There are many answers to that question, but the first answer is we are “Crazy dog people”. But the rest is that we wanted to own our own business where we can meet people just like us, ones that love their dogs. We don’t mind hard work.
We really do love dogs. Like most of you, I had a dog growing up, Suzie. She was a little dachshund and she went everywhere with us. I was also influenced by my grandfather. He raised Sheepdogs, Yorkies, chickens, doves, and a couple turtles and snakes. “Pa” was an animal whisperer before there was a dog whisperer on TV. Much of what I know about the care and feeding of animals I learned from him. He taught me how to hold my first puppy. He taught me how to be compassionate and let Suzie go when it was time to say goodbye. He started me on my happy trail.
We love meeting people. I was an expert in internet finance and stock trading and helped people every day. Loved my job and what I was doing. Sue works as a district manager for a large retail drug store chain. She loves the environment and continues to grow with the company. We were both totally immersed in “people-centric” businesses. When we met it was love at first sight and we began to plan our lives together. We even added our first puppy to our family – Ladybug.
As it did for so many families, September 11th changed everything. My company’s HQ was in the twin towers and our business was devastated. That coupled with the economic downturn led to my being laid off from a job I loved. Sue found that the only way she could advance with her company was to move to Atlanta. We embraced the move, but started looking for ways to remove ourselves from the corporate environment. We wanted to own our own business. We wanted to control our own destiny.
We aren’t afraid of hard work. Working retail is hard and it seems endless especially when you’re working for someone else. It seemed like Sue and I had been working forever. You know if we weren’t being persuaded to work for our parents doing chores or working at the local store, we were chopping wood or walking through the snow to get to school…it was about 6 miles. Just kidding about walking in the snow, but our parents did instill in us a strong work ethic.
Happy Trails Pet Center is born. When we made the decision to start our own business, we began researching businesses where we could put our experience to work for us. By this time we had three dogs – Ladybug had passed away, but we had Cooper, Babygirl and Pawz, and for some reason we started talking about how much fun a puppy day care center would be. Our plans started to gel and we began to take it a little more seriously. One thing we learned from our research was that puppies are great, but they grow into dogs and in order to fully serve the families who would be our customers, we would have to accept dogs that were older than 6 months old. This could work, a doggie day care.
How we got our name. We were moving on the day care. We’d done hours of research, found the right building and done all the work to get it open. We still didn’t have a name. We knew we had to pick just the right name. One day we were walking the dogs on a trail we had taken a hundred times before. It was summertime, it was hot, and even though we were putting in long hours at work, we took the troops for a walk. Walks are also good for humans – the walk gave Sue and me time to talk. We were still working on the name and we were just throwing names out there when it came to us! The dogs were always happy running on the trail. We were happy, they were happy, we’re all happy at “Happy Trails Pet Center”. That was it, from there it was full steam ahead.
We’re very lucky. We are fully engaged in a wonderful business of our own where we can meet lots of people like you and your doggie. We love the business and the work isn’t hard because it doesn’t seem like work. We love our dogs, AND we love your dogs. Stop by and visit us and take a tour. We’d like to meet you and your doggie.
Ben and Sue