Cincy Chic: What prompted you to start your own business, Hot Diggity Dog, Canine Water Fitness?
Shauna Grainger: My boxer, Arthur, was my inspiration for opening Hot Diggity Dog, Canine Water Fitness. When Arthur was three-years old, he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. His veterinarian suggested Arthur begin some type of hydrotherapy. He told me that this would help strengthen the muscles around his hips and slow the progression of this orthopedic disorder. My search for a facility in the Cincinnati area providing a doggy water workout was fruitless. As my research expanded and I learned more about canine underwater treadmills — a specialized rehabilitation machine that allows dogs to exercise in a near weightless environment and quickly build muscle without the stresses they face on land.
I found a facility with an underwater treadmill in Dayton, Ohio, and Arthur and I began making weekly, hour-long trips for his hydrotherapy sessions. Almost immediately, I began seeing improvements in the way Arthur was moving around. My interest in hydrotherapy continued to grow more and more as I saw the improvements in Arthur. I knew that the dogs of Cincinnati deserved a hydrotherapy center and could benefit, as he did, From here, the wheels began to turn.
Grainger: I think that hydrotherapy will absolutely become a standard of care in the U.S., as it is in Europe. The first canine underwater treadmills originated overseas so it makes sense that positive experiences and popularity have grown there first and is now beginning to branch out.
Cincy Chic: What’s the most memorable client you’ve had?
Grainger: I cant really say that there has been just one. Each dog comes to me with a different story and different needs. It’s an incredible feeling to know that each day I help every dog that comes in my door feel a little better. Every one I help is an accomplishment. This has by far been the most rewarding experience of my life and I’m greeted each day with wagging tails and puppy kisses that remind me just how lucky I am.
Cincy Chic: What advice do you give others who are interested in opening up their own business and working with animals? What helped you prepare for the business?
Grainger: Make sure you are passionate and do everything from the heart. When you believe in what you are doing, everything else works itself out. My background is in biological sciences, so I wasn’t very business savvy, however, the Internet provided a lot of useful information when I was in the early stages of planning and led me to wonderful local organizations such as SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” and The Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They were both instrumental resources I took advantage of.
Cincy Chic: What are your future plans for your business?
Grainger: I am happily celebrating my first year in business and trying not to get to far ahead of myself, however, down the road I would love to help with the development of a comprehensive rehabilitation center.
Cincy Chic: Where do you and Arthur like to hang out locally? Any recommendations for pet stores, groups/clubs, activities, etc.?
Grainger: Arthur loves wresting around with his buddies. Almost all of my friends have dogs, and we enjoy puppy playtimes and sleepovers quite a bit! One of our favorite places to go in the summer is to Heuston Woods. They have a “pet beach” where you can picnic and let your pooch wade around in the lake.
Cincy Chic: What do you love most about Arthur?
Grainger: Something I can’t even begin to put in words. Arthur is my inspiration and my world. I get teary-eyed just thing about how important he is to me. I love him with all of my heart, he is my forever best friend.
Cincy Chic: When your not knees deep in animals, how do you spend your free time?
Grainger: I love traveling an immersing myself in different cultures, especially trying new foods! Recent explorations of Russia and the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean and Egypt are just to name a few.
Cincy Chic: How does Cincinnati rank in terms of “pet mania?”
Grainger: I definitely think we have a way to go, but many more places are becoming “pet friendly”. The Reds Dog Day is a great addition to the list of fun things you can do with your dog in Cincy. Dog-related events seem to be popping up more and more, and they should, because they are a blast!
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Grainger: I love that I can drive 20 minutes south and be on a farm in the country, surrounded by peace and quiet. But more importantly, I love that I can drive 20 minutes north and be surrounded by the amenities of the city, great shopping and a not to shabby selection of restaurants!
Editor’s note: click here to see news coverage of Grainger and Hot Diggity Dog.
If you have a recommendation of a fabulous, noteworthy and chic person for our Chic Spotlight, we want to know! Send us an e-mail and we’ll consider your recommendation.
Photos: Courtesy of Shauna Grainger