We had the good fortune of connecting with April M. Henley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April M., can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In 2002, I rescued a 1 year old German Shepherd named “Kona Kai” from Animal Control in Coronado. She was a sweet, beautiful dog, but she suffered from severe separation anxiety. When I would leave the house, she would go out the doggie door and whine and howl in the backyard. It was so bad that the neighbors called animal control to report that “this dog must be neglected.” Of course, after an officer came to my home (on two separate occasions), the officer realized that the dog was far from neglected, she just suffered from separation anxiety and was a tad bit spoiled. She missed me! As crazy as it sounds, I quit my job to stay home with her. I knew that this was not a long term plan. I researched and studied more about the issue and realized I wasn’t alone. At that point, I knew that I wanted to help solve a common problem for other pet owners who struggled with the same or similar issues. This is how my thought process began with building Dogs On The Run in 2003. Not to mention being around dogs and being paid to play felt like the BEST job ever!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Dogs On The Run is a pet care concierge that connects pet owners to professional dog walkers, pet sitters, or dog trainers. We listen to what the family’s pet care needs are and then have a DOTR professional call them to schedule a free in-home consultation. Due to having a network of professionals, we have the ability to hand pick the professional for each specific client. We understand that every family has different needs and we try our best to customize care and respect clients’ routines in order to eliminate stress for both pets and pet owners. Dogs On The Run utilizes a software that will send a paw report, which includes details and pictures, to clients assuring them their services were completed and their pets are in good hands. We take great pride in our services, but also that fact that we make sure that NO PETS GO WITHOUT CARE! As you can imagine, in 17 years of business there have been accidents, emergencies and such, but, we feel that the clients’ services (pet care) should not be disrupted. Therefore, the software is just another added value that gives our clients peace of mind. We have worked hard to reduce stress and provide protection to our clients and their pets, and the software best enables that in this day and age.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are so blessed to live in San Diego. It has beautiful scenery, wonderful and conscientious people, and of course many pet enthusiasts. The must-do’s around San Diego would include the following in my opinion:
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
“The WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief that drives every organization and every person’s individual career. Why does your company exist? Why did you get out of bed this morning? And why should anyone care?” A book that is worthy of a shoutout is Find Your WHY by Simon Sinek. The “WHY” in question is your purpose for pouring your time and energy into your career, company, etc. He explains that everyone knows what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, but people rarely sit down to pinpoint why they’re doing it. Reading about and integrating the “WHY” concept helped us define our intentions, goals, and hone in on our core values. DOTR has always considered honesty, integrity, and compassion to be at the core of what we do, and bringing our attention to that and bringing it at the forefront of our minds has helped us move forward with greater strides to not just deliver our regular services with integrity and compassion but also strive to bring that same presence into our communities on a larger scale. We’ve always been working with these core values in mind, but the “WHY” concept helped sharpen our focus to productively move forward.
April M Henley