Entrepreneurship Spotlight — Mike Rowland
Apr04

Entrepreneurship Spotlight — Mike Rowland

We’re back with another Entrepreneurship Spotlight, this time featuring Mike Rowland of Animal Training and Development. Mike has been training dogs in Fort Wayne for over 25 years, and it’s been so fun getting some insight into being an entrepreneur from someone who’s been doing it for years! He definitely has some great perspective for all you future Fort Wayne business owners. His business has evolved from focusing on puppy classes and simple behavior issues, to training service dogs for veterans with PTSD (although he still does puppy classes and potty training). He also now holds seminars and trains future dog trainers. Mike helped my golden retriever and I accomplish our goal of being a therapy team — my dog passed his therapy certification with flying colors! Animal Training and Development is a wonderful asset in our community, check it out! What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I recognized the need for professional dog trainers in the Fort Wayne area.  There were only a few options back in 1986 and many people were turning their dogs into Animal Care & Control due to relatively common and simple behavior issues like housetraining, jumping, barking, digging and chewing.  I took part in a “Animal Hotline” offered through Animal Care & Control once a week and fielded over twenty calls each day from people that were desperate for help.  It was very rewarding for me as an entrepreneur to take those calls and meet the needs of the callers.  Even though I was doing it for free, I knew the word would spread that people were getting help and that if it worked for them, more people would call.  Within a few weeks, there were more calls to the hotline than I could manage and my business phone began to ring.  It’s been ringing ever since. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Animal Care & Control, Allen County SPCA, local dog rescue groups and local Veterinarians.  All of these safe havens for animals were great places for me to grow as a professional and give back to those that give so much. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? It takes time and effort to be successful and even more so if you have no money for marketing.  I started with zero investment capital and only passion and dogged determination kept me going through the lean years.  Looking back, those were some of the best days.  Living simply and enjoying what I was doing, knowing I could help people train and enjoy their dogs;...

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Show & Tell: Paws to Read
Nov07

Show & Tell: Paws to Read

There I was, sitting in the upstairs hallway of Plymouth Congregational Church on the floor, trying to entertain Harper while Kennedy was rehearsing for choir. Kennedy joined the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir this year and the Apprentice Choir (the one she’s in) rehearses every Tuesday night at the church. So, every Tuesday Harper and I sit in the hallway and fight over ways to stay entertained. I try to look at some homework and she gets mad at me. I try to feed her, but she’s not hungry yet. I try to keep her quiet and content with toys, but she insists on being loud and trying to crawl everywhere. Thank goodness Andy is in charge of picking up Aylee from the sitter on Tuesdays, because I would not be able to  handle more than Harper by myself in that hallway. After a few weeks of struggling to maintain my sanity in that hallway with a baby, I decided that Harper and I would take a walk during Kennedy’s rehearsal time. I have never really been downtown Fort Wayne much, except for just driving through, so I figured we could go on a little adventure. Oddly enough, we didn’t get too far. Only a couple blocks south on Ewing stood this long, inviting building:  the Main Library of Allen County Public Library. Call me crazy, but I had only ever been inside that building one time. So I said to myself, “why not make it two?” Harper and I entered the building and were immediately greeted with the sight of Children’s Services to our left. I figured there probably wasn’t much for a baby, but I was sure to find something for Kennedy or Aylee inside. Boy, was I wrong (well, wrong about the nothing-for-babies-to-do part). As soon as we walked in, I noticed a large room to my right that looked like something you would find at a daycare facility. I must have looked lost (and I was) because the friendly librarian asked if I needed help with anything. “I sure do. What’s that room?” My gaze and puzzled look hadn’t left the direction of the large room. “That room is for families with young children like toddlers and babies. Would you and your daughter like to go in?” “That would be great, but I really just stopped in to see what programs ACPL has for older kids. We don’t have much time to stay and discover the toddler area” She kindly handed me a flyer with all the programs for October, and I read something that caught my eyes. “Paws to Read – what’s that?” “That is a...

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