In October 2008, Ellen was one of many to be laid off at her company. She decided that she wanted pursue something that she would enjoy and incorporate that with her love for animals. Ellen researched online and determined that incorporating dogs into a business would be a natural fit for her.
Ellen got her first dog, Trace, knowing that she would train him to become a mold and bed bug detection dog. On the bed bug detection front, she and Trace have a contract with Orkin and she earns a base salary as well as separate referrals. On the mold detection front, Ellen gets her own cases through personal ads and word of mouth. She and Trace only provide mold detection services on the weekends because Trace needs frequent breaks. Trace can only work 4 hours at a time with a minimum 5-hour break, so Ellen has to teach her second dog, Mason, to detect mold.
Ellen found Mason at a local shelter and he was due to be euthanized in the next couple of hours. Both of the dogs come from shelters, so she feels good about taking “society’s throw-away dogs” and giving them a job to perform. She says it is important to have two dogs to work interchangeably so they can have breaks in between. Both Trace and Mason are a big part of Ellen’s family, and have the love and attention of four teenagers.
This loan from Accion USA will enable Ellen to have her second dog trained for detection services. This will help Ellen expand her business by being able to use both dogs for mold detection.