• Louise O'Sullivan and Indie.

Louise & Indie

MY DOG & ME: With Louise O'Sullivan of DogHQ & Indie the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Virtually since the inception of Channel Magazine – 96 issues ago – local ‘doggy daycare’ business DogHQ has been part of the magazine. Early on we wanted a local business to add a pet flavour to the publication. Louise O’Sullivan of DogHQ in Glenfield shared our desire and the rest is history. Since that time DogHQ has expanded to having a second outlet at Albany and along the way they have also won Westpac awards for business excellence. In this issue of Channel we decided to have a chat with Louise about life in the doggy daycare business and about her own pooch, Indie the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Aidan Bennett put these questions to Louise in late February.

AIDAN BENNETT: How did you come to get into the doggy daycare business?
My dog Indie was the key to this turn in my life. I had always wanted to be in charge of my own destiny and then I found myself looking for a solution to a problem. The problem was meeting the needs of a young energetic dog while working full-time. I had the "light bulb" moment, did much research, planning and took many deep breaths and we are nearly 10 years down the track now!

AB: What do you love most about what you do?
There are many things to love about the work we do. Everyone involved in DogHQ (staff and customers) share something in common, the love and respect of the dogs in our families. We have customers who have been coming to us every week now for seven years or more and that makes it more like an extended family than staff and a client base. I have had the pleasure of some wonderful staff also who truly love what they do. 

AB: Tell us about your own dog Indie. How long has she been part of your life?
Indie is 10.5 now and I got her as a eight week old puppy. She is a tough nut and created many challenges for me at an early age. But ultimately, without putting this challenge to me, I would not have created DogHQ so I'm grateful for her coming into my life.

AB: Would you have another Ridgeback?
Indie is the second Ridgeback I have owned so clearly I am a fan! But since I have started DogHQ and come to know so many different breeds of dog from tiny to giant, I am a fan of them all now. 

AB: What do you love most about Indie?
Her independence! This is also a challenge at times but I have learned to appreciate the value of this quality.

AB: Does she spend time with the other dogs at DogHQ?
No. Indie is not a very sociable dog and didn't get the chance to do day care as a puppy which may have helped her. She was two years old by the time I got DogHQ off the ground and whilst she spent a bit of time at work in the early days, as we got busier it was not the right place for her. The next puppy I get will definitely get their social grounding at day care.

AB: How many dogs have you had in your life?
I've had two, occupying 22 years of my life. I didn't have any pets at home as a child and got my first dog at the age of 20. But of course, the extended family has hundreds of dogs that I meet every week!

AB: Do you have any other animals at the moment?
Yes. An undisclosed number of horses! 

AB: Does she have any bad habits?
Stealing food. It never ceases to amaze me where she finds food. In her mind chicken is everywhere, and often in cars. She has been know to break into cars for food!

AB: What are her favourite things to do?
In her younger years it was eat, running on the beach and sleeping in that order. Now it's mostly eating and sleeping still in that order and still more than capable of stealing.

AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
There is plenty of help and advice out there now for dog owners which makes dog ownership much easier. But certainly Indie has taught me, working with "who" your dog is rather than trying to turn them into something they are not will save a lot of frustration for both parties.