Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone
I am quitting my really great government job to start a dog business. There, I said it. It’s now out there in the universe. It’s real. This job where I make good money, have paid sick leave and vacation, primo benefits…… a group of people called I.T. that take care of and fix anything to do with my technological deficiencies (I will miss them far more then they will miss me I’m sure). I am giving up all of this to start my own business and go broke for only a couple of years (hopefully). This is the idea that will not go away. The “I must do it or I will regret it" idea.
This crazy journey started with a trip to a do-it-yourself dog wash around three years ago. I was attempting to wrestle my two big fur babies out of the back of my Tahoe and into the local “you wash the hairy stinkballs yourself” shop.
While I love my doggos, I mildly dread this several times/year trip because the shops I have frequented are usually just a little bit too cramped, the hair is flying everywhere and the smell can be less than desirable. I thought to myself, “you know, if you did this just a little bit better than everyone else, you could really be on to something…”. This led almost immediately to about 14,000 hours of me scrolling Pinterest and pinning every single picture I could find of cute dog wash-it shops. Fast forward a year and I saw a picture of the EXACT shop I was dreaming about. I tracked the photo down to a place called Bubbly Paws in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had found my Graceland. This shop is seriously awesome. As fate would have it, my parents were planning a trip to their farm in Wisconsin and lo and behold, where do they fly into when they go “back to the farm”?….. you guessed it… Minneapolis. A good friend was pressured into/gifted me a frequent flyer ticket (thanks John) and I invited myself along as the third wheel for their vacation (mom and dad, you’re welcome). I met with one of the owners of Bubbly Paws (Keith Miller is THE MAN) and the rest, as they say, is history.
“The rest” just had to wait for a bit. I had a daughter in high school with two years left until graduation. So I spent the next two years researching, planning and researching some more. Fast forward once again to 2017. The daughter has graduated high school and is off living her college dream in Portland and now I’m ready for my second act.
My days are now filled with meetings: meetings with a designer, meetings with my architect, meetings with an electrical engineer, meetings with sign people, meetings with the City Building Department, meetings with my accountant, meetings with my lawyer….. you get the idea. And I could not be happier. I am learning so much and I should be scared but I’m just too excited to feel anything but pure joy. I’m jumping off of that cliff and I couldn’t be happier. If you’re interested in following along on my journey, please follow my blog and join me for the ride.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
One Helluva Full Circle Moment and Forever Friends
(With Big Hair)
I was in a meeting with a good friend of mine (also my designer) a few weeks ago and I shared with her that she was one of my inspirations for deciding to take the leap and start my own business. She and I have been friends since high school and have gotten together only a handful of times since we traveled the commencement path and left the land of Aqua Net hair behind (see pic above). The times we have reconnected have always turned out to be big life moments. Every.single.time. Pregnancy (hers), unplanned OMG pregnancy (mine), parenting intervention re: handling a female teenager (there are no words) and finally, the summer get together a couple of years ago where she turned my tiny ember of an idea into a flame.
She had invited me over for dinner at her adorable approx. 15 square foot house on the North End in Boise. I walked into this house and immediately wanted to sell 85% of my furnishings and live there. It was that amazing. As I swooned and told her how much I loved her home, she told me that she was an interior designer and that she was getting ready to take the leap, hang up her own shingle and go into business for herself. Cue the instant jealousy. I believe I turned a slight shade of chartreuse for a moment. At this point in my life, the dog business idea was just starting to really percolate. I drove home from that dinner in awe of my friend and thinking “well, maybe someday I could…”. It was just a few weeks later that I took that fateful trip to Minneapolis to visit Bubbly Paws. (Read my first blog if you have zero clue what I’m talking about here.)
I’ve tried to nail down exactly when this dog spa idea started but it has been running around my brain for so long that I can’t determine an exact date. I know it was in existence in 2013 because I was building my dream home that summer and I had a fabulous real estate agent named Nick Roundtree @roundtreereal who has an equally fabulous partner named Will Heatter @flowersatwill. They both are kick-ass entrepreneurs and have very inspiring stories about taking the small business leap. I hesitantly ran my idea by them. Being the amazing dudes they are, they both enthusiastically said, “you should SO do this”. Sidebar……. If you don’t already follow these two on Instagram, you should. Anyone that carries the official title of “Bitchsistant” and is also one of the best real estate agents/brokers in the valley is someone I can relate to and also be secretly in love with. As for Will, his floral arrangements will make you understand everything that your flowers are not. I am secretly in love with this babe also so get in line people! I was here first. Follow them. Do it. You can thank me later.
Now back to a few weeks ago and that meeting with my friend the designer. (I swear I’m getting to the full-circle-moment part.) We are sitting on the floor around a coffee table at the Moxie Java in Meridian. I tell her how she inspired me that summer day a couple of years ago and the impact that it had on my life. I ask her what made her finally take the leap. She proceeds to tell me about a mentor that SHE had in her life during her critical time of contemplating the start of her design firm. Her mentor likened big decision moments in life to how a pair of trapeze artists interact. If you watch them, they swing back and forth literally dozens of times and they ALMOST connect on all of those swings. But the trapeze artist that is supposed to let go and leap just keeps swinging. Why is that? Because they know in their gut when the perfect jump needs to happen so they can connect. They just know. It happens at the perfect moment and only THEY know when that moment is. Brilliant and so very true. I just KNOW.
And speaking of Moxie Java and finally getting to the full-circle-moment part….. I have decided to buy this coffeehouse with another friend of mine because opening up a dog spa would not quite keep me busy enough. Oy! At the end of the telling of the trapeze story, I ask my designer friend if she would also be interested in doing an overhaul and redesign of my coffee house project. She instantly replies that she would love to. At that exact moment, a memory hits me of she and I somewhere around 1989 sitting in the original Moxie Java in downtown Boise. She has taken me there and I am an unwilling participant in my introduction to coffee. I tell her that old people drink coffee. I am 16 and I do not drink coffee. She tells me that this isn’t my parent's coffee and that I need to try an Almondia. I do and thus begins my love of espresso. I wonder, “How have I never remembered this before now?” As I look at my friend over the table with goosebumps running up my arms, I realize yet again that this friendship and this dream of mine is meant to be. Full circle moment indeed.
P.S. Forever friend, please do not charge me triple because I posted the big hair picture.
In case you're wondering how my OMG pregnancy turned out...
She's mostly normal.
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” ~Buddha
Newman the Wonder Dog (Stinky as a Great Big Hog)
Nearly every time I am talking about my new business venture, I get asked: “A dog business….why a dog business...” (emphasis on dog paired with a skeptical look and at least one raised eyebrow). Duh… because dogs are freaking awesome and who wouldn’t want to be around dogs all day? In an effort to answer that question, I am dedicating this post to my love affair with my four-legged friends.
Growing up, we were a dog inclusive family and our doggos were of the German Shepherd variety. Our first Shepherd, Cami joined the family before I did and she passed when I was in the fourth grade. The memory of her death stands out because it was my first brush with the finality of loss and the void that is left. Our next Shepherd was a rescue dog named Mindy. She was my first but sadly not my last experience with a dog that had suffered abuse at the hands of some awful human before us. She gave us an adorable litter of puppies and lots of love. She had a great life with us.
As a young adult, I moved around a bit with the military before finally settling back in Idaho in my early 20’s. I graduated from college (Go Broncos!) at 26 and gave birth to my daughter B shortly thereafter. When B was in kindergarten, I started volunteering at a local animal shelter. And by volunteering, I mean I immediately became a foster parent for shelter dogs. This is closely followed by becoming what is known as a “foster fail”. Seriously. I challenge you to name one shelter volunteer that has NOT added one permanent addition to the family. My permanent addition was Newman the Wonder Dog. It all began with a call from the volunteer coordinator before I even STARTED my first day. The conversation went roughly as follows:
ARLENE: Hi Jaycee, this is Arlene. I see you signed up to be a volunteer and we have this dog. He has been here for almost a month and is going to be put down tomorrow. He is WONDERFUL!!!
ME: Well, I’m not really in a position right now t...
ARLENE: As I said: He is wonderful. He doesn’t mess in his kennel and he would be a great foster dog for you. Can you come see him right now?
ME: Well I'm cooking dinn...
ARLENE: How soon can you get here? We are getting ready to close.
ME: Um... okay, I can come and meet him but I can't promise anything. What kind of dog is he?
ARLENE: He’s a Catahoula Leopard Dog.
ME: A Cata-what?
ARLENE: I’ll see you when you get here.
Side note: Arlene could sell cookies to Girl Scouts. I showed up and met a dog with the most unique coloring I had ever seen. He also had extremely blue eyes. Arlene told me that his eyes looked like Paul Newman’s so BAM! We had a name.
Newman was the “once in a lifetime” dog. He settled in like he had always been part of our family. I was a foster fail after only one day. We were a single Mom family and Newman seemed to know that. He was very protective of us girls. He had the energy of an area rug but could bust a move when the situation called for it. He was our Big Guy, the third Amigo, the yin to our yang. We had many road trips, campouts and romps at the dog park. He was quirky and we loved him for it.
Some quirks of note:
- If he had to poop or puke and was inside a house with only one square foot of carpet, he could hit the carpet 10 out of 10 times
- He would bury every bone he was given even if confined to a garage and the only dirt available was an unopened bag of fertilizer
- He had a tendency of staring you down as if he found you quite lacking
- And for my Dad’s benefit, I will add his personal favorite quirk: Newman would saunter over to the fence line that the P’s share with a neighbor and pee on the heads of their 4 Corgis that barked non-stop. Standing ovation from Dad every time.
When it came time for B’s senior pictures, I knew Big Guy needed to be there. I am so, so thankful for the pictures because he passed unexpectedly a few months later. In retrospect, it was a fitting time for him to go: He came to us while B was just starting school and left us just as she was finishing. His work was done and it was time to rest.
This long, rambling blog is an homage to the best dog ever. I miss him every single day. I still sing his song from time to time, “Newman the Wonder dog…. Stinky as a great big hog.” For some strange reason, I make up songs for all of my dogs. They are goofy and make no sense but I bet I’m not the only one that does it. At least I hope not. To wrap up and answer “Why a dog business?”. I want to do something with my life that really means something to me and I want it to be something I am passionate about. I want to provide a place you can take your dog to that is special and a treat, not just a chore. I want to have a shop that honors the important place that these pups hold in our lives and our families. I love all kinds of dogs and I want to pet them all but I will confess, I have a special place in my heart for rescue dogs. I’d like to give back to them a small part of what they have given to me. I want to give to those organizations that run on nothing but a shoestring budget, 12,000 pounds of love and never-ending dedication from volunteers. And THAT is why I chose a dog business. Also, I want my grandkids to call me the crazy dog lady.
P.S. Love you forever Wonder Dog