Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Gallagher.
Leslie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started this company after I took my recently deceased boss’s German shepherd to a groomer for a bath and when I picked her up she was paralyzed. The groomer had ruptured a disc in her back (and of course lied and told me they had done nothing to cause my dog’s complete paralysis!). Every veterinarian that I took her to told me to euthanize her as there was nothing they could do. I refused to give up and took her from specialist to specialist, with a towel slung under her belly to help her walk. Finally after several months a friend suggested I try swimming her so I borrowed a friend’s pool and within a few weeks she was walking again. I was so shocked that there was no-one in L.A. doing PT on dogs (and I had just lost my job when my boss died), that I decided to go back to school to learn how to do PT on dogs. It was a long process (human massage school, vet tech school, canine massage school, and then finally canine rehab school) but I really wanted to see if I could do it. My very first client was a famous celebrity whose German shepherd had suffered a stroke and was paralyzed and was set for euthanasia. Within about four weeks I had his dog walking again and thus my business was born!
Has it been a smooth road?
Initially most of the struggles were in convincing local veterinarians that I was not in competition with them but that I wanted to work with them to help their clients. I spent a ton of time educating them about the importance of rehab and how we could potentially save lives with therapy. Later on competition came to town which I was initially excited about, as I thought I would have people to collaborate with, share ideas and suggestions. But they quickly informed me that they were going to spend all of their energy trying to shut me down so, instead of having colleagues to work with (and refer clients to) I’ve had to deal with constant harassment. But we treat more and more clients every day and the business has grown dramatically in all the years I’ve been building it.
One of the unforeseen challenges that my staff and I face is the constant loss of the senior dogs we work on… These animals are so grateful for the work that we do, helping them walk again, reducing their pain, increasing their quality of life, etc. that they fall in love we with us and we love them right back. So, when it’s an animal’s time, we understand and we say our good-byes but, still, it’s gut-wrenching.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a canine physical rehabilitation center and I would say the thing I am most proud of our reputation. We are known for being the most caring place in town and have the most intensely loyal customers imaginable. I would say that probably 98% of our clientele absolutely love us and rave about our services (but, of course, there are always a few people that you are never going to be able to please)! We specialize in getting paralyzed dogs to walk again. We also offer intensive boarding and rehab where special-needs animals are getting PT around the clock, all supervised by veterinarians certified in canine physical rehabilitation. Every member of our rehab staff is certified in canine rehabilitation, unlike other rehab centers, so we have a reputation for having the most qualified staff in Southern California. I think the thing that sets us apart is that our staff really, REALLY cares about every animal we treat and will turn themselves inside out and backwards to get an animal to walk again. Another thing that we specialize in is teaching dogs to swim and enjoy the water. We have a huge pool and host “Fun Swims” twice weekly for dogs that just love to swim. It’s one of our more popular offerings.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is the perfect city to have a big canine PT center as people here love their animals to pieces. Most of our clients love their pets as much (if not more!) as they love their children and in the case of the clients who don’t have human children, their pets ARE their children. So they really get the best of care. Going to regular PT goes right along with that.
I’m very positive about the future of my company. We have a great reputation among the veterinary community and they are often the ones referring patients to us. We also have very strong word-of-mouth referrals from current and past customers. My staff is the best in the business. We work in a great facility with state-of-the-art equipment. Everybody gets along with each other. And we get to work with dogs (and cats – and guinea pigs and sometimes rabbits) EVERY DAY! How cool is that??
- Initial consultation $275. Regular therapy sessions $130.
- Half hour sessions $70. Fun swims $30. Initial acupuncture evaluation $125.
- Acupuncture $95.
- Address: 2240 Federal Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90064
- Website: www.twohandsfourpaws.com
- Phone: 310-475-8555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/twohandsfourpaws.com
- Facebook: Two Hands Four Paws
- Twitter: twitter.com/2hnds4pwsrehab
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/two-hands-four-paws-los-angeles