Monday, July 9, 2012

Jennifer Shyrock of Family Paws™ Parent Education

Family Paws

Dogs and StorksDog and Baby Connection 

If you are expecting or have a new baby in the house, which is also occupied by dogs, then you need to make sure both baby and dog(s) are ready for the new addition and environment change.   Before welcoming our two daughters in 2010 and 2011, my husband and I read as many parenting books as we could get our hands on and digest.  There was always a section in the book about acclimating your pets, especially dogs, to the baby.  Helpful hints including bringing a blanket which has the baby's scent on it, home a few days prior to the baby coming home with you.  This would help dogs get used to this new smell.  Also, if you have dogs that like to jump up on you, then they suggested you crate them, or slowing introduce them to baby, making sure to keep baby up high, so they couldn't jump up and harm them.  We found these tips helpful, but also wished that they offered more support once the baby was home. 

When we brought both girls home, our oldest dog, Manny, was still with us.  He was a rescue dog, and was always aggressive towards those he didn't know.  First, he would begin by growling, and then would try and snap at your, if you got close to him.  He was 20 years old when Savannah came home, and we couldn't see crating him, as it would only make his aggressive behavior worse.  Also, his age was beginning to show and he began having incontinence issues.  As such, we turned our lower living space into the dogs' room, for our three dogs to eat, sleep and play.  This helped keep the dogs away, but when it came time to socializing them with the babies, we didn't know where to start.  Should we bring them upstairs with us, or bring the girls down to their area?  Thanks to this week's Spotlight Mom, Jennifer Shryock B.A. CDBC, creator of Family Paws LLC. Through her two national programs, Dogs & Storks® and the Dog & Baby Connection™, she help families with dogs nurture safe, happy relationships among all family members, human and canine.  Here is a sample of the resources Jennifer provides families, through her site -- Common questions & practical answers about dog-and-baby safety.

Click here to learn more about her two great programs.  If you want to make welcoming baby as smooth as can be with your dog(s), then you would benefit greatly from Jennifer's programs.  We have!

Please enjoy my Spotlight on Mommy interview with Jennifer below.

Name: Jennifer Shryock
Company Name/Product/Service: Family Paws™ Parent Education
Company Location: International office Cary, NC
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @dogsandstorks
Age of Company: 10 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:
*Abundance flows into my life in surprising and miraculous ways every day.”  Cheryl Richardson
“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. “ Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson
Favorite book:  So many, but currently “Wishes Fulfilled” by Wayne Dyer 
Dog book:  Any Patricia McConnell book "the other end of the leash"

 Jennifer Shryock

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
My husband and I have four beautiful and healthy wonderful children.  16, 14, 11 and 2 ½.  Our family has fostered over 70 dogs and has been involved in rescue for many years.  We currently have 4 dogs. 2 German shepherds, 1 pit bull and a Siberian husky.  We also have 3 cats.  All but one of our current dogs are rescued.  
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 

I have a degree in Special Education, but knew I wanted to be at home with my children.  I was involved in rescue and saw so many families in need.  Many people had fear or concerns about their dogs and a new baby or conflicts with their toddler.  I had been a nursing mom counselor and enjoying supporting new moms on any level.  I saw a need for more education about dogs in homes with new and expecting families.  I combined my love and experience with dogs, supporting families and knowledge of child development all into one niche in the dog field.   In 2002, we began to offer Dogs & Storks in Cary, NC.  In 2005 we began to license the program to other trainers in various locations.  Now in 2012 we have 2 program:  Dogs & Storks and the Dog and Baby Connection in over 120 locations internationally!
What is a typical work day like? 

Depends on the day.  I have a wonderful woman who watches my 2 ½ year old daughter for 15 hours a week. Those days I spend working on marketing, networking and program development.  I often see clients or teach on weekends.  My days are LONG and full.  I try to make evening times family time but need to do better with that.  When you are self employed you grab moments where you can…often though not enough for yourself. I am getting better!
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

Time!  Pacing myself and the learning the ins and outs of licensing a program with others.  I have learned tons about trademarks etc.
What did you do in your past work life?  

I was heavily involved in many environments working with adults and children with special needs.  Group homes, I ran residential camp/respite, classrooms, homeless shelters etc.  I enjoyed it all!

What have been some of your major successes? 

My four beautiful children are my major successes!  I guess in business though…it is getting word out to other areas and learning I love the marketing challenge.  I am visually impaired and unable to drive.  Creating a program that can reach so many internationally from my home is a gift!  A huge success was being on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in June 2008!
What have been some of your major challenges? 

Learning that once your create a build a market..others will jump in and create something similar. I try to embrace it and re evaluate our program to see what we can do to stay unique and different.  Competition is a compliment and motivation.  Accept, embrace it and challenge yourself to the next level!   The next level is always amazing!
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

Actually on those impossible days….sometimes I just need to go for a walk with my dog or take time for ME.  I also may read some of the positive feedback from clients and presenters of our program about success.  Impossible days mean you are on the verge of change and growth….self evaluation and reflection is needed.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?   

Still learning!  Any tips???? LOL

What is next for your business? 

I have begun mentoring other dog professionals to become involved in our program.  We are now expanding internationally.  Hong Kong, Austria and more!   I am not sure what else is in store or ahead but I remain open to all the opportunities and success that is coming my way.  I know with every community we reach we are increasing safety and fun in the lives of families with dogs.  Next ….is exciting but not clear…I am open.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

YES…dream big and be patient!  I hated that things took time.  I have always said stay consistent and persistent.  Follow your passion and believe in it.  You must love what you build!    There is more success and more opportunity out there than you can dream of…just start and dream and allow it to happen.  You must first image it to achieve it.  Start imagining!

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