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Exploring Life & Business with Mikayla Cavaness of Fetching Pet Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikayla Cavaness.

Hi Mikayla, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story isn’t what most people expect from me and it isn’t often talked about. I won’t go into detail but parts of my childhood were hard because my family struggled with addiction.

We moved to IL from Fenton when I was in 3rd grade in an attempt to get away and restart after hitting rock bottom. I actually ended up dropping out of high school after 10th grade and when I was around 19, I found out my dad wasn’t my biological dad and my biological father was in prison on and off for much of his adult life until he was murdered last year.

I was actually reluctant to participate in this interview because I knew much of my story included less than positive things but I believe these things also made me incredibly determined. I witnessed my parents overcome so much adversity and create successful lives.

My mom opened a grooming business that I worked in that really solidified my need to work with animals. I went to school in 2013 for dog training and then at the end of 2016, my boyfriend and I moved back in with my parents so I could risk it all and open Unleashed.

I still have messages to my boyfriend when we were 13 telling him that no matter what, someday I was going to be a business owner and I really worked hard to make that happen.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has not been a smooth road.

I actually opened my business at age 22 with $3000 that I borrowed from my mom’s friend in 2017. I rented a building with that money and my whole family helped me get it painted and renovated exactly two weeks before I opened the doors of Unleashed.

It’s been a huge learning curve and I’ve had to learn to wear many different hats. For the first couple of years, I was excited if I got to pay myself a few hundred a months while working 75+ hours a week. In 2020, I found out my building was under foreclosure and immediately fought to get approvals to buy it and renovate it in the middle of the pandemic.

The previous owners did a lot of terrible things to the building so there were a lot of hoops to jump through. Like many of us, it was an incredibly scary year and I thought for sure I was going to lose everything at any minute. Once I bought the building and expanded, that’s also when I rebranded to who we are now – Fetching Pet Company.

As soon as we got through 2020, we’ve had more growth than ever and every obstacle has proven to be worth it and I’m endlessly grateful for that.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Fetching Pet Company?
Fetching Pet Company is a woman-owned and operated dog grooming, training, and daycare business. We are one of the only force-free facilities in the area so that means we specialize in intimidation and force-free methods.

We do not believe in physical punishment and try to create a positive conditioned emotional response to all of our services for every one of our four-legged guests. I’d say the thing that sets us apart is all of our staff members are highly trained and certified in multiple things and we all do extensive monthly training on behavior, handling, and so much more.

I think all of our commitment to continuing to learn, improve, and be our best selves for the dogs in our care is what I’m the proudest of. I’m extremely lucky to have a staff of like-minded individuals who are truly passionate about what they do.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I think being a business owner, in general, is a risk. I quit my job and moved into my parent’s basement to open with only $3,000 of borrowed money to my name. I had absolutely no clue if it was even going to be a success or if I’d get a single client.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I just kept telling myself that even if I failed, even if I hit rock bottom, even if I had to file bankruptcy, even if I lost it all, I was only 22 so I had time to rebuild myself.

I heard something when I was a kid that went something like “if you just dip your toe in to test the water and then get scared to jump in because the water is uncomfortable, then you’ll never feel how great it is to swim.”

Everybody deserves to do what makes them happy even if it is scary so I say take the risk!

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Image Credits

Jennifer Schifano of Animal Behavior College and Alexis Fitzgerald Photography

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