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