Today we’d like to introduce you to Renée Bogaarts.
Renée, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m obsessed with dogs, always have been. Instead of having posters of River Phoenix and Johnny Depp on my walls as a teenager (like my sisters), I had pictures of dogs. I finally got one at 15 and it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I was a kid and knew nothing about what THEY needed and neither did my parents. So, my dog, Laddie, was a barking, chewing and ever escaping ‘Lassie dog”, who ended up with the label of being a crazy, difficult, dumb dog. Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now.
I moved to LA in 2006, to be with my now ex-husband and found myself in an abusive relationship. I didn’t have a green card yet, which meant I couldn’t get a job and was desperate for a purpose. I decided to rescue a fearful, human aggressive pit-mix with my sole focus on doing everything I could to help her become a confident, loving and carefree dog. For 3 years, all I did was watch Animal Planet, Nat Geo & any dog related TV shows, talk to Trainers & Vets and read dog training books. I used my time and personal pain to fuel my dedication & commitment to freeing my new best friend, Lola, from her fear and pain. I worked with her everyday trying different techniques and she would show me what worked and what didn’t – in essence, she was the one teaching me about what she needed. She made a miraculous transformation into an incredible dog.
I quickly realized that dogs today, especially in big cities, aren’t getting their biological needs fulfilled which comes to the surface via unwanted behaviors. If you think of why we even domesticated dogs in the first place, we bred them over and over again to create these incredible beings that have the capacity to perform amazing tasks for us. It is in their DNA. They worked for us and with us. We gave them jobs, and they thrived with a sense of purpose, working as a team (or pack) under their leader to accomplish the goal. Today, we’ve taken their jobs away, we put our pups on a pedestal, give them no mental stimulation or direction – just smother them with love, for our own benefit.
In 2014, I started Dingo Doggies to fulfill our modern-day pups on their biological level, giving them healthy social interaction with their own kind, giving them direction and tasks to fulfill their needs and desire to accomplish a goal, all whilst having them practicing a healthy state of mind. In doing so, my clients saw their dogs dramatically change. Their issues & anxieties disappeared, their confidence increased, they were listening better, became the best version of themselves and most importantly, everyone noticed that their dogs were happier! It started out slowly, taking 2 or 3 dogs on pack outings a day, but as word of mouth spread, our incredible Dingo Doggies family grew. Today, we have three full-time employees, plus myself, and take an average of 30 dogs out a day. The phone doesn’t stop ringing with new inquiries and we are preparing for an expansion so that we can help improve the lives of even more dogs and their owners!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all. In fact, looking back, I’m amazed at how I didn’t give up. The only thing that kept me going was that I wanted to do this for the dogs and I didn’t want to let them down. In the beginning, I was working a second job waitressing and trying to get new clients. It was difficult trying to explain to people that we weren’t just a dog walking business. After about 4 months, I had to quit my waitressing job. Then, it got really tough financially. There were many nights/years I would cry myself to sleep. Is it even worth putting all of this energy into working with peoples dogs this way? Do people even care? Or do they just want a cheap service that does a basic walk?
In any case, I wanted to make a difference in the dogs’ lives so I kept pushing those thoughts out of my head. The more that the dogs were changing, the more I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t pay my bills, but the reward I got from making a difference in people and their pets lives was all I needed to keep going, Having my best friend join as my business partner to help on the business side also gave me the support and encouragement that this would succeed. Pushing forward every day and not focussing on quick success was how we got here. My advice for other women starting on a journey would be to focus on what matters to them and keep pushing forward, each day working hard to make it better than the last. Don’t look back, chase your vision and your goals, be grateful for everyone ‘win’ and most of all be patient, especially with yourself. Build it and they will come – when they will come, is unknown. But they will.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dingo Doggies – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We take dogs out on focused pack journeys. Giving them exercise, direction, and stimulation as a group whilst also disagreeing with unhealthy behaviors. Making sure that they know their boundaries so they can shelve their unwanted behaviors and just relax. We specialize in nervous, anxious, socially shy dogs and puppies. But really every dog benefits from our program. I am most proud of the reputation we have created for Dingo Doggies. Our attention to detail, unwavering work ethic and our strong commitment to nurturing the healthy development of our most treasured family members. When people have us work with their dogs, their dogs blossom-this is what sets us apart!
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
I’m Australian and was raised with a strong work ethic. I do credit my upbringing for who I am at the core but I have also been very conscious to work on any aspects of myself that did not serve me positively. I have always had the need to go above and beyond when it came to doing any task. I have also experienced many painful events which I have embraced as the catalyst for making my tenacious and fearless. I have failed many times and for many years thought that I may just never be able to ‘Adult” like everyone else, and would feel very deflated when comparing myself to my peers. Now, I know, everyone’s road is their own to travel, it took my experiences for me to find my place in the world. And it’s nice to be here.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @dingodoggies.com
- Facebook: Dingo Doggies llc
Renee Bogaarts, Lindsey Kilmer, Shanna Callan