A Notable Blip on the Journey


This picture marks a very special time in SCRUF history.

Kelly is our first candidate. We’re saying adulty stuff like “I need to run payroll.” We’re learning how to integrate a 4th person into our business (i.e. group marriage) after being 3 for so long. Kelly is the person I spend the most time with in a week at this point.

I got a 2nd dog, Beedee. He’s really a dream come true and a very special adoption. He is the product of years of doing great dog work in the East Bay, and connecting with other amazing dog people, who I can’t appreciate enough. He came with some rear-end awareness, what more could I hope for?

This living room is in a major transition. The Feed This Inc. boxes in the background, because yeah there’s a lot of raw meat in this house, and because soon everything will be cleared out to make room for a beautiful future. Lots of hard work, support, strength and resolve from all corners of my life went into this transition. The level to which I have felt loved and supported over the past couple months is immeasurable. It has only (re-re-re-)confirmed my desire to Be in Oakland. Everyone’s kind gestures, checking in, listening to my venting, helping me strategize options and understand what is even happening, and telling me to stay… I am in awe of my own life and the people in it and I appreciate all of you very, very much.

Also we voted to invest in group snacks and markers for our meetings, pictured. Thanks Kelly for coming through.

– Esra

A Few Safety Tips

1. Sago Palm trees are highly toxic to dogs. Sadly of our friend Dublin retrieved her ball from one of these plants and had to go to the ER with liver problems. She recovered but it was very scary!

Check your home for Sago Palms and get rid of em!

2. Foxtail season is in full swing, and a foxtail in the nose is an expensive procedure. All for sniffing some grass. We highly recommend using a foxtail mask such as the one made by Outfox.


3. When you’re picking up poop, are your dogs running around behind your back? Why not use that as an opportunity to practice holding sits and downs? Great way to practice obedience and add in some distance, distraction, and duration! And safety on top of it all is always a good thing.


Love you guys, be safe.

SCRUF loves fanny packs

Every time I step out the door to walk my dogs, I’ve got a lot to consider when it comes to gear. Is it hot enough to take off my windbreaker? Should I wear my regular hat or my sun hat? Do I need to put on a warmer jacket? Do I need to put on a rain jacket? Will normal shoes work, or do I need my hiking boots on? Heavy work pants, or shorts for jogging? Amidst the winds that whip and howl through this garden of decision there is one constant, one tree with its roots plunged so deep in the soil of “walking dogs” that, were I ever to go out without it, I’d feel its absence like I would a missing sock, or perhaps a tooth. Ever since I started wearing it, I’ve had it on every single one of my walks. It helps me to stay organized, frees up my hands, and makes it easier to pay more attention to my dogs while we’re out.

Any guesses yet? (it IS in the title of the post 😉 )

That’s right. I am, of course, talking about…

My fanny pack! This particular one was gifted to me by a friend, and once I snapped it on I never looked back.

Not walking with a fanny pack yet? Let me talk it up a bit! Mine has:

  • A round pocket on either side: Perfect for water bottles, suncscreen, and yummy treats.
  • A small zipper pocket right along the band: In here I keep small necessities like extra tags or rubber bands.
  • A zip up mesh pouch in the front: Safe and secure! A nice spot for keys and poo bags (two rolls – nobody likes getting snuck up on by an empty roll in the middle of a walk!)
  • A large, zippered pouch behind the mesh pouch: A foster home for bagged up poos. It’s spacious and, when zipped up, doesn’t let the smell out. Perfect for transporting poos to their forever home in the trash, and approximately four thousand six hundred and ninety three times better than carrying the bag by hand.

With all this, I am able to not only keep my hands free of poo bags, but also to make sure that everything else I need is in one convenient spot.
If you find one you like, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap it up and snap it ON – you just might love it.

SCRUF Loves Biothane Leashes

You’d like a bit more control of your dog off-leash.

He does pretty well, but once in a while…

Or your dog is terrible/terrifying off-leash.

But you feel bad restricting his life so much.

So, why not use a biothane leash?

It’s a long(er) leash. But not the kind that sits as a stinky wet knotted mess on the floor of your car.

It’s kind of rubbery. It cleans easily. It doesn’t stink or rot. It only gets tangled about 2% of the time compared to a normal nylon leash.

And it’s WAY safer than a flexi!

SCRUF uses them alllll the time!

A 20′ long leash is great for teaching better off-leash skills, and giving your dog a bit more freedom.

Having your dog drag a 6′ biothane leash is great for quick leash-ups and last-second control. Using a drag line is one of the safest ways to hike.

*And* you don’t have the carry the leash!

We also use 10′ biothane leashes for dogs who are too wild for a full 20′ but do well with some extra sniffing and grass-rolling privileges.

You can pick up one of these cool biothane leashes, custom colors and sizes, at www.palominelines.com

We recommend the 3’8″ width for any size dog.

Any color will do. 🙂

Our First Birthday!!

SCRUF is so excited to be celebrating our one-year anniversary in business! We started taking clients as a co-op in June 2016, and we’ve come a long way, baby! In the short time we’ve been in business, we have learned so much.


Our first paychecks!!

With this business, one of our goals is to create an accessible educational environment that supports worker-owners in providing excellent pet care. This blog post is a recap of how we’ve put that mission into action since we’ve been a unit.

In 2015 our education goals mostly focused on starting up the business, with basic negotiating/problem-solving around how money flows and some hashing out of how we’ll run the cooperative aspect of SCRUF (our “governance”). We graduated from the Sunstainable Economies Law Center’s Worker Cooperative Academy and in early 2016 did follow-on business and legal coaching with East Bay Community Law Center and Project Equity (with Rainbow Grocery’s support – Thank You Rainbow!)

In addition to business and legal knowledge, we also were able to refocus on the pet care aspect of our education goals.

  • All SCRUF members attended a Pet First AID/CPR class with PetTech. (thanks Bev!)
  • We all attended the Marin Pet Care Association’s Trail Manners Class.

This class (or DogTec) is required to hike dogs in Marin or San Francisco Counties. Interestingly, the East Bay Regional Park District does not have a similar requirement. Not all SCRUF members hike dogs on the trails, but we all love to learn more about our field, and appreciate Trish King’s perspective.

  • Esra attended a 2-day seminar by Tyler Muto, a balanced dog trainer out of Buffalo, NY who is also the new President of the International Association of Canine Professionals.
  • Esra and Pepa also attended Level 1 of the Canine Circus School, where they learned how to go around a cone, take a bow, etc…
  • Corbin attended DogTec, where they learned about both the pet care and business aspects of our field in a fascinating 3-day seminar.
  • We all learned more about our specific business type when we attended portions of the Prosperous Pet Business annual webinar.

Esra y Pepa at Canine Circus School

Through networking with other local pet care professionals, we learned about some great new tools that have been incorporated into our own repertoire. We’re planning to do future blog posts dedicated to these products, so stay tuned!

We finally found a tax preparer who is brave enough to work with us on our financial obligations to the war machine. Jim Marriner of Dimond Tax Services was willing to meet with us multiple times and thoughtfully answered so many of our questions. We’re almost tax experts now ourselves!

Esra shadowed a few fellow pack-walkers on their group hikes, and learned a lot from their diversity of ideas and approaches. (Thank you fellow East Bay Dog Pros!!)

Esra also got the opportunity to shadow training sessions with client dogs: Zawadi with Trish King, and Stormy and Odin (among others) with Lonely Hunters Dog Training. (If you need help with your dog, we definitely recommend a call to Eleanor! After all, she helped Pepa get her Canine Good Citizen!)

All in all, it was a great first year and we look forward to many more!

Happy birthday to SCRUF! And maaany moooorrre….

Playing Pokemon GO? “STOP” bringing your dog!

          I’d like to get to the point of this post right away – going out to play Pokemon GO is not a good time to take the dog on a walk! Aside from emergency situations, I generally don’t find it an acceptable practice to be using your phone for anything more than checking the time or snapping a quick photo while you’re out with your dog, and even then with discretion. With the rise of Pokemon GO as one of the biggest mobile apps of all time, I see more and more people rocking the unfortunate phone+dog combo outside. Today’s smartphones are normally pretty good at demanding our attention, but Pokemon GO takes it a few steps beyond scrolling through articles or responding to text messages – which is the point! It’s a game! It’s supposed to be attention grabbing. When you’re out on a walk with your dog, however, your attention should be with them. You know the world better than they do, and should be doing your part to keep them out of trouble.


Pictured left: An acceptable way to walk your dog. Pictured right: An acceptable way to play Pokemon GO.

Here’s a small list of things I have seen dogs doing at Pokemon GO meetups while their people are busy catching Pokemon:

  • Barking at other dogs/people

  • Jumping on other dogs/people

  • Trying to fight other dogs/people

  • Eating poop/discarded food/dead animal

  • Digging in gopher holes

  • Peeing where they shouldn’t pee

  • Pooping (notable because their person doesn’t notice, and then leaves it there)

  • Constantly straining and catching the end of the leash


Not a good way to walk your dog or play Pokemon GO.


All of which could be avoided by just leaving the dog at home! And if your dog hasn’t gone out and you’ve only got time for either taking them out or playing Pokemon, then walk your dog. While under your care, their actions and well-being are both your responsibility. Games can always wait.

Diego Gallegos, SCRUFmate and level 25 Pokemon GO Trainer

photo credit to JBE Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbe_photography