He was scared and you would think he had learned. Nope … the next day he was back on the hunt!

Here is a great link on what to do when you are in Bear Country. Brown bears (aka Grizzlies) have a different behavior than Black Bears. To me Black Bears are large raccoons. Opportunity hunters who have no clue how strong they actually are and that they would have no problem killing a human. Instead they have shown respect and keep their distance unless provoked. They just want your food and if you have no choice just give it to them. Don’t fight for your pack! It is not worth it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diving dog

Our dog Chewie, a light Golden Retriever, is not only an excellent swimmer but also an excellent diver. Just look at the pictures we took when we were in Tahoe this summer. We take a rock and throw it in the water and he will "dive" for the rock and fetch that exact rock from the bottom of the Lake floor.

The reason Chewie can "smell" through the water is due to a structure in the dogs' body called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. We humans do not have this organ!! It is an organ that runs along the floor of the nose, just behind the canine teeth. The organ is connected directly with the olfactory lobe via 608 (!) nerve bundles. In the roof of the dog's mouth there are two holes and the dog is able to pull scent through these holes. Chewie did not breathe underwater but he was able to smell the rocks we threw underwater without inhaling due to the vomeronasal organ.