Monday, July 27, 2009

A Brief History of Hooked On Dogs

Many of you know, but some may not, how Nadja and I became Hooked On Dogs. Both of us were born with a fondness for dogs, having grown up with them. We both adopted our own first "non-family" dogs when we were still in college. I adopted Dixie Dog (1991 - 2006) when I was just beginning my third year in college. She spent two years with me in college, three years in law school, and the rest of her life helping to keep me sane during my legal career. Nadja adopted Indalo (fondly referred to as Indi), now almost 14 when she was in graduate school at the University of Florida.

Over the years, of course, we both added a lot more dogs to our homes, all rescues. When we combined our packs (think of us as the Brady Bunch with dogs), we had 4 dogs each, and we've added Lolita and Thelma since that time. When we say we are "Hooked On Dogs," that is truly what we are. Our dogs range in size from 14 pounds (Wee-la) to 44 (Pippi). We have six cattle dog mixes, three total mutts, and a pit bull. All have at least dabbled in agility, with Clementine, a Master Agility dog, being the most accomplished in that field. Most like to swim daily in the summer, and several like dock diving (Clem, again, the superstar, as the smallest dog ever to qualify in the sport of Big Air on ESPN's Great Outdoor Games). Four have qualified for the world finals of canine disc (Bandit, Clem, Wee-la, Squirt), and three hope to do the same when they grow up (Smokey, Lolita, and Thelma -- the great hopes for the future).

When Nadja, formerly a professor of architecture, and I, formerly a corporate lawyer, decided to say Chuck-It! to those careers, we only had one goal . . . how to turn our passion (dogs) into something we could do full-time. We spent some time on the road figuring it all out. For several months, we traveled with our dogs competing and performing . . . and visiting every dog store in every town we visited. We saw what we liked and didn't like, and we didn't see some things we thought should exist in the world of dog stores that didn't.

When we finally settled in the Hudson Valley, our goal was simple . . . to use our combined knowledge and experience to bring the best toys, treats and food to dog lovers in a clean, friendly, and educational environment. In June 2008, Hooked On Dogs was born in Red Hook, NY where we hope it stays for a long time.


  1. Thats cool...I didn't know all that stuff about you guys. Chrissy says she would love to WATCH Thelma swim,or steal a float toy out of her mouth when she gets out of the water, but "pondside supervision" seems to be her job of choice. She said she lost her mind the day she followed Lenny in, but I am holding out hope she will go in again!! Stay tuned!!

  2. This is such a cool story! I love stores for dogs. I LOVE to shop for my dogs way more than I like shopping for myself! I especially like dressing up my Pit Bulls.

  3. I don't know what we would have done without you guys opening up the store - just in time for when we moved up here from the city. We thank our lucky stars every week.

  4. Kara great blog! You guilted me into not using my e-collar on Jade. She did fine at the lake today. Check out my blog, actually rant.