Parenting as a Business Owner – Dogma Pet Services

Our first interview in our new “Parenting as a Business Owner” series is Tricia Jacoby. She is the founder and sole proprietor of Dogma Pet Services.


Q: How long have you been in business?

I have been working at Dogma Pet Services for 12 years; 9 years at 1880 Crosby Road, in Kelowna.

Q: What challenges did you face when you first opened?

My first challenge was getting my head screwed on tight. My second challenge that I really had from the get go was convincing those around me, those I was living with, that the space that I had was worthy of the business I was wanting. I had to make all sorts of reasons and validate why this had to be done this way, and that had to be done that way, so it was really about establishing a true sense of self, was the biggest challenge.


Where I was going to take this company within this market and industry was the first challenge. I wanted to be different, I didn’t want to be a cookie cutter. So I had to really think about what it meant to be outside of the box, and to really do things differently than everybody else in this industry. That was a big deal for me.

I also started Dogma when I was thinking of moving on in my relationship, and then I got pregnant, and became a mom, and evolution took over and I had to make decisions not based on what I would want, but what I thought was best for not just my family, my child, my future, and I had two children now. I had my children and I had the business. And they’re both very demanding children.


Q: How long had you been married before you started your business?

I was married in the summer of 2009, while pregnant, and had started the business in October of 2008, so you can imagine the back to back. Much of the concept of the business was constructed in September of 2008. I really wanted to be a stay at home mom, and originally thought of the business as being a stay at home mom position, with my husband looking after the finances. But then I got pregnant, and things weren’t so simple after that.


But when I started dealing with the business, it was really to become independent so should anything happen to my husband, I didn’t want to feel like I was dependent on anything. That was my motivation for having the business, but for continuing, especially when I was 6 months pregnant and leaning over a tub, the last thing I wanted to do was wash dogs. I didn’t want to go on, but I thought this is what I need to do to secure a future, and that’s what I did. The biggest challenge was trying to break the mold.

Q: What successes have you had in your business?

One of the things, the biggest success has nothing to do with my business, it has to do with me, and the fact that this taught me that YES, I CAN! There is no, “oh, I can take a sick day”, there is no “oh, I don’t feel like it”, YES I CAN is the only answer I had for every obstacle that came after Morgan while I was working. Yes I can, because I have to, there are no options, you have point a, point b, to point c, and you just keep moving forward. My biggest success was in learning about myself and the fact that I can do it.

With how far I’ve come, I know that I can go further. The second biggest success is the people I’ve met along this journey of entrepreneurship. Positive numbers coming at me, from people who are supporting me. That’s my second biggest success, to know that my company is being validated in more than just the financial but that it’s being bolstered up by people that want to see me succeed.


Q: Your daughter has been raised with a mom as a business owner. Have you noticed that she is affected by that in any way?

One of the biggest differences that I have noticed with her is she has become more independentand far more attuned to other people. She wants to help, she’s become more involved and far more sympathetic to other people’s issues than I think the average kid who doesn’t necessarily know what mom or dad does on a daily basis. The fact that she she sees how hard I work makes her want to work just as hard.

And when she asks what can I do during the day, especially in the summer time, you have to ask of them to be more tolerant. She’s been incredibly sympathetic, she knows that I am guilty for working so hard. And she’s proud, I see this drive when she talks about…she was asked by one of her teachers what she’d like to do when she gets older, and she said she’d like to be like mom.

Q: What was your reason for starting your business – your “why”?

Dogma had kind of been a dream of mine for a while, I didn’t want to work for somebody else, I knew I could do it better, with more compassion, and I wanted it, I had so many ideas, I knew I could do better. I ultimately, you think when you go through life that you’re stumbling along and you just pick up what’s most convenient. I truly believe this is my purpose.

Every time I try to veer away from animals, I keep coming back in some respect. This is beyond just logic. It’s beyond what can make me money, it transcends any of that. When I started doing it, I knew I was meant to be doing it. And it’s made my life complete.

Q: What advice would you give to somebody who is a mom, dad, or not even necessarily a parent, but somebody that says I’m sick of working for somebody else, I have a great idea and I want to start a business.

Do your market research. Make sure not only that you want to do it, but it’s an industry that you can be successful at and that you can start seeing results quickly. Nothing motivates people faster than seeing results. So anything that’s going to get you some level of results that you’re looking for, great, keep going, don’t stop, don’t let anybody tell you what you can or cannot do. Especially when you become a parent, they’re going to say your first priority is to be a parent, your first priority is to yourself.

Don’t give yourself nothing – you’ll get burned out. Don’t lose yourself when you’re a parent or struggling to be this entrepreneur. Be all of it, but don’t lose yourself in it. Always have a back door. It doesn’t mean that you’re not committed, you need to be smart. If you go balls to the wall and it doesn’t work out, some businesses don’t work out, if it doesn’t work out have a back door. Don’t commit 100%. I never committed 100% because I knew there was a fraction that needed my attention should something fail. I’m a parent, if I was single, with no children or other people I was needing to look after, sure, my business would be my everything. Spread it out but don’t spread it too thin.


History, rewritten


We all know those families. The grandparents engage in negative behaviour (think racism or abuse). Their children grow up thinking this behaviour is acceptable. These children become adults and have children of their own, subjecting those children to the negative teachings of their own upbringing. These children grow up and continue the ugly cycle. It’s so disappointing when I see children engaging in the same negative behaviour as their parents. It’s understandable – children learn by observation. Think of something you observed as a child, be it positive or negative, that you remember clearly as an adult. See how powerful a child’s observations can be!

As an adult, you have options. You can examine your own belief system and measure it against those of your peers. If you grew up believing it was acceptable to use hurtful names when describing those of a different skin colour, you may not realize it is indeed unacceptable. Unless you take the time, as an adult, to examine your belief. What would spur someone into examining their belief system? Using the example of racism, it’s guaranteed that someone spoke to them about their behaviour. Choosing to hear and accept that a behaviour you engage in is hurtful to someone else is a major step that more people need to take.

Make the choice, as an adult, to take responsibility for your actions. Choose a different path than that of your parents; sever the line. Rewrite your children’s history.

5 ways to encourage a budding scientist


The process of discovery is ongoing for children. Each year, new situations arise within their lives, giving them new experiences to add to their ‘reference library’. If you’ve noticed your child questioning everything – to the point of making your ears bleed – try not to discourage them, however painful it may be. Provide an opportunity for your child to discover their own answers. Keep in mind their developmental level when choosing activities. Small items are choking hazards! Here are five ways to support your budding scientist:

1. Create a science and discovery box! Here are just a few items to include in such a box:

  • Magnifying glass
  • Small and medium sized magnets
  • Rocks
  • Clean, empty egg shell
  • Small binoculars
  • Clean pieces of bone (perhaps from a chicken or turkey dinner)
  • Small notepad and pencil (so they can record their discoveries, either through words or illustration).
  • A real feather
  • Small plastic tweezers
  • Apple seeds, popcorn kernels, or other small items a child could dissect and examine

2. Purchase a set of children’s encyclopedias. Encourage your child to ‘look it up’ when they have a question. Sit with them and look through the pictures, talking about what they see.

3. Find safe, credible science and discovery websites, where a child can research topics they have questions about.

4. Bake with your child! Adding ingredients and creating a mixture that eventually becomes yummy chocolate chip cookies is a science project, all in itself! Talk about the roles each ingredient plays or how heat makes things melt! If you need to brush up on your chemistry facts, do so. Or better yet – explain to your child that you don’t know the answer and that you’ll research it together!

5. Go on lots of nature walks with your child. Talk about the changing seasons, making observations along the way.

What is the strangest (or funniest) science question your child has asked? Share with us – laughter is great medicine!

When parents die


Recently, a very disturbing, hateful letter was sent to a family in Ontario, Canada. This family has a severely autistic child. Someone in the neighbourhood where this family lives decided to voice their concerns over the noise this autistic child makes, while they are outside. I will not say much else about that letter, as it still sickens me to think that someone could be that full of hate towards another, especially a child with exceptional needs.

The letter did bring up a point, however. As parents, when we give a child life, we are responsible for their care, until they reach adulthood. In some cases, as with an exceptional needs child, that care goes above and beyond the ‘legal’ age, as these children often remain immature, both physically and mentally. As the parent of a child with needs, this is understood. Typically, parents fully accept this role – this is THEIR child. The love they have is unconditional. This baby was born of them. There is no question that they will continue to love and care for this child for as long as they are physically able.

This brings me to the point made in the letter. If something tragic were to happen to you and your spouse tomorrow, leaving your child or children as orphans, who would be there to care for, love, guide and nurture your children? Who would support them through their grief? Who would ensure they brushed their teeth, did their homework, attended all of their doctor’s appointments? With an exceptional needs child, this decision is of even higher importance. There is often a large expense associated with exceptional needs children. Do you have someone in place who can handle this responsibility?

I urge you, as parents or guardians, to ensure there are plans in place, in the tragic and unfortunate event of your deaths as parents. There are many resources available online that can guide you through making a will. A simple Google search will yield lots of results. I’ve included a link from the Province of Nova Scotia, although most of the information seems like it would transfer to any Province. For those outside of Canada, please do a Google search to find information for your area.

Please ensure that your most precious assets – your children – are kept safe, cared for and loved, in the event of your deaths. It will give you piece of mind!

Life with boys


For anyone who has been blessed to grow up with brothers and who has sons of their own, you will understand where I’m coming from. There’s something so simple about the way a boy handles a problem. They get angry, frustrated and determined. Sometimes they cry. Then they look for a solution. Girls, in my experience as a childcare provider, get angry, frustrated, determined and stew about the issue. They seek out someone to complain to, who will sympathize with them. Boys seem to have a ‘fix it and forget it’ motto, while girls seem to have a ‘fuss about it and remember it forever’ way of thinking. As I said, this has been my experience.

And boys can eat…and eat…and eat…and eat. Sometimes I wonder if my boys have hollow legs – the amount of food they’re ingesting couldn’t possibly all fit in their stomachs! Alas, such is the case when you have healthy and active children. I’ve been assured that little girls can have the same insatiable appetites. I wouldn’t know about this. As a child, my food was restricted. There is a back story to this, that I may share at some point in the future. Suffice it to say – DO NOT tell your daughter that her brothers deserve food more than she does 🙁

Tell me about your experience with having boys – similar to mine, or completely different?

Testing the limits – staying calm with your preschooler

If you’ve ever watched a scene from an old western, featuring the ‘bad guy’ and the ‘good guy’ in a showdown, you’ll have a sense of the recent 90 minute standoff I endured with my preschooler. This particular event would test the patience of even the most saintly person. Although I do admire his staying power, mine is equally as strong. Backing down was not an option for this mommy, so we continued the dance. As his parent, it is my job – my God given directive – to teach and guide my child. He must understand that when you make a mess, you clean it up. This lesson has both practical and metaphorical applications, which I’ll leave you to ponder.

Through deep breathing, a technique learned in prenatal classes (who knew it would come in handy after the baby exited your body!), the screaming lunatic I call crazy mommy was kept at bay. There were certainly a few tense moments, when I thought my resolve may crack. Like I stated before, my son’s stubborn streak is admirable. This character trait will bode well for him as he navigates through the business world, should he choose that career route. It will also benefit him, should he decide to pursue professional sports. However, at this particular juncture in his life journey – being 3 years old and forced to abide by the guidelines of the household he finds himself in – his strength of character seems to cause him no end of frustration.

One has to feel some pity for a child’s lot in life. They don’t choose their parents (another philosophical debate, I suppose), they don’t choose if they have siblings or where they live. In some households, children are provided with some choices, such as what to wear, what to eat and what to play with. This allows a child some semblance of control over their environment, which any human strives for. Being a child, however, control over most things is limited, except in three main areas: If they sleep, if they eat and whether or not they allow their natural body functions to occur (pooping and peeing).

Knowing your child as well as you do, you make a daily judgement call – do you put away the toys scattered on the floor or do you steel yourself for a potential standoff? Depends on your patience level in that moment. Whichever decision you make, the follow through is the most important piece. As it is in most life decisions. Another philosophical discussion for another day and another blog post…


Perfect child = perfect mommy?

My boys

After attempting an organized sports lesson with my two young boys, I was struck with a realization – they are just children. The oldest one has six years of experience on earth, while the youngest only has three-and-a-half years of experience. Expecting them to understand social norms, thoughtfully consider other people’s opinions and requests, as well as patiently wait for something they desperately want, all of the time, is ridiculous. There are those who have several decades of life experience who do not possess these traits.

The instructors at this organized sports lesson didn’t seem to expect my boys to exhibit these traits. They seemed to understand that children are humans with limited life experience. Why did I not fully grasp that concept until after the lesson was over? Was I equating my children’s behaviour with my worthiness and ability as a parent? Imagine if children’s behaviour was indeed the measure of a parent; the vast majority of us would fail dismally!

Three cheers for ‘ah-ha’ moments! If you’ve recently had any realizations you’d like to share, feel free to comment. Perhaps your realization will open the eyes of someone else 🙂