An ill-fated summer hike about 12 years ago, a beloved pet’s injuries, and a single sewing machine eventually led Terri Entler to the enviable place she finds herself now. She’s president and CEO of Healers Pet Care, Inc., a Vancouver, Washington-based pet care company that recently won one of Walmart’s prized Golden Tickets, earning its products a place on the shelves of Walmart stores nationwide.
“More than 10,000 companies applied for golden tickets, and only about 300 were selected,” says Entler. Healers Pet Care products are also in Target stores, and available online with Petco, Chewy, Amazon, Walmart and Kroger. Her product line now includes two types of dog booties, therapeutic and anxiety body wraps and a variety of first-aid products and pet supplements.
Pet Care Company in Vancouver Rises Out of Need
“When my German Shepherd, Jake, badly burned all the pads of his paws in 2010, the only treatment available was cleaning and bandaging his paws twice a day for two months,” says Entler. And of course, he’d need to wear an Elizabethan collar – also known as the Cone of Shame – to keep him from pestering the wounds. Dogs absolutely hate those collars, and their humans aren’t too keen on them either.
Entler tried everything she could think of to protect Jake’s healing wounds – including covering the dog’s paws with socks and gauze, held on by duct tape. But all of her makeshift solutions fell off, got dirty and wet, or stuck to the wounds. Ugh. Fortuitously, Entler is an engineer and she’s had a knack for figuring stuff out since she was a child. So she headed to her basement and got to work on her sewing machine.
“My original booties were pretty crude, but they stayed on Jake’s paws and were breathable and water-resistant,” says Entler. “Even my veterinarian was impressed with my creations, and as I began producing more booties, my vet started loaning out pairs to her patients that had injured paws.” Healers Pet Care was off and running.
Healers Pet Care: Testing and Incremental Growth
Entler’s original booties were tested by veterinarians for a year before she started marketing them in 2011, mostly by word of mouth. As she developed her second type of bootie, called the Urban Walkers, she consulted a shoe designer and also worked extensively with Guide Dogs for the Blind, which has a location in Boring, Oregon.
“They provided essential input during design of our Urban Walkers, testing the booties for design, fit and prevention of injuries,” she says.
Customer feedback also leads to Healers Pet Care’s product innovations and improvements. “After listening to our customers, we’ve updated our Urban Walkers so they’re durable for all terrains and provide improved traction,” says Entler. The company sells their booties in pairs, since dogs’ rear paws tend to be smaller than their front paws, and offer them in orange and teal for their fashion-conscious customers.
When Entler’s tiny business outgrew her basement years ago, she sublet a corner of a warehouse in Vancouver, and later moved to a bigger part of a warehouse. She operated solo for quite a while before eventually hiring a small but dedicated staff, and they’ve managed to keep up with growth and fulfillment until very recently, when the company’s products burst onto the national scene.
Healer’s Pet Care Body Wraps for Pet Anxiety
As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down and many pet parents head back to their offices, stress levels have soared among pets that are suddenly left home alone. Enter Healer’s Pet Care body wraps, which provide gentle body pressure that’s long been known to calm and soothe dogs during separation, fireworks, thunder and vet visits.
“Our body wraps will be the first of our products to appear in Walmart stores, due to their current relevance,” says Entler. The wraps have also gained thumbs-up support from the Oregon Humane Society for easing pets’ post-pandemic adjustment period.
Healers Pet Care in Vancouver Continues to Grow
These days, Entler is racing to move to bigger and better warehouse space, hire additional staff, expand her manufacturing capabilities, and outsource her fulfillment and distribution services. Marketing – suddenly on a national basis – is an ongoing challenge, as well as finding equity partners to invest in her burgeoning company.
“Small business loans have gotten me this far, but keeping up with the cash needed to build and maintain a large inventory is one of my biggest hurdles,” she says. Contact Entler at 800-924-7036 or email@example.com if you’d like to learn more.
Meanwhile, Entler continues to get calls and emails from pet parents across the country, thanking her for helping them help their pets. “This is very rewarding work,” she says.