GOTG Profile: Janet Howe Smith
Name: Janet Howe Smith
Tell us a little about yourself.
My company, of almost 15 years, Lucky Buddy Petcare, was started from a seed of love for people and pets and an inheritance from my Grampa so we were able to start our company without a business loan. It was a total leap of faith that’s worked out well. We started out as a modest, little operation and now are thriving with 19 employees and 900 active clients and we keep growing year after year. We consistently win the Sacramento A-List for Pet Sitting. We must be doing something right.
I believe life is good when you point yourself in the right direction and devote your efforts to what you love.
I’ve always has a multitude of jobs while going to school at the same time. I’ve also been fired from most of my jobs which is ironic now that I run my own company and we’re a huge success. I wish people who are struggling with that kind of situation could understand that maybe branching out on their own as an entrepreneur is the path they should take. Worked well for me.
How long have you called Sacramento home?
Moved here in 1972 at age 4 from Washington into low-income housing in South Sacramento. Parents still live there.
How did you get into cycling?
Always a cyclist with a preference towards my unicycle but 6 years ago started riding a road bike seriously with my husband. It was an awakening when we found out after 15 years of marriage we enjoyed this sport together. It was like marriage counseling for us but a lot cheaper. Whoops, now I have 8 different types of bikes for different occasions.
Furthest you have ever cycled?
Just over 100 miles in one day. Took 8 hours but felt amazing and slept like a baby afterwards. Distance rides are highly recommended to ease anxiety.
How long do you have to train for a 300 mile ride?
Just a few months with lengths of the training rides increasing over time. It’s a great challenge and infinitely rewarding.
Why do you participate in the NorCal AIDS Cycle? What does it mean to you?
Initially it was to help people with AIDS/HIV in the memory and honor of my brother in law, Gary, who passed away as a result of this disease before my husband I were married but as we got to know fellow cyclists and crew who participate in NorCal AIDS Cycle who are HIV positive, we included them in our focus of support. We ride for their lives. This ride supports infants, seniors, families and anyone who is affected by AIDS/HIV who gets support from the non-profits that apply for grants from our ride. Our efforts help people a great deal and I feel really good about that.
Pet sitting – Dream job?! How did that happen?
Sometimes you have to do a job that makes you unhappy to open your eyes about what will feed your soul. I used to manage an animal hospital and was crying every day holding animals while they were euthanized. Witnessing people not caring properly for their pets was totally heart breaking and it was eroding my faith in humanity. Decided to take a leap of faith in August 2004 to start a pet sitting company. Year after year we’ve been doing better than the year before with helping more wonderful clients. We love making our clients happy and they love us for how we care for them. It’s a beautiful circle of caring.
Describe a typical day for you?
There is no typical day. Starts with love and ends with love. Everything in between is the glue that holds my life together.
How do you like to unwind in Sacramento?
On my bike, electronics off and having quiet think time. Also a pint at Track 7 or a glass of wine at Revolution Wine is nice. Snuggling with my pets is always a positive solution.
What’s your favorite Sacramento guilty pleasure?
Thrift store treasure hunts, movies at Tower Theater, assisting with participants with NorCal AIDS Cycle in their Mentor Program to get them excited about volunteering their time.
What’s your favorite Sacramento small business?
Capsity-co work space where my office is located. Wonderful community focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed in a supportive atmosphere.
What local woman do you admire and why/how is she an integral part of our community?
Tina Reynolds with Uptown Studios. Her focus and support of local businesses is unsurpassed and she’s dedicated to helping businesses be successful with her aid. She gives her time without hesitation. She’s amazing. Period and end of story.
A little known fun fact about yourself?
I practice eternal acceptance of everything. I always try to say “YES!” Show me what you need and I’ll do my best to give it to you.