Jenn Gavin is the dog-loving entrepreneur behind one of Grand Rapids' newest urban startups: A Pleasant Dog.
Gavin's business is focused on providing training and a variety of other services in downtown Grand Rapids for dogs and their owners. She has been training dogs for over 20 years before deciding to open her business. "I think there is a real need downtown and have been thinking about it for awhile," says Gavin. "I'm known as the crazy dog lady. People call me with dog problems all the time and it never occurred I could make it my job."
A Pleasant Dog features services specifically for dog owners in the city, where the unique environment -- smaller yards, traffic, busy neighborhoods -- can make owning and caring for a dog difficult. "There is a challenge in having dogs in neighborhoods and cities that have high population densities. It can be hard to get dogs out for exercise," Gavin says.
Besides basic training services, Gavin has several other services that can help urban dog owners (and would-be dog owners). "I offer pet sitting services as well. I'm most proud of a free matching service I offer, in which I pair clients interested in adopting a new dog with shelter or rescue dogs in the area. I also do free behavioral evaluations for rescue organizations."
Gavin credits Christine Grove Williams of Christine's K9 Service as being her mentor when it comes to training, but also says she has been a dog lover all her life.
Always eager to share her passion for dogs, Gavin has several tips for city-living dog owners: "First, please don't leave your dog unattended on a tie-out or chain. This is unsafe for the dog, who risks injury through accident or attack from another animal. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise every day, if you can. The old adage 'a tired dog is a good dog' is true. Be informed when using dog parks. They can be great tools to tire your dog out, but careful supervision is needed. Carry a couple of treats with you in your pocket. Whether you have a dog or not, should you ever find a stray or unattended dog, treats can be a great help.
And for potential dog owners, she has one last piece of advice. "Finally, if you are in the market for a new dog, please consider adopting a rescued dog. There are breed-specific rescues if you are looking for a specific breed. A Pleasant Dog can help you in your search!"
To learn more about A Pleasant Dog, you can view their site here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor