Three Minutes Across the Counter With: Rachel H. of Healthy Hounds

We spent three minutes across the counter with Rachel H., owner of Salem's Healthy Hounds Doggie Daycare & Professional Dog Portraits.

Rachel H. Courtesy: Rachel H.
Rachel H. Courtesy: Rachel H.

You may know that she owns Healthy Hounds Doggie Daycare & Professional Dog Portraits on Washington Street, but did you know she was once a documentary photographer?

Spend three minutes behind the counter with Rachel H.

Patch: How did you get your first start in business?

Rachel: I first got my start in business as a  professional photographer.  After getting a degree in social work, I started working  with a career counselor to help determine a career goals and I became a documentary photographer. This wonderful passion evolved to include shooting children, families, life cycle events, and international magazine stories.

PHow did your parents influence you as a business owner?

R: My parents instilled a hard work ethic in me and my siblings. They stressed the importance of being honest, fair, and of always doing the best job possible. My father always said, and still does, that “the customer is always right” Healthy Hounds is built on the premise of full transparency and of providing quality care in a loving & nurturing environment. We try to provide excellent customer service by going above and beyond for all of our customers.

PHow long have you lived here?

R: I have lived in the Boston area since 1981 and came to the North Shore in July to open Healthy Hounds.

PWhat's your favorite thing about living here?

R: The customers! Our dogs and their parents are awesome! Our owners tend to be very conscientious and extremely loving towards their canine kids. 

PWhat's a business mistake you've made that later you were glad you did?

R: In my photography business, a number of times I over ordered or incorrectly ordered photographs from the lab.  These were given free of charge to the customers, who appreciated  them.

P: Tell us something about yourself that most of your neighbors don't know.

R: What my neighbors don’t know is that I am a bit of an activist and extremely tenacious.  I will stand up for the underdog (no pun intended) whether human or animal. I have a long history of doing dog rescue, and have gone to court on behalf of a dog. While others might walk away, I will always get involved if another person or animal needs help. Always. This is a core instinct that I’ve had since childhood when I first began rescuing strays.

P: What's the best business advice you've ever received?

R: The best business advice I’ve ever received was from another doggie daycare who advised me to be very hands on and not overpriced.

P: What advice would you give to a small business owner just starting out?

R: I would tell a small business owner to follow his or her passion.  LOVE what you do! Expect to work long, hard hours. Be honest. Be fair. Be kind. Be flexible, yet able to set boundaries. Listen to your customers’ needs. Do your very best! Always!

P: What do you look for when you hire?

R: I look for reliable,  hardworking, fearless & flexible workers who at their core love dogs and  ideally, have experience with dogs.   The ability to provide great customer service is also a highly desirable attribute.


Nominate someone from your community for the Patch Park Bench interview. Send suggestions to owen.boss@patch.com.


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