Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why we opened Rocky & Maggie's (

Ever since I was a little boy, I remember having a pet. My parents got me a dog when I was just a toddler. He was huge and he was fun to play with. Alas, his enthusiasm got the best of him and he jumped through our screen door and ran away.

We then had a cat... oddly named Lassie (I was a huge fan). Lassie was a calico cat with orange, black and white colors throughout. Lassie was a great companion for the family. While she was out and about one day in the neighborhood, she met a boy... and got pregnant. Months later, she delivered a litter of kittens. The hard part about having 7 kittens was how to find homes for each. One went to a neighbor, another went to my grandmother and a few more went to family friends. Lassie was with us for a long time and the family was sad to lose her.

We then adopted Rascal, a small Schnauzer. Rascal lived up to his name, and escaped from the yard all the time. The furthest he got was a town away from where we lived... nearly 6 miles from home. He had a funny habit - he would scratch the incessant itch above his tail by rubbing it against the bed frame in my bedroom or the bottom support of the couch. It was funny to watch.

Some time passed after we lost Rascal and adopted Teddy - an all-white poodle/maltese. Teddy was soon joined by Midnight, Teddy's niece. Together, Teddy and Midnight (affectionately called 'Middy') brought many years of joy to my family. Through good times and bad, those two dogs were with us.

My fondest memory of Midnight was when I was in a cast after having surgery to my legs. The cast went from my ribcage to my toes... rendering me cessant and bed-ridden. While my mom and brothers went upstairs to bed every night, I was left in the living room on a rented hospital bed. Midnight spent nearly every night sleeping on my bed. Most mornings, I would wake up with her sleeping on my cast... always right there next to me.

When Jennifer and I finally moved in together in NY, we decided to get a dog. We went to the local shelter and asked them to keep an eye out for a small puppy. We didnt want to get a dog too big to manage, and finally got a call from the shelter, that a new puppy by the name of Belle, was just dropped off. She was adorable, 7 months old and small... or so I thought.

I brought Belle home, went to the store and picked up a crate, food, doggie dishes and a bunch of toys. When I arrived home, I was greeted with enthusiasm... as if we had been together for years. Unfortunately, our reunion was not going to last. Since I was flying to Florida the next day, I needed to drop Belle off at my Mom's house to dog-sit while I was away. She and Chuck (my step-dad) were very accommodating and took her in. I went home, packed and hopped on a plane the next morning.

Now, Jennifer, whom had been in Florida with her parents for a few days already, had been doing some doggie-recruiting on her own...unbeknownst to me. When I landed, my father-in-law picked me up at the airport and brought me back to the house where I found Jennifer holding this tiny, egg-headed, black and white Chihuahua. She said, "Isn't he adorable?" with that patented and irresistable smile.

So, we had two dogs, Belle and Rocky, and it all happened in 24 hours. We brought Rocky home to NY using a small subterfuge to get him on the plane. We told the good folks at Southwest that Rocky (then a 1 pound puppy) was our 'disability dog'... this was before Southwest allowed dogs on planes. He got ont he plane with us and we arrived home to introduce him to Belle.

Rocky and Belle got along, for the most part. Belle continued to grow and Rocky, well he stayed pretty small. In fall of 2008, Jennifer and I were planning for our big move to Houston, TX. At the same time, I was scheduled for hip replacement surgery. Jen knew bringing Belle to Houston without me around to help would be difficult, as Belle was exceeding 30 pounds and was tough to walk.

We made the very difficult decision to give Belle up for adoption. Thankfully, my Mom fell in love with Belle and offered to take her in. This was tough for us to do, but the saving grace was that she would most certainly be cared for by my mom and step-dad. We still see Belle whenever we are in NY.

Most recently, Jen and I decided to look for a new friend for Rocky. We had the wonderful folks at The Pup Squad come by with a few of their doggies to see which would be a perfect companion for Rocky. As luck would have, one of the seven dogs (all of which we would take if we had the space) was an obvious fit for us. Maggie (then called Lilly) was just 9 weeks old, tiny and absolutely adorable.

We adopted Maggie and after just 3 days, she and Rocky were sharing a bed and playing together. It's been nearly a year since, and Maggie was the perfect addition to our growing family.

By now, it should be obvious Jennifer and I are huge dog fans. We love our puppies and can barely stand to leave them for the day. Since we travel often, taking both Rocky and Maggie with us can be a challenge. We have shopped at local stores, huge chains and online, but rarely found what we were looking for. While in LA, we stumbled upon a pet boutique. In that moment, something clicked. I wondered if it would be possible for me to develop a business that incorporates pet boutique products and the obviously unfulfilled need for things Jennifer and I needed to make travel with Rocky and Maggie easier... and offer it to everyone. And was born.