Apparently, you're pawing to know more.... Here's the long version of New Hound Life's story.
Hey! I’m Rachel. I’m a mama to 3 amazing kiddos and 2 fabulous doggos.
A LIFETIME of DOGS
I’ve always had dogs in my home.
As a newborn, my parent's presented me to their German Shepherd, Kore. For several years, he was my protector and climbing toy.
At 5yrs old, I was lonely as an only child. When friends went home at night, they had siblings to play with, I did not. I was alone. Until my parents got Ginger, a Cocker Spaniel mix. My dog became my sibling - my confidant. (Note: The upside of a dog over a sibling is they don't fight you. The downside is they can't talk or play Cabbage Patches.)
At 14yrs old, we got Scrappy, a small, quiet, and cuddly Beagle. During Puppy Kindergarten classes, we had the opportunity to put her through a detection service program. Her nose was stuck to the ground as she obeyed every command during Kindergarten. We declined detection work. We wanted a pet.
One year Santa brought us a sweet, yet noisy and (due to Santa's bag) slightly claustrophobic fourth child; a Beagle named Lily.
Later, a very large, brilliant, and loyal German Shepherd joined me on my new self discovery journey, Remus. Not long after, due to various circumstances Luna became into our lives, a small, stubborn, yet empathic Siberian Husky.
My life has been filled with dogs as pets, as siblings, as children, and as protectors. However, I continued to carry the dream my mom and I had of how cool it would be to one day train a service dog.
25yrs later, that day came.
SCRAPPY the SERVICE DOG in TRAINING
Sept 2019, Remus and Luna had a litter of puppies and one little guy really stood out. He was smart as a whip, determined, and very attentive to us humans, more than his siblings were.
At 3 weeks old, he was the first to escape the whelping box (repeatedly), then sass his mom when he was disciplined. He acted as if he was the reincarnation of Scrappy-Doo (Scooby-Doo's nephew, a cartoon character). "Put 'em up! I can take 'em!" I knew he would need a guiding, loving, firm hand.
And yet, even with that Scrappy-Doo attitude, Scrappy (yes we named another dog Scrappy - how could we not 😁) was the most affectionate out of the litter. He was the one, while his siblings were biting and attacking each other, would search me out to curl up on my lap. As his siblings wrestled and frolicked he would sit attentively and watch me paint baseboard.... then go hold his own while playing with his brother and sisters.
Scrappy was a keeper. Scrappy was meant to serve; he wanted to serve. I firmly believe this was the measure of his creation.
Jan 2020, I sought out a local service dog organization, Michael's Angel Paws, which allowed me to teach Scrappy for free along with his donation to their program for pairing with a Veteran.
Being new to service training, I knew squat about the service dog field, the cool gadgets used - or lack there of, let alone how to gracefully maneuver during outings. I felt I was continually packing a diaper bag, constantly fumbling treats as they fell to the floor, and continuously tripping over a leash. How on earth do service dog handlers do this daily, and with ease?!
The biggest dilemma I found while training Scrappy was with the 6ft double-handle leash I was using; it was so cumbersome. I felt awkward and stupid every time I wrapped the leash around my body - I swore one day I would elbow Grandma in the face, knocking her to the floor, breaking a hip, or worse... - all to simply provide an extra free hand, to open those darn plastic produce bags at the store. Once opened, produce filled, tied, and in the cart, the leash would be removed from my body. Rinse and Repeat.
Why not keep the leash wrapped around my body the whole time, you ask? Well... Scrappy was in training and needed short leash corrections. He needed to learn how to heal and that he, himself, could not go shopping as well. I couldn't keep the leash wrapped while providing this corrective control.
As much as I loved the 6 feet length when practicing stay and other commands, pushing a cart, holding a dog leash, while piling the extra 4 feet in the shopping cart was more comedy than I was looking for. I really wanted a short leash plus the ability to have hands-free. So I looked.
I looked for something better. Looked for something less awkward. Looked for something less conspicuous and less comical. Looked for something that was not a grandma killer. Guess what I found? Nothing. Crickets. The market didn't provide a hands-free quick-connect leash
for the general public to find. Seriously? No one has chopped this double-handled leash in half and created this? How is this not on the market? Gosh, darn it I'm going to make it.
With that, I designed and developed Scrappy’s Leash
. A leash where you can be in control of your dog and be hands-free within less than a second. A leash that's designed to be worn all day if needed. A leash, although that may reduce the comical relief in the world, would save the lives of many grandma in the process.
The JOY & FREEDOM JOURNEY with DOGS
Throughout this process... this journey... my eyes have been opened up to a whole new world. A world of freedom which dogs provide for us, and in turn us for them.
I have found this joy & freedom comes in many forms in our lives.
Personally, an unexpected litter of puppies, a service dog named Scrappy, and an idea has created this business...this brand. I am continually finding joy watching how lives are changed for both humans and dogs on a daily bases. I'm continually in awe at the freedom this has provided for me to serve others just like you. This opportunity which literally laid in my lap in 2019.
My life has taken a new path.
Service Dogs provide a whole new life for their handlers. Watching the anxiety and PTSD melt away for Scrappy's Veteran warms my heart, brings tears to my eyes, and joy to my soul. The stories of how service dog handlers are now able to shop during the day, attend college, and live a "normal" life is beyond powerful! Words cannot express the feelings which overcome you watching that transformation. Life is found, again.
Dogs are a large part of our lives throughout the ages in all societies. They are our welcoming committee after a long day at work. They are our therapist when no one else will listen, as we cry into their fur. They are our teachers, gently nudging us to take a break from the computer to improve our health with a walking. They are our foot heaters and snugglers. They are our protectors (or reminders we need an alarm system). They are our siblings and our children. They are miraculously always happy and cheerful. They teach us kindness, responsibility, and patience.
Dogs are among the best pets in the world. It's an honor and privilege to have a dog in your home. With dogs our lives change for the better.
We all experience a New Hound Life with dogs.