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Meet Michelle Tritten of Hello Critter in Glendale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Tritten.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
While between jobs designing apparel (my career since 1989), one of my best friends, Dr. Liz Koskenmaki from Media City Animal Hospital suggested I start my own business helping pet owners. She claimed there was a genuine need for pet care services. Animals have been a passion of mine since early childhood. The pets in my life have served as keys to my happiness, sanity, inspiration, relationships and more. I figured a career change centered around animals was worth a try. Needless to say, as soon as the word got out about my new pet care business, Hello Critter, my calendar was booked.

Cut to January 2017 when another friend, Hope Urban, posted onto my Facebook wall, a CNN article about the Original Goat Yoga which started on Lainey Morse’s farm in Oregon. Hope suggested we hold a class of our own with my pet goats, Horns and Chop Chop. I wanted to bring Yoga back into my life and goats are good motivators! Our inaugural Goat Yoga event took place on Earth Day 2017 at Bette Davis Park. It was the perfect day for ten of us to practice yoga adjacent to the L.A. River, beneath shade trees. The breeze was blowing, the birds were chirping, my goats and rescued mini horse, Claude, were grazing on the grass all around us. I walked away from the experience completely blissed out. Afterwards, I decided I wanted to hold Goat Yoga events on a regular basis. I posted the next event to take place two weeks later. The event was shared extensively over Facebook. Nearly seven times as many participants showed up to our second event. Hello Critter has been facilitating public and private Goat Yoga events around the L.A. area ever since. Hello Critter goats have also served as actors for TV shows, muses for writing workshops, models for art classes and hiking companions.

Between Hello Critter events, I continue to take loving care of people’s pets. I also consult and design socially responsible clothing for apparel brand, it is well L.A.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle with holding goat yoga events was finding safe and legal places to conduct our classes. At first, we were holding classes by donation at Bette Davis Park. We didn’t know that doing yoga in the park required a permit and it turned out we could not obtain one because goats are not allowed in L.A. parks. Now, we do Goat Yoga on private properties around the L.A. area.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hello Critter – what should we know?
The thing we’re known most for, is Goat Yoga. We’re proud to be doing something that brings people together, releases stress in difficult times, creates tolerance, joy and happiness thru interaction with these playful, fun-loving creatures. We are also happy to be helping goats find forever homes. We are not the only goat yoga gig in town, but we’d like to be known for having goats that do good. We enjoy participating in fundraisers to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Aside from all of my animal loving clients, my mom deserves the most credit. She has been there every step of the way, supporting me whether it be covering critter care visits, checking participants in at goat yoga classes or helping me make business decisions. As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Liz Koskenmaki helped get my pet care business off the ground by recommending my services to her clients. She has also documented some of our earliest Goat Yoga classes with beautiful photos, one of which ended up in the New York Times. Without Hope Urban’s suggestion to do our first goat yoga class, I doubt I would be answering your questions. Yoga teachers, Beverly O’ Donohue, Tiffany Alice, Galeit Sehayek, Jocelyn Yamaski, Tina Marrin and Eve Wood have also been keys to the success of our Goat Yoga business. Our neighbor, Brian Terkleson was my first critter care client, he came up with the slogan I put on my business cards “Helping Every Lucky Loving Owner”” – he also suggested I talk to Jon Stocking, the owner of Basecamp Coffee and Eatery, who has turned out to be an ideal partner in bringing Goat Yoga to Burbank every other weekend. Caren Smith a friend since elementary school, helped me understand contracts better, her mother, Mari Mohill, was my first horseback riding instructor when I was a child and is now a dairy goat farmer who gave me the opportunity to find loving, forever homes for four of her castrated male goats who otherwise would have had bleak futures. And last but far from least, Dave Foster, my boyfriend of 17+ years, who has always shared my passion for animals, helps with schlepping and enjoys playing the role of goat herder.

There are many more to thank and give credit to, but I think I’ll stop here and save the rest for my book. 😉

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Dr. Liz Koskenmaki

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