Amber had trouble finding her footing after graduating high school in 2007, but eventually found success running her own company, Pooch & Puddy, making bow ties for pets from her home in Ottawa. But in late 2013, Amber was diagnosed with PTSD, and she closed the business in early 2014, earning a profit.
She was encouraged to train her dog Peach to be a service animal, and so she did. Peach learned how to interrupt Amber’s self-injurious behaviour, alert to panic attacks and anxiety, and lead Amber to exits. Amber says Peach gave her life back.
But when Amber’s long-term relationship ended and her service dog abruptly had to retire, Amber was left feeling hopeless, and she needed to do something to once again find meaning in her life.
Amber had noticed a lack of innovative service products on the market for service dogs, and that’s when Multiway Service Dog Equipment was born. She first introduced versatile, made-to-order leashes for service dog handlers, and has since branched out into vests, capes, badges and other accessories with custom embroidery work.
With three separate small loans from Rise for both start-up and expansion, Amber has grown her business to the edge of what she can sustain on her own while simultaneously managing her disability. Despite the stress involved in growing her business, she is constantly improving her products and is proud of her creations and how they help others with disabilities. She even now provides her products to three small service dog training programs in Ontario, and equipment for independently trained teams across North America, Germany, Belgium, and the UK.
Currently, Amber is focused on reducing the wait times for her products to one month (down from seven weeks), and maintaining that commitment for her clients.
“It has been challenging to keep up with the sheer volume (and size) of the orders I receive but I will continue to persevere until my wait times are lower. I love seeing my items “out in the wild” on Instagram. I have Rise to thank for making this business a reality.” – Amber