Meet Me and My Solo Dog: Sagan

SaganStandingUp

Sagan at 3 yrs old

This was my dog, Sagan, named after Carl.

She was a gorgeous and powerful Boxer Pitbull mix. She had many, many wonderful qualities, but unfortunately as she matured she became very dog-selective. She could make doggie friends, but only after a very lengthy and careful introduction process that typically took weeks or even months. Walking her anywhere that off-leash dogs were even a remote possibility was extremely stressful for me, including my own neighborhood in Ravenna.

I hired the best dog trainers I could find, and we spent countless hours working together. While Sagan developed a great auto-watch, I was never comfortable with what her reaction might be if an off-leash dog rushed up to her. The yell of a stranger: “Don’t worry he’s friendly!” as their dog bounds towards you became the bane of my existence.

I understand how difficult and restrictive life becomes as a dog-reactive dog owner. One of the most difficult aspects, is finding a safe and secure option for caring for your dog when you are traveling. I also know, unfortunately, that if  you select the wrong person or business to care for your “special needs” dog, the results can be devastating and life-changing.

Not every dog sitter or boarding business has experience dealing with dogs who must not be allowed, under any circumstances, to come into contact with an unknown dog. My experience keeping my dog Sagan safe and happy for 15 years has left me uniquely qualified to board other “special needs” dogs in, what truly is a home that was made for Sagan.

Now that you’ve met Sagan, here’s a little bit about who I am.

Sagan and Jill

Sagan and Jill

I’m Jill Olkoski, the owner of Solo Dogs. I’ve got a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. I worked for a large corporation for nearly 20 years, focused on design, development, and quality (continuous process improvement). My education and professional experience mean I’m the type of person who is always observing, gathering data, and making improvements to products or the environment. I literally reconfigure my household to accommodate the needs of each individual dog guest. And, I enjoy it!

After relocating to Seattle and leaving corporate life, I started a web design business in 2006, which allowed me to work from home. I still have this business, which is why people like boarding their dogs with me – I don’t leave the house to go to work. When I have a dog guest, I’m generally only gone for 1-2 hours.

Many of my dog boarding clients are past and current clients of Ahimsa Dog Training* in Seattle, WA. This is because I have been part of the Ahimsa Dog Training team for over a decade and Ahimsa has a very robust “Growly Dog” program and Ahimsa’s founder, came to specialize in fearful, frustrated and aggressive dogs:

Sagan on the cover of the Ahimsa Manual and the BAT Book.

My dog, Sagan, on the cover of the Ahimsa Dog Training Manual and the BAT Book. Love those ears!

I started Solo Dogs in 2016 because the Growly Dog Class Trainers at Ahimsa saw a need for safe environment for their clients to board their dog-reactive dogs and fearful dogs while they were away from home. They knew that I had 15 years experience owning and managing a dog-reactive dog, and my house and yard had been specifically modified to keep a dog-reactive dog safe. My home also had accommodations for geriatric canines with mobility (orthopedic/neurological) and incontinence issues.

*If you have a reactive or fearful dog but have not been a client of Ahimsa’s, contact me and let’s see if my services are a good match for you and your dog. If you have been referred to me by a local area veterinarian, I look forward to talking to you about your dog’s medical issues and how Solo Dogs can provide a safe and healing place to stay.

I look forward to learning about you, your dog, and your specific boarding needs.