Young People In Business: Shanika makes her love for dogs her business
Red Dog's Shanika Thompson loves her work with dogs
Shanika Thompson has a passion for dogs and loves her job immensely.
If anyone speaks the language of dogs, she is one such person.
Head of 'Red Dog', warm and enthusiastic, from one look at Shanika in action anyone can see that she truly is in love with her job. Her business specializes in dog training, care and walking services.
Shanika is dedicated to making sure that the canine companions she works with are truly cared for and that their owners are educated about everything they need to know to truly show love to their pets through their words and actions. After all, for Shanika pets are part of the family.
Though this is Red Dog's first year of operation, speaking with Loop Business, Shanika shared her experience to date and offered some small insight into what motivated her to make this business a reality.
Loop: What do you love the most about your work?
Shanika: I love the interaction with the dogs and people. I enjoy bringing joy into people's lives and creating harmony.
Loop: Where does your love of animals come from?
Shanika: My love of animals came from a child. My father kept a multitude of various animals in our yard - ducks, chickens, cats, rabbits, birds, fish and even a land turtle I named Rock. I tripped over him in Eden lodge Park. I thought he was a rock.
Loop: In this non-traditional career, is being one of the few young, black women in this business empowering for you?
Shanika: It is not as rare as people believe. Internationally they are many dog trainers who are women. However, in Barbados it is not a well-known thing. It is a mostly male-dominated role and if I am correct, I am one of the very few females, black women in the millennial generation that is in this field.
Loop: Did COVID-19 affect your business?
Shanika: COVID-19 has affected the business but I persevered. It took a lot of projecting my voice to adhere to the social distancing [during training classes], which literally made me very hoarse. And also it affected the personal touch I like to add to my classes.
Loop: What is the most popular breed of dog you come across in your job?
Shanika: So far the most popular breed is the Akita. Akita's are known to bite and are quite temperamental. Also, I have encountered a few very high energy and stubborn dogs like terrier mixes and bullmastiff mixes.
Loop: How do you grow your clientele?
Shanika: I handle the marketing and administration of the business. My approach is very chill and relatable. Thus far, people message me often on my social media pages. For this generation, social media has opened up many means of direct communication.
Loop: What do you hope to do in the landscape of dog training in the next few years?
Shanika: I'm not one to share my business projections. However, My plans are borderline delusions of grandeur if you aren't receptive to 'thinking big'. I am looking to change the scope of dog and human interaction through knowledge. Will also be branching into a show, behavioral, and IPO training.
*What is IPO training or Protection training?
IPO stands for Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung. IPO is a three part sport which includes Tracking, Obedience and Protection phases.
So, it's no surprise that a persona so big is thinking even bigger. Thanks for chatting with Loop Business, Shanika!
Let's hope that she can continue to brighten the lives of pet owners across the island and the globe with her effervescent presence.