We received a heart-tugging note from Rick O’Banion last week.
“Losing my own pet was the catalyst for wanting to help other people with their animals and starting a dog walking business. Had I discovered by this course a few weeks earlier though, I have no doubt my beloved Mia would still be alive. This course showed me where I went wrong. Don’t wait until its too late. Our hearts are too intertwined and invested in our furry friends. Thank you Pro Pet Hero. I reviewed a better understanding through this course than I would have from on-the-spot training. I can access the materials anytime.”
We wanted to take some time to recognize not just the businesses that have gone above and beyond to make certain their clients are in the best hands, but also to applaud those that have a powerful why they got into pet care. Rick has a very meaningful why he cares for other people’s pets and we wanted to share that with more people.
What is the name of your business and what made you choose that particular name?
The name of my business is WagForward. Its a name my wife chose. I started walking neighborhood dogs to fill the whole I had after losing my Boston terrier Mia suddenly once Sunday afternoon. I didn’t realize how much losing her was going to affect me.
Anyways, I took our neighbors dog for walk after asking them. His name is Wally, he’s an English Bulldog. He ate it up and so did I. From behind him all I could see was his tail was on the wag. He pulled forward HARD with enthusiasm that I hadn’t previously noticed in him before. We were going places and quickly! It made me think, in retrospect how much more I should have taken Mia out for walks and I felt the need to continue doing this. I went to the animal shelter and started walking some of the dogs there to help me heal.
Where is your business located and what areas do you serve?
Our business is home-bred and in startup the phase; we are really trying to focus in a small area of about 20 miles serving Huntingdon, Mount Union, Mcveytown, and Millcreek, Pennsylvania
How long have you been caring for people’s pets?
We have only just started this doing this, but we have always taken in pets that other people couldn’t, for one reason or another have. We personally own a pug and a mixed terrier, an African Grey named Chloe two Conures and a Beta fish. My teenage daughter Andria loves bugs so we occasionally have the stray millipede floating around. Last year, she attended Penn State’s Upward Bound’s entomology program where she got a chance to have her hands in many exotic pet bug species.
What caused you to start your pet care business?
I am studying business through Glenn State World Campus and the loss of Mia really was the catalyst. She was this beautiful Boston Terrier, that I had bought from an Amish gentleman after she could no longer produce anymore puppies. She had been used up pretty good. She was the most beautiful pet that ever owned me.
What is the most fulfilling part of owning/managing your business?
Walking these dogs, and connecting with other pet owners whom I know feel the same way about their pets. I hear it when they’re telling me about the special bond they share with their cat, their dog, or horse – it chokes me up . I am to completely over Mia and I am not sure I will be anytime soon.
What is the most challenging part?
Trying to do too much, the admin, the foot work, home-life, schoolwork and not burning out.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
On my bicycle, or some weedy hiking path, riding off into a Utopian sunset. I have a touring bicycle and last year my wife dropped me off in Pittsburgh and I bicycled to Washington DC. I had gone more than 500 miles total on this path and back-roads. The year before that I hiked a local trail that was 80 miles called the Standing Stone Trail.
How has Pro Pet Hero’s pet first aid & CPR certification course benefited your company?
This CPR course is invaluable, it was the first thing I went to after Mia passed, I know I could have saved her if I would have known what I learned from this class. Every minute counts when something like that happens. She had violent seizures and having never had them before, it was unexpected – they came so fast and she went without notice. People know that their pets are in much better hands than someone who hasn’t taken the time to educate themselves. I didn’t just take the course, I still have access to it and I study the material every day. I test myself – I owe it to my clients. Suffering connects us all, I hope to be able to divert some of this suffering by being prepared because things happen. A lady told me the other day, after having had a meet and greet with her Shar Pei that she would totally trust me with her dog. I knew it was a great honor because this woman had this beautiful dog that was her entire life and it showed. Two beautiful souls. These are my kind of people – when I find them, I tend to keep them close.
Rick has clearly learned the value of the course not only to have helped his beloved Mia, but to help prevent, recognize and act with his client dogs. He is educated in what to look for and how to act – anyone that shares their lives with pets in any capacity should have this knowledge.
course is instructed not only by an ER vet who has saved and seen hundreds of pet issues, she is also a professor of ER and critical veterinary medicine. Learn from the best so that you can be your best for people’s pets.
she was always ready for a ride!