Amy (Founder, Owner)
I believe that my interest in dogs started at birth, but my true love and appreciation of the canine species was blossomed by my first dog, Brandy. As you can read on her page, she was my everything growing up. I do have a half-brother and half-sister, but they never lived with me, so I got to grow up with my parents, and Brandy, girl's best friend. She gave me a passion for dogs. When I was in elementary and middle school (at Douglas Elementary and Carroll Middle), my human best friend and I wanted to be vets and attend NCSU Veterinary School (we even went to their open house once). On road trips, I listened to James Herriot's audio tapes. But, one day, Brandy's vet told me that a vet is the one person that dog's don't want to see, and that sort of changed things. He was right- I didn't want to give shots; I wanted to play with and love the dogs. Then, as I grew older, I learned about the tougher things that vets have to do- for example, euthanizations. After the amount of pain taking my own dog to the vet for the last time, and the fact that I still haven't gotten over it, I realized that being a vet really isn't for me. But, I still love dogs. So, I didn't go to NCSU (although they did accept me!) I decided instead to study at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (after graduating from Sanderson High School). It was the perfect distance (2 hours,) an adorable town, small class sizes with actual PHD's teaching (not TA's), and of course, the beach was nice too. Anyway, when it came time to choose a major, I still hadn't figured out "what I want to be when I grow up." So I picked the most generic major, Business. I figured no matter what I chose to do "when I grow up," it would be business. OK, moving on . . . I got a job at EUE/Screen Gems Studios as a tour guide, which was very helpful for me in breaking out of my shyness. While there, I was an extra on "Dawson's Creek," "One Tree Hill," and Stateside. I also got involved in some other TV shows and movies that were shot at the studios and around Wilmington. Eventually, I became the tour director and did PR for the studio itself. I also got behind the camera in everything from independent movies to music videos. Thus, I chose to minor in Film Studies. I focused my major in Business Management and decided that I would become a producer. Thus, after graduating college (#1 in my class,) I moved over 3,000 miles away to Los Angeles, California. While there, I worked as a production assistant, Art Director, Co-Producer, and more. I rubbed elbows with big-wigs, created my own sets, and made it snow inside. I saw famous people, walked Rodeo Drive, and was even in a Hollywood fashion show. It was a great year. But, my true happiness came at the dog park. The dogs accept you for who you are, no matter if you're a big somebody or a nobody. The dogs will be genuinely happy to see you no matter what. So much of LA is about networking and getting to know the right person. But in a land of fake, the dogs were always real. And the dog people, no matter if they were producers, or professional pooper scoopers, were down-to-earth at the dog park. It was one part of the day that wasn't about Gucci and Prada- it was about the dogs. And thus, it became the best part of LA.
It was while hanging out at the dog park, that the decision to enter the pet industry was made. I remember thinking, wouldn't it be great to do this all day?
So, after moving back to NC (3,000 miles is a little too far to be away from home for too long,) I got a job working at a doggie daycare, where initially I could do just that. I could play with dogs all day, and bring my Benny too. But eventually, I hit the ceiling in the small company and needed a new challenge. Thus, I got another job in the dog industry where I could still bring Benny. Before long, I hit the ceiling there too. After leaving to do some tutoring (a job I also picked up in CA,) I decided that I still wanted to be in the pet industry, but that the only job left for me was to run my own business. And thus, Unleashed was born. With myself as owner, I can set the standards higher and control these standards. Unleashed will carry only natural treats and food (not mostly natural.) I personally read every label, research unknown ingredients, confirm where the product is made, and make sure only the best is offered to my customers. And, most importantly, Benny gets to test every product! He's happy, I'm happy, and I hope you'll be happy too.
Update October, 2011:
Since Unleashed was formed, owners Amy & JP have gotten married and added another dog, Mr. Vixen, and 2 kittens, Wesley & Buttercup to the family. We have also opened 2 "brick and mortar" stores, with a third in the works for 2012. And to top it all off, in January 2012, we are expecting our first human addition to the family, a baby boy.