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Meet Allie Gohery and Jenny Efimova of The Happy Dog in Brookline, Newton and Brighton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allie Gohery and Jenny Efimova.

Allie, Jenny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Allie: Before The Happy Dog there was Durty Harry’s, which is where our story begins. Durty Harry’s opened in the fall of 2011 right down the street from me and I was thrilled. I had been looking for a local business alternative to big box stores to shop at and bring my dog, Lena, too.

At the time I was working as a real estate agent, and not loving it. As I spent more time at the store and got to know the owner, she hired me as a dog walker. I really enjoyed that and ended up helping out at the store as well.

In 2013, I was offered the opportunity to take over partial ownership of Durty Harry’s, and I ran the store for two more years. In 2015, my then business partner and I decided it was time for us both to move on, so I sold the store and continued the dog walking portion of the business.

Once Jenny started working with me, I felt there was a good connection and that we could really make a difference together. The Happy Dog really came as a natural transition for both of us, and we’re really excited about the unique services we offer!

Jenny: Durty Harry’s was actually the very first place I brought my dog, Larkin, after adopting him. I was immediately struck by the sense of trust and comfort I felt there. Allie and her staff were also Larkin’s walkers during some of his most challenging times.

He was so anxious and fearful that he was reluctant to leave our building. I will never forget the immense kindness and grace they showed us during such a difficult time. It spoke volumes about the type of company they were and the compassion with which they treated dogs under their care.

Needless to say, Allie and I stayed in touch ever since. I became a walker with Durty Harry’s while studying to become a certified dog trainer at the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior.

Partnering with The Happy Dog seemed like the most natural decision since Allie and I both share the same philosophy and passion for empowering dogs and providing them with an enriching, satisfying, and positive environment.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Running a small business is never a smooth road! Our goal is to work hard and give our clients the best possible experience we can. We understand the immense responsibility that comes with caring for people’s pets.

Our clients trust us with their loved ones, and we take that responsibility very seriously because we know firsthand the harm that can come from having your dog under the care of the wrong person. Our biggest and most important goal is to treat our clients’ dogs the way we do our own, no matter what. We hold ourselves to this standard of care every day.

The Happy Dog – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Happy Dog offers walking, training, and enrichment services. We’re definitely not your average pet care company. We are the only company that provides personalized enrichment services for dogs. Enrichment, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, is an activity your dog finds satisfying and rewarding.

So think of all the things your dog loves to do—sniffing, scavenging, fetching, ripping, shredding, chewing, licking, etc. The list is long! Not only are these behaviors fun for your dog, but they’re also essential to their physical and psychological well-being. And yet, many dogs don’t get to engage in these behaviors regularly or they get in trouble when they do.

We design personalized enrichment activities for dogs in a way that allows them to meet these needs constructively as opposed to destructively. We offer enrichment walks as well as indoor enrichment activities. Enrichment is especially helpful for dogs who are fearful or reactive, because it helps decrease stress, builds confidence, and provides mental stimulation. Your dog will be twice as tired (and happy) when doing enrichment with us!

We’re also unique in that all of our services are entirely force-free. This means that we don’t use pain-based walking equipment, such as prong, choke, or shock collars; we never employ corrections, and we utilize positive reinforcement when working with dogs. Our staff understands dog body language and signs of stress, so we’re always working to proactively set our dogs up for success. For this reason, we never walk more than three dogs at once.

And finally, our training approach is both modern and effective. We believe that training should be about so much more than just “obedience.” We don’t just want you to have a well-mannered dog. We want you to have a well-adjusted, happy, and confident companion who can move through the world with you.

We use clicker training technology that goes beyond basic obedience to help build life-long skills by teaching dogs what we want them to do without force or fear. Animals trained using the clicker learn faster, acquire behaviors more reliably, develop confidence, and become enthusiastic learners. Clicker trained dogs are happy dogs!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
We know that dogs who are humanely taught how to successfully navigate the world, allowed to engage in natural behaviors, and are given opportunities to make choices are happy and well-adjusted dogs. Happy and well-adjusted dogs make life easier and more joyful for their people. Our goal is to provide services that can make this possible.

This can mean giving a high energy dog healthy outlets for their energy so they’re relaxed and able to settle when their family gets home, or helping a fearful dog decrease stress and build confidence through enrichment walks and activities. Success is seeing a dog who was once too stressed to walk down the street without barking and lunging, begin to feel better about their environment and learn new skills and alternative behaviors.

Our goal is to help meet dogs’ needs and give people the skills to effectively communicate with and teach their dogs what they want them to do. True success for us is when our clients are able to really enjoy life with their dogs.

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