It's Your Business: Happy Pawz out to improve 'animal wellness'

It's Your Business: Happy Pawz out to improve 'animal wellness'

Penny Watkins-Zdrojewski is a little like a "Supernanny" for animals.

"Supernanny," of course, was the ABC reality show in which professional nanny Jo Frost came into families' homes and helped parents with child-rearing issues.

Watkins-Zdrojewski, who lives in Champaign, isn't quite as dramatic. But she works with people to help resolve behavioral issues with their pets and improve the animals' physical condition.

She works with animals that suffer from severe anxiety and those with intense fear of storms or going to the veterinarian.

The focus of her business — Happy Pawz Balancing TTouch for Animals — is "animal wellness," she said.

Watkins-Zdrojewski formerly worked in multimedia at the University of Illinois. But after working with dogs that had been rescued, she decided to change career paths.

Last year, she was certified as a Tellington TTouch practitioner for animal companions. To become certified, she had to take six weeklong courses from Tellington TTouch Training, a holistic animal health care organization based in Santa Fe, N.M.

Watkins-Zdrojewski said she has long had an interest in alternative wellness practices for humans.

"If alternatives work well for humans, they should also work well for animals," she said.

Watkins-Zdrojewski said she uses physical touch and movement exercises that help retrain the animal's brain and body to work together.

What she does is not massage or physical therapy, nor does it involve chiropractic techniques or acupuncture.

"Everything is geared to re-education through the central nervous system," she said. "It's about bringing about body awareness. I believe the mind has the ability to help the body heal on its own."

Watkins-Zdrojewski said what she does is intended as a complement to traditional veterinary care.

As for behavioral issues, she said, her goal is not to teach a dog how to sit and stay, but how to teach the dog to be confident and comfortable with sitting and staying.

She said she has worked with dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.

"There are times when I can't do a lot," she said. "But I haven't ever had a situation where I couldn't do anything."

Watkins-Zdrojewski said two of the most striking examples of behavior change came with "reactive" animals.

One was a cocker spaniel that was undersocialized. It would bark and back up when anyone approached, even though its tail was wagging. But it wouldn't allow anyone to touch it. The other was a rabbit that bolted and fought when being removed from its kennel.

In dealing with animals' physical problems, Watkins-Zdrojewski said, she most enjoys working with animals that are arthritic or have geriatric or mobility issues. She said she typically charges an $85 fee for initial consultation and a first session combined, and an hourly rate after that. The initial fee can be less for animals that don't need as much attention, she said.

The animals are visited in their own homes. Some need only one session and others require more, she said.

The phone number for Happy Pawz is 621-8975, and the firm's website is http://www.fourhappypawz.com.

Screen-printing in Monticello

B.A.R. Screenprinting in Monticello is offering screen-printing services to the general public.

Owner Lori Morse decided to offer the services after Monticello lost another business that did screen-printing, said Nancy McCleary, Morse's aunt who is the firm's sales manager.

The business at 1052 S. Market St. has T-shirts, sweatshirts, spirit towels, string backpacks, boots, bags and scarves.

Morse already was selling a line of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and other items for grandmothers. The so-called "Hagwear" items are sold at her shop in Monticello, online at shop.hagwear.com and at festivals.

The B.A.R. acronym has family significance. McCleary's parents, Bud and Audrey Robey, did woodworking, quilting and craft-making when they retired, and they habitually signed their items "B.A.R."

The business can be reached at 454-4574.

Tire center gets new owners

The Chaparral Tire Center in Champaign is under new ownership.

Ricardo Garcia said he and his father, Julian, who have worked at the tire center, recently bought the business from former owner Wilson Suarez.

The business, at 924 W. Bradley Ave., sells used tires and offers oil changes and brake pad installations.

It's located north of the Blue Star 2 convenience store at 918 W. Bradley Ave., Garcia said.

Chaparral Tire Center's phone number is 607-1998.

Guide to area growers available

Looking for local growers of fruits, vegetables and herbs?

The Illinois Specialty Growers Association and Illinois Farm Bureau recently published a directory of direct-from-the-farm sellers, farmers' markets and agritourism businesses.

The directory — available online at http://www.specialtygrowers.org/prairie-bounty.html — lists more than 900 growers in Illinois.

There, you'll find information on area farmers' markets in Urbana, Champaign, Rantoul, Mahomet, Monticello, Paxton, Gibson City, Danville, Clinton, Downs, Paris, Watseka, Mattoon and Charleston.

You'll also get information on 11 agritourism facilities in East Central Illinois, including:

Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch, Champaign.

Hardy's Reindeer Ranch, Rantoul.

Dunbar Bucktown Tree Farm, Oakwood.

Layden Farm, Hoopeston.

Mills Farm, Indianola.

Country Delights Farm, Bismarck.

Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount.

Prairie Hope, Farmer City.

Crist Orchards, Atwood.

Pumpkin Works, Paris.

Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Patch, Kansas.

Plus, there's a wealth of information on specialty growers in East Central Illinois, including 45 who specialize in fruit and nuts, 21 who grow herbs, 64 who produce vegetables and 48 who deal in other specialty products.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email at dodson@news-gazette.com; or by mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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