“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If I had a dime for every time that I have heard this statement, I think I would never have to work another day for the rest of my life. I do not believe that true passion in a career translates into “never working a day.” I believe it is passion that drives you to work harder than you have ever worked.
However, it is the moments of exuberance that cannot be experienced elsewhere that make every long night and early morning seem like a distant memory. It is the feeling of knowing that what you are doing will make a tangible impact in a person’s (and a pup’s) life in the future. If we can create just one happy moment for every 20-hour workday, then I think that the 20 hours are worth every second.
This is the story of Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. It is an open-ended, unintentionally sparked, roller coaster ride of a story about how I set out on a journey to provide at-risk pups a second chance in life and the amazing people, and furry friends, who have made my dream possible.
The Grounds & Hounds story begins on a foggy, beachside morning in March of 2012, when I came across a dog adoption event in Santa Monica. I was 24, in the process of moving to west Los Angeles, and had no intention to finish my morning with a furry family member. However, that all went flying out of the window when a malnourished, brown and white Dalmatian crawled in my lap and buried her ice-cold nose into my jacket pocket. It was the ultimate sales pitch, and I bought in without hesitation. I still frequently laugh about that morning. I was simply on my way to eat breakfast, yet one dog, eight hours, and $1,000 in pet supplies later, I still never ate breakfast!
Molly the Dalmatian became the first rescue pup and she immediately became my best friend, my travel buddy, and my inspiration to save the millions of at-risk dogs just like her. Molly’s rescue story is in no way unique (though likely more impulsive than most).
Similar stories occur thousands of times each week, but there is still a drastic shortfall of suitable homes for these abandoned dogs. Each year the lives of 2.1 million dogs are cut short due to shelter overcrowding and the lack of financial means. While the shocking statistics are definitely motivating, I found true motivation in the gratefulness that Molly showed for life. I will forever be more motivated by every tail wag and wet kiss that she gives me and the pure enthusiasm I encounter in pups who have found forever homes.
As I began to spend more time working with rescue organizations, I became aware of the staggering costs associated with operating and funding an animal rescue. I also learned that many are fully dependent on unreliable streams of donations and periodic large fundraisers. Sparked by a passion for coffee, animal rescue, and business, I set out to create a company that would one day generate a dependable, ever-increasing stream of animal rescue funding, allowing operators confidently expand their organizations.
I committed to donating 20 percent of all revenue generated by the sale of Grounds & Hounds products. Further, I believe that every purchase should support animal rescue initiatives in the buyer’s community. For this reason, all donations are directed to our rescue partner located closest to the purchase location. I believe that we will never be able to correct the rescue plights at a broad level unless we focus on grassroots improvements.
On March 21, 2014, my dream for Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. became a reality. We began our existence with eight amazing rescue partners, with six types of Fair Trade Organic coffees, and with two fingers crossed.
Four and a half months have now passed since our first day of business. I could not be more floored by the initial embrace by of the animal rescue community, and I am forever grateful to each person who helped spread our message out of kindness and belief in our mission.
As of July 10, our rescue partner network has expanded to 19 incredible groups in 16 states around the United States. We have grown our product offering to include eight types of coffee, apparel, and accessories. Most importantly, we have generated more than $5,000 in donations in our first 100 days of business!
Some of the groups we support with the sales of our coffee are No Kill Los Angeles; Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C.; Born Again Pit Bull Rescue in Oregon; Secondhand Hounds in Minnesota; One Tail at a Time in Chicago; and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in North Carolina.
Coffee is the drink of revolutions. Where coffee has come, change has followed. Whether it is the storming of the Bastille or the planning of the Boston Tea Party, coffee has served as a catalyst. So with a love of coffee, and a love of dogs, it’s time to revolutionize the way we treat our furry friends in need. I hope that you’ll join us on our mission to provide every pup a fair shot in life!
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