We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Gallagher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For about a decade I was the assistant to one of the seven media moguls in the world. When my boss died I adopted his older German Shepherd. A few weeks later a groomer ruptured a disc in her back leaving her paralyzed. Every veterinarian that I took her to told me to euthanize her as there was no hope for her to recover. After weeks of searching for a specialist to help me, and trying every modality I could think of, I started swimming with her. Within a month she was walking again. I was so astonished that in a city the size of LA that there was no one doing physical therapy for animals. As I had always wanted to be a veterinarian and was currently out of work I decided to go back to school to see if I could learn how to do PT on animals at the age of 35. I figured that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain if I could learn how to help other animals like I had done with my shepherd. Worst case scenario I could go back to the billionaire world where I had come from. So I enrolled in vet tech school, then human massage school, then canine massage school and finally animal rehab school. I also started volunteering in the office of a veterinary surgeon to learn hands on what kind of cases I would be treating. As soon as I opened for business my phone was ringing off the hook with dog after dog needing PT. It was a dream come true!
What should our readers know about your business?
Having worked alongside one of the wealthiest (and admittedly difficult) people in the world I had no fear of failure. I knew I could do anything I wanted and that I could make it work regardless of whatever obstacles were thrown in my path. I think most entrepreneurs would say that starting a business is a huge struggle. There are always glitches and in my case people who wanted to put a stop to my success. When competition came to town I was so excited to have colleagues to collaborate with and they let me know instantly that “their whole goal in business was to shut me down”. After getting past the astonishment and sadness that I wasn’t going to have the relationship that I had hoped for, I decided just to be better. Being mired in hate and jealousy at someone else’s success and trying to ruin them is such a waste of time. I rose above the ugliness and dedicated myself to being the best in the business at every level. Years later we were asked to join the advisory council of the premier animal rehabilitation veterinary forums in the world, one of only a handful of companies worldwide that were invited to sit on their board. My success is based not only in hiring some of the best people in the world in animal rehabilitation but also in always working to do our best for every animal that walks through our door. I have no time or energy for the haters out there. Focus on being the best and you will be!!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Having grown up in the country, I’m a big nature girl and never feel that I have enough time in the great outdoors. I would definitely start out in the morning (early!!!) with a great cup of Peets coffee and either a walk or a run on the beach at Zuma. It’s pretty dog friendly and I have a houseful of disabled dogs that would love a good walk on the beach. My Goldendoodle suffered a stroke and uses a wheelchair so racing on the beach in her wheels chasing seagulls is pretty close to heaven. I would probably drop off the disabled dogs and take the able bodied ones for a hike in Griffith Park as well either at sunrise or sunset when it is so gorgeous out. One of my favorite restaurants is the Ivy at the Shore or the Ivy on Robertson for the super fun outdoor dining and the people watching. It never hurts that they give you a free glass of champagne as you walk in the door which always feels like such a special treat. If they have never been to LA before I might take them to Spago which was my boss’s favorite restaurant as the food is insane (along with the prices!). Nic’s in West Hollywood or Gracias Madre are my two favorite vegan restaurants and both have beautiful outdoor patios with amazingly good food and again fun people watching. I am a huge art lover and could spend an entire week exploring the Getty and LACMA, but I also love MOMA downtown. Now in times of Covid we’ve been getting delicious Persian takeout at Shamshiri and super delicious Indian food at Maharajah in Westwood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband is the one who encouraged me every step of the way. He was so supportive of my dream and was right beside me for every little crisis or obstacle I encountered. I really struggled with the math and science in tech school and he never failed to sit with me and try to explain what I couldn’t understand! And when the business opened he cleared out our garage, built a pool in the backyard, set up a land treadmill and created a whole bunch of exercise tools for dogs. He then started fitting dogs for wheelchairs, splints and prosthetics as he came from an engineering background. It was so amazing to have someone right there supporting me on a daily basis and jumping in to help whenever I needed it. He had so much fun with it that he started teaching dogs to swim and to this date he does the job of about five people in our company. I could never have built this business without him.
Leslie Gallagher, Bryan McMahon