Duke's Scoop

Last month I was honored to have my business named by my peers as the chamber of commerce July Business of the Month. This award was a reminder of the huge commitment that a large percentage of our community has to dogs.

After the telephone announcement, I was asked to create a short write-up for the chamber, newspaper and radio station. During the official presentation of ‘The Heart,” I was warmly greeted at the Salida Visitor Center by Linda McMillin (recently recognized as Salida’s guest ambassador on the front page of The Mountain Mail), Lori Roberts (chamber executive director) and Victor Aziz (office manager). This welcome by the staff and members of the Vaqueros was gratifying. After Lori gave an introduction, I was asked to say a few words.

On my way home from the presentation, I kicked myself for not having elaborated more on the key tool to having been productive in the dog community: collaboration. It has only been with the efforts of co-advocates that I could have co-authored and co-founded numerous dog-related clubs, activities and projects in Chaffee County.

A simple definition of the word collaboration is “two or more people working together toward shared goals.” Two or more people (team) working together (processes) toward shared goals (purpose).

Salida Dog Club’s mission (goals/purpose) statement is “to provide safe and recreational activities for dogs and their owners within Chaffee County.” Initially the club’s primary goal was to create a dog park. However, along the way to that goal, the goal was and is, being accomplished numerous times. Dog Daze, dog races, agility practices and therapy dog groups have all evolved as part of the process. Connections were made within the community.

The synergistic dynamics of teamwork, networking and connecting within the community are exemplified by Elise Backinger’s excellent article in this column last week. The article titled “Dogs dining al fresco” described how Chaffee County could be more dog friendly.

Members of Salida Dog Club founded Therapy Dogs of Chaffee County and members of Therapy Dogs of Chaffee County founded HRRMC Therapy Dogs. During a recent monthly meeting of HRRMC Therapy Dogs, a member commented on how strongly she felt about dogs being allowed in restaurant patios and Salida’s city parks.

What happened next illustrates why the combined efforts of a team are greater than the sum of individual efforts.

One of members at the meeting sparked the idea for a goal. Then Elise offered to write a letter to the editor. I offered to have her be a guest author for this column. Elise’s research for the article has created a vision. A couple of members offered to research the restricting codes. This connected us with Wano Urbanos, at Chaffee County Public Health Department, who gave us valuable information and support.

Several members at the meeting have since attended Salida’s master plan meetings as advocates for dogs. I’ve since met with two other Salida Dog Club board members and we’ve brainstormed how Salida Dog Club can show appreciation to restaurant owners who have gone the extra mile to make their restaurant dog friendly.

I appreciate that my peers had the fortitude to recognize my business as one that supports both the community and our canine companions. However, it rightfully humbles me to acknowledge that the dog-related goals I’ve accomplished in this community should be credited to collaborative connections. Thank you, community!

Laura Pintane is a local dog trainer and has been a member of Salida Dog Club since its inception in 2006.