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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Pet Boarding CATEGORY

Mike Campbell is a 10-year veteran of the pet boarding industry and owner of Paradise Pet Resorts, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 563-9544 or by email.

Mike Campbell

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Mike Campbell: It’s a Dog’s Life

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — After 26 years working in retail, Mike Campbell was ready for a change, so when a unique opportunity came to his attention, he didn’t hesitate to let his career go to the dogs. “My mom told me that a family friend in Colorado had started a Camp Bow Wow franchise, and it piqued my interest,” he recounts. “I’ve always loved animals, and I also wanted to run my own business, so a pet boarding franchise seemed like a perfect situation. It wasn’t long before I started my own Camp Bow Wow franchise here in the North Bay. After five years with the franchise, I felt I was ready to strike out on my own, so I founded my own pet boarding business in 2007.”

Today, as owner of Paradise Pet Resorts, Mike says his favorite part of his job is interacting with his customers, both animal and human. “It’s neat to build relationships with my clients and their pets. When you care for someone’s pet, you sort of become an extended part of their family, so it’s a unique and rewarding dynamic.”

Originally from Southern California, Mike today resides in Santa Rosa, where he appreciates his central proximity to all the Bay Area has to offer. “I feel like this is the best place in the world to live,” he says. “We have the wine country, the beaches, the mountains and the most beautiful city in the world: San Francisco. It just doesn’t get any better.”

While Mike devotes the bulk of his time to running and developing his business, he does enjoy the occasional respite by going to the movies, going wine tasting and sampling the diverse local cuisine. Additionally, he likes hanging out with his favorite furry companions: Leah, a golden retriever, and Lewey, a terrier-chihuahua mix. “Leah is the love of my life, and Lewey is a tough little guy with a lot of spirit. I get the feeling he thinks he’s a lot bigger than he actually is.”

In regard to his life and career, Mike says life’s too short not to do what you love. “In general, I think the most important thing is to enjoy every day, and that includes your work. A lot of people seem to view work as a necessary evil, but for me, it’s a joy and a privilege. After all, when you’re able to do something you love, it hardly feels like work at all.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s the best gift you ever received?
A: Leah, my golden retriever.

Q: What was your first pet?
A: My first dog was a little Samoyed mix named Nicky. I’d previously had turtles, hamsters and guinea pigs, but after I got Nicky, I really learned to love dogs.

Q: What’s your favorite type of wine?
A: Zinfandel.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Carrots, nuts…anything healthy.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music. I like a lot of contemporary, top 40 stuff like OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons.

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The Benefits of Dog Daycare

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ROHNERT PARK — Many dog owners make a habit of leaving their dogs home alone while they’re at work during the day. However, there’s a better option that not only ensures your dog is supervised, but actually nurtures its physical and… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Socializing Your Dog

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ROHNERT PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: Besides exercise and nutrition, an important part of caring for a dog’s health is providing opportunities for socialization. Today we’re in… Read more

David Weiss is owner of Four Paws Pet Ranch, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 902-3984 or by email.

David Weiss

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David Weiss: Dog Days

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA – David Weiss started his professional life in the high tech field, but after investing years in a promising career, he suddenly found himself struggling to stay afloat in an inundated industry. However, it wasn’t long before a fateful interaction would open the door to a new and exciting transition. “I was doing general consulting at the time, and one of the businesses I was working with happened to be a pet services company,” he remembers. “One day while meeting with the company owner, he told me I should get into the business. While I had never considered it before, I’ve always had a heart for animals—as a kid, I was always bringing home stray cats and dogs. I was intrigued by the idea of doing something I really loved, and after giving it some thought, I decided to just go for it.”

After purchasing a local dog kennel, David spent the next few months renovating the property, which had fallen into disrepair over the years. “It was like something you’d see in a movie, where the characters find an old, run-down restaurant or theater and decide they’re going to bring it back to life,” he says. “It was a true diamond in the rough.” Upon completing renovations, David opened Four Paws Pet Ranch in 2009.

After five years in business, David says one of the things he enjoys most is seeing his vision for Four Paws Pet Ranch come to fruition. “I love taking an idea and making it a reality. For instance, we recently opened a members-only dog park, which is something I’ve been thinking about for the past three years. I find it very satisfying to implement these kinds of improvements and see our clients and their dogs enjoying them.”

Originally from New York, David now lives in Sonoma County with his wife, Gina, and their two children, Briana and Andrew, whom he cites as an additional influence on his career decision. “My kids definitely inherited my love of animals,” he says. “They’ve both been involved in 4H, and Briana just graduated from the animal science program at Chico State. Like any parent, I’d love to see them take over the family business one day.”

Outside of work, one of David’s primary hobbies is playing music. “I’ve been playing guitar for 40 years, but I still take lessons just to keep improving, and I like to jam with my friends whenever possible,” he says. Another of David’s favorite pastimes is camping with his family. “We have an annual camping trip that we’ve been doing for 20 years now. It’s a huge group—generally about 60 or more extended family members and friends—so that’s something we look forward to each year.”

In his life and career, David emphasizes the importance of focus when it comes to achieving long-term goals. “If you have a vision, there will always be hurdles you have to jump over in order to achieve it,” he explains. “The trick is to focus not on the hurdles, but on the vision itself. By maintaining a correct focus, you’ll be able to make it over the hurdles and attain your goal.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first pet?
A: A beagle named Frisky.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: Something’s Coming from West Side Story.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: Pink Floyd.

Q: What’s your dream four-piece band (guitar, bass, vocals and drums)?
A: Me and three other guys my age who just want to play!

Q: What’s one movie that people would be surprised you haven’t seen?
A: Old Yeller.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Watch an old World War II submarine movie.

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The Importance of Socializing Your Dog

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SANTA ROSA — While nutrition, exercise and affection are crucial elements for keeping your dog healthy and happy, an often overlooked aspect of canine wellness is socialization. Though dogs have become a domesticated species over time, they’re still pack animals by… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Keeping Your Dog Healthy and Happy

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SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you have a dog, you'll want to be sure to put them in situations where they are able to socialize… Read more

Dana Garduno is a kennel attendant at Bridewell Hilltop Kennels, a Diamond Certified company since 2014. She can be reached at (415) 231-2087 or by email.

Dana Garduno

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Dana Garduno: Canine Compassion

By James Florence, Senior Writer

NOVATO — Dana Garduno always had an affection for dogs, but she hadn’t planned to make a career out of it until she moved next door to a kennel. “I was looking for a place to live and found one located on the same campus as Bridewell Hilltop Kennels,” she explains. “My sister had actually worked there, so I was familiar with the business. Considering how close I was and the fact that I loved animals, I thought working there would be a great fit. I applied and was hired, and I’ve spent the last few years working as a kennel assistant.”
Dana says her favorite part of her job is simply being around dogs. “I enjoy hanging out with our dogs, whether in play groups or one-on-one. Sometimes we get dogs that are too shy or aggressive to be in playgroups, and I make sure they get special attention.” Dana says she also gets a little help from her sidekick. “My dog, Perseus, is a wonderful companion for new dogs at the kennel. Any time a dog is unsure about being here and isn’t getting along with the other dogs, Perseus will befriend them.”
A resident of Novato, Dana says she appreciates the convenience of her location, as well as its pleasant natural setting. “I like being so close to where I work. Plus, it’s a really nice area to live—it’s up on a hill and surrounded by all kinds of trees and nature. It has a wonderful view and it’s very peaceful…other than the dogs barking.”
Outside of work, Dana spends most of her time with her own dogs, including Perseus, a dachshund-terrier mix, and Hercules, a terrier-Chihuahua mix. “I also foster dogs—currently, I’m fostering two miniature schnauzers,” she adds. “Not surprisingly, most of my time revolves around caring for them all.” While her dogs keep her busy, Dana also enjoys hobbies like painting and cooking.
As a pet boarding professional, Dana says while it’s good to be proactive and organized, she also needs to be able to adapt to unforeseen scenarios. “I’m always thinking ahead, but if something unexpected comes up, I do my best to put everything else on hold and deal with it. Working with animals is fun, but it can also get a little hectic and unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Dana says she’d take her animal involvement to the next level. “I would probably open an animal rescue. That’s always been a dream of mine, and hopefully I’ll get to achieve it someday. Of course, I’d also do some traveling, especially through Europe.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first pet?
A: A miniature dachshund named Sparky.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Oldies. I love Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, and my favorite band is The Beatles.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: A stuffed walrus named Mr. Wally.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Banana ice cream.

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Preparing for Your Dog’s First Kennel Stay

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NOVATO — When boarding your dog at a kennel for the first time, there are a couple of things you can do to help ensure a positive experience. First, it’s a good idea to acclimate your dog to the kennel… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Tips for Your Dog’s First Kennel Stay

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Complete Video Transcription:

NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: Prior to your dog’s first kennel stay, there are a few things you can do to ensure a positive experience. Today we’re… Read more

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