The Business of Dogs

“A big business starts small.” -Richard Branson photo-1504595403659-9088ce801e29 Darwin Dogs.  What is it?   Who am I? Where did I come from? More importantly, what do I represent with my business? Out of those four questions, I would estimate 99% of the time, only the first is ever asked by my potential clients. But let’s remember, businesses are builders of our society.  Like or it or not, businesses and business owners have a great impact on not only services and commodities that are available, but can change laws or lobby against new ones (cough couch *PETLAND* cough). For instance, Darwin Dogs (me, Kerry Stack), well, I’m against animal abuse in general, and puppy mills as an instance (not shocking).  I have plenty of info on how I am using my influence and followers to try to shut down puppy mills, so it’s pretty easy to discover that.  It’s obviously nothing that I’m hiding. But what about other things that I may represent, or lobby for or against?  No two people will ever align 100% with their thoughts and ideas, nor will two political agendas or moral codes.  Hell, my husband and I can’t agree on what restaurant to eat at most of the time, and I love him to pieces!

As responsible consumers, it is our job to know where we are spending our money, and what we are spending it on.  No, I’m not referring to which bottle of shampoo from Target, nor am I referring to what specific burger from McDonalds.  What I’m referring to is the fact that you are giving businesses money: who does Target support? Who does McDonalds lobby against?

It’s a lot easier to just walk into a store, or hire a plumber, without knowing or caring what’s being supported.  For instance, would you feel the same way if the mom and pop bakery that you buy doughnuts from every week sends a check every other week to the NRA? And one to Planned Parenthood every alternate week? For some people, that doesn’t matter,and they’ll buy the doughnuts anyway.  For others, one or the the other check is going to rub them the wrong way enough to find another doughnut shop.

Business owners are in a position unlike any other career:  we have the ability to take your money and apply it to what aligns with our goals and aspirations.  For me, that includes saving for my children’s futures (estimable goal, in my opinion).  Obviously a lot of my income through my business goes towards basic living expenses.  But what else?  Have you ever wondered what you are supporting?  Have you ever asked other businesses who/what they support?  Maybe it’s time. It’s your money, don’t let it be spent against your wishes.

So in the interest of transparency, let me set the record straight about Darwin Dogs as a business, and myself as an individual.  Some of these things you may applaud.  Some of these things may cause you to unfollow Darwin Dogs.  Some may make you furious.  But it’s time for us all to be self-aware enough to know where our money is going after we swipe our credit cards.  Here we go:

1) I believe that every animal deserves a chance at having a good home, and having the best life they possibly can. Therefore,  I support Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, City Dogs,  and numerous shelters and local rescues, as well as the Animal Welfare Institute.

2) I think that people are the greatest resource to enriching and bettering the lives of all animals (including other humans).  Healthier, happier humans make more healthy, happy humans. Therefore I heavily support the efforts of Heifer International.

3) I believe that Stevie Ray Vaughn’s version of Little Wing is better than the Jimmi Hendrix version.  (I know I lost a few of you there.)

4) I believe that we are all created equal, and we should all have the same certain, unalienable rights regardless of age, race, gender or country of origin.  Therefore I am a proud supporter of the ACLU, and The Innocence Project.

5) I believe in caring for our sick, and sustaining our health so I support Planned Parenthood Federation of AmericaElizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Trevor Project.

6) I believe that the 10th Doctor will always be the best.

7) I believe humans are capable of great things when we stop finding our differences to be scary, but something to cherish and learn from, a melting pot.

8) I think Trump plays to the basest among us, and it makes me ashamed, because I know we are better than that. Therefore I attend rallies against caging children, ICE, limiting women’s rights, and (especially) hate groups.

9) I think PETA is bullying and extremism disguised as animal welfare.

10) I think we’re all so much more amazing than we give ourselves credit for.

11)  Picard.  Always Picard.  No contest.

So yeah, perhaps I’m a little Liberal.  Perhaps we don’t mesh 100%.  But I want you to know who I am, what supporting small businesses actually does for our economy.  I mostly wanted to write this because a past client sent me a PM a few weeks ago stating that he never would have hired me if he knew I was against Trump.  Never mind the fact that in two hours I worked miracles with his dog.  Never mind that he had referred me to six other clients.  He took it all back based on my moral abhorrence of Trump’s policies.

And he was right.

Listen, I’m not here to change his mind about Trump.  I’m free to attend my protests, and he’s free to attend his.  Just as I haven’t eaten at Chick Fil A in years because of my beliefs, he’s allowed to boycott Darwin Dogs because of what I support through my company.  And I know at least a few of you have lost some respect for me based exclusively on my dis of Hendrix (props on Watchtower, though.  Best. Guitar. Ever). But hopefully I’ve made you think a little.


Beard Rank:  Joel >Riker

Most of you are on this page because of animal rights, or you’re animal lovers, or just don’t know WTF is going on with your crazy diva-dog. (Hint:  Try Piloting.) But all of us are capable of learning more and doing better. Because as Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”  Let’s all do just a little bit better at making our society a reflection of our morals rather than of just our wallets.

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

 

676 – The Number You Need To Remember as a Dog Owner

 

It’s a beautiful day; don’t let it get away.
-U2

Orion and Sparta.  Brittany Graham Photography

Orion and Sparta. Brittany Graham Photography

This time of year can kinda suck if you have asthma.  Which I do.  I’ve got an upper respiratory infection on top of it.  I’m miserable. I feel like death warmed over.  In the history of sickness, I don’t think anyone has ever been as sick as I am right now.

giphy

Then I realized that I was being stupid.  The temperature is 53 degrees – warm for Cleveland (or the Arctic Tundra, but I repeat myself).  The sun is shining.  It’s an okay day for hiking, or at least going for a short walk with my best friend.  And here I was squandering it feeling sorry for myself, which is what I’ve been doing or the past 2 days.  Yes I’m legitimately sick.  But that doesn’t negate my dogs’ need for activity.  I’ve been cutting corners, using the treadmill for Orion, and a backpack plus some minor agility for Sparta, as outlined here and here, but nothing really beats a good walk.  Sunshine only adds to the benefit.  It was time for me to suck it up and go outside.  But I still don’t want to.

The lights...it hurts

The lights…it hurts

Then I saw an update in the mail from my dog’s vet, reminding me that Sparta was due for her rabies shot.  I looked through her medical records to verify, and stumbled across something that I’d forgotten: Sparta is almost 10 years old.

Now, that’s not such a big deal.  She’s not old (yet), but it did make me stop and reflect.  Most dogs live to be roughly 13 years old.  That equals only 676 weekends.   So far she’s far more than halfway through that allotment.  Technically speaking, she only has maybe 290 weekends left with me.  That means, at the very most, we are down to 77 weekends to drive that hour down to Bow Wow Beach, so I can watch her swim.  We only have so many hikes left together.  Only so many more times she can jump into the backseat of my car without help.  And there I was, squandering this time because I have a cold.

Sometimes we think of dogs in human terms, including how much time we’re given together.  At 42 years my young(ish) age, I still have a lot of time left.  We tend to include our dogs in that time because we assume that they’ll always be there.   But there is a set amount of time with them.  Perhaps 676 seems like a lot of weekends to romp with with your dogs.  Enough time to do do anything  you want.  But I’ve already used up half of those with Sparta.

It made me think.  It made me, well…

Damn, I hate when that happens

So I took my dogs for a walk.  Not far.  Just far enough to change my perspective. Which was far enough to make me want to hike even farther.  I’m not going to waste today anymore.

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio