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Meet Bethany Wilson of Ruff Beginnings Rehab Dog Training & Rescue in Santa Clarita and Burbank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bethany Wilson.

Bethany, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started riding horses and training dogs as a little kid on a farm in Southern Illinois. I always wanted to travel and my first stop was NYC since I love theatre…watching it or acting in it. I thought I might do dog training for movies at one point, but quickly found I had a knack for behavioral training. I followed my now husband to Los Angeles and got myself a little rescue dog that needed a lot of help. Her name is Happy, she is now 10 years old and she is what really started me on my path that led to the type of rehabilitation training I do now. I work with any age, breed, or problem and pride myself on being as thorough and honest with owners as I can be. Most of the dogs I see now have a bite history towards other dogs, people or both. I feel fortunate to be able to work with families and give the people a better quality of life with their dog.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being an entrepreneur is never a smooth road. If it is then you’re probably not working hard enough 🙂 But seriously, when you are starting a business in a new place the work is tremendous, and when you are successful or growing it continues to be tremendous. I spent a couple of years doing multiple jobs, staying up nights to figure out the online world of websites and Facebook by myself. I have no training in those matters, no training in business or even any contacts in L.A. when I started. Every mistake made I have owned and learned from along the way. When you are starting from scratch, no money, no contacts, no business experience, you have to make up for it by doing everything yourself and working 10x as hard. As a result, I believe, I currently struggle with giving up authority over matters because I spent years managing it myself. It is very difficult, haha, but worth it to let go a little and focus on even more and have my goals evolve. My paycheck and my purpose is solely reliant on me and how much I put into it. That is a philosophy I can stand behind.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Ruff Beginnings Rehab Dog Training & Rescue – what should we know?
My business has evolved into a place where dogs come that have no other options. They have been through other trainers, sometimes multiple owners or foster homes and are loved, but are making everyone’s lives miserable with bad behavior. Severe anxiety, destruction, dog aggressive, human aggressive, levels of excitement so high they hurt people are just a few of the issues we tackle on a daily basis. We currently have an elderly dog that hasn’t been pet in years because his aggression and anxiety is so bad towards even his family members. After two weeks, he is already starting to enjoy his therapy massages and being held accountable for bad behavior where he is no longer lashing out every moment. Another example is a recent cattle dog that is so friendly, unless you moved quickly. Her anxiety level was so high by the city suppressing her natural instincts that she was lashing out at joggers, constantly whining, and has a bite history. She is now able to go for hikes and walks in Santa Monica surrounded by bikes and other dogs and joggers. Her quality of life and the life of her family has dramatically changed. That is my purpose. We also do off leash training for dogs and train puppies and get them started on the right foot! I work with several rescues in the area and that is what really drives me. So many dogs in shelters just need some guidance and boundaries and turn into easily adoptable dogs. Where I grew up in the country we didn’t have rescues. When I moved to the big apple at 19 I was shocked at the situation in shelters and rescues. So many dogs without homes and then people struggle with the dogs they adopt often. I just want to provide a better quality of life for these dogs and their families.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest supporter has been my husband. He never imagined he would marry someone surrounded by dogs all the time and is a champ. He helps me on many cases and 5 years ago even took a year off of work to help me transition my business as I was growing. I am also incredibly fortunate to have two people working for me that are dependable to a fault, strong young women, and have made working dogs over the years look easy, Alysa and Maxine.

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