We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Gasparac and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think there is risk in almost every step you take when running your own business. Don’t be afraid to try because you might fail. When starting your business, try a number of things, even if you are told it won’t work. Everything is figure-out-able, if you want it to be. When I come up against a bump in the road that seems like a mountain, I remember that everything is a learning experience and that failure is a teacher. No one succeeds at everything always, sometimes you have to fail over and over again to finally find the right path to success. When you do fail, learn from your it, keep putting yourself out there and keep trying until you get it right.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
See Spot Stay Training & Walking has been in business since 2002 and our motto is Safety first! I’m a safety freak when it comes to pet care. All dogs are walked with a safety lead, all dogs are transported in a crate or on a harness/seatbelt. Since I’m a dog trainer, dog owner, and have worked in dog rescue for years, I’ve pretty much seen it all. We have years of hands on experience with many different breeds and temperaments and treat our clients pets as our own. We love and care for them while their parents are away. I think we have the best job ever! I’m most proud of and excited about helping people with their pets when they need assistance, instruction and confidence in what is the correct way to do something in regards to an issue they are having with their pet. If I can teach someone something that will help keep their pet happy and safe, I’ve had a great day! Recently, I was driving to a training clients house for a session and saw a guy walking a young pit bull puppy down the sidewalk with a choke collar on incorrectly. It was about to slip over the dogs head! The dog was stopped, not wanting to walk, and it’s collar was inching up closer and closer to the top of his head. The collar was way too big, not clipped on correctly to the leash and about to come right off his head, leaving him on the sidewalk with no collar, able to run and possibly get hit by a car. I couldn’t help myself, I rolled down the window and told the owner he had the collar on the dog incorrectly and that it was going to come up and off if either of them pulled in opposite directions. I asked him if he wanted me to stop and show him how to use it correctly, and thankfully he did. I pulled over, jumped out and explained the proper way to use a choke collar. The owner was very appreciative and I was so thankful that he was open to my help! I left knowing that the dog now will no longer be in danger of slipping out of his collar, if I hadn’t stopped I would have thought about that dog and it’s safety forever! Safe Pet=Great Day! I feel my business is where it is today because I’ve stuck it out in hard times and I never stopped learning and growing as a company. It’s not easy to run your own business, but it’s rewarding when you are doing something you love…it’s not really work then is it? Working non stop can be a challenging habit to break. If you have work boundaries that are being crossed you need to re-establish what your policies are to create balance in your work and home life. Many people take their work home with them, but when you work for yourself from home, you have to set times to start and stop and create a work routine that gives you enough hours in the day that you are “off” work. No calls, emails or texts outside of business hours. Working with people and their pets, I’ve learned that every dog is different just like every person is different. As a trainer, you have to figure out the right ‘formula’ that will work for each specific dog and their people. So, with every client I meet it’s a chance to teach them and help them learn something new. A dog trainer needs to be able to think on their feet. To pivot right or left depending on what is working and not working in that moment and be able to adjust the training accordingly. If a client or their dog is not understanding something you are teaching them, you need to be able to help them understand it in a way that works for them. It’s an interesting profession that has you learning every day how best to communicate with people and their pets. I would like people to know that I created my dream business from following my passion of helping dogs. That passion lead me down a path I had never even before consider as a career. If you don’t know what you want to do as a career…do what you love, do what you would do even if you weren’t going to get paid. I was already doing this and was then able to create a way to get paid doing what I loved and that I’m passionate about.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My perfect week showing my BFF around from out of town would involve taking the dogs for a hike at Fryman Canyon and to dog beach in Huntington Beach. Hitting up O’cado in the valley (pet friendly and vegan) for lunch or L.O.V.E (vegan pet friendly) in weho. Out for drinks in the evening at Laurel Hardware or El Compadre and dinner at Toi (vegan friendly). Would for sure have to get vegan dessert at Magpies as their ice creams and pies are amazing. Also, would check out Big Sugar in the valley as they have vegan options and sell cute little gifts. I sell some of my, Light my Fire, candles there and a friend of mine sells her handmade cute, cool, and funky masks (since we are currently in covid times, everyone needs a bad ass mask).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents deserve the credit for the start of my passion for animals. From the time I was born we always had dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and horses in my life. My love, respect, and understanding for all animals and their intelligence grew from there. Steve Morrissey also deserves a shout out for pushing me into dog training (I was working in insurance when I met him). I was saving dogs, rehabbing, and rehoming them and came across a dog I couldn’t figure out, so I called Steve for help. He saw I had created a good set up at my home to work with multiple dogs and urged me to study under him to become a dog trainer. Steve had been training dogs for many years, working with Seeing Eye dogs for the Blind, and I ended up doing an apprenticeship under his instruction. After completion, I quit my day job and started my own business!
Jody Frank Zlatko Keserica