Mia, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd, is the new face of Woofie’s, a pet sitting, dog walking and mobile pet spa service in northern Virginia. Woofie’s held a casting call in June to find the new face of the company for its marketing materials and mobile pet spa vans as part of its expansion plan into franchising. Mia was selected from nearly 200 dogs that participated.
“Having a Woofie’s casting call was a fun way to engage with the community, meet lots of adorable dogs, raise money for a wonderful charity and find our new brand representative,” Woofie’s co-owner Leslie Barron said. “Mia is the happiest girl with the biggest smile and loves everyone she meets! Woofie’s is so excited and honored to have Mia represent our company!”
Mia is the beloved pet of Shelby and Colin Whittington, who rescued Mia after her first owner surrendered her back to the rescue group. As the Ashburn, Virginia, couple are huge soccer fans, they chose to name her after Mia Hamm. When Shelby, a Loudoun County school teacher, and Colin, a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy, first brought Mia home, she was a fearful and shy, 9-mont- old pup. Now she has overcome her insecurities and loves running, attending her weekly agility classes, and carrying around her favorite toys for hours on end.
At the Casting Call event where Mia was discovered, award-winning pet photographer Ellen Zangla took pictures of each dog to capture their personalities. The charity event raised $5,000 for Operation Smile, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the organization. Mia stood out for her beautiful coloring, affectionate personality and cuddly spirit.
Woofie’s was founded in 2004 as a dog walking service by neighbors Leslie Barron and Amy Reed, after both struggled to find quality pet care. On their first day on the job, they walked one dog for $10; but with hard work, they were walking dogs 365 days a year. As their business matured, Barron and Reed continued to look at opportunities to grow the business. When clients began asking about mobile dog grooming, they researched the market and developed a business model. In 2011, with a bootstrap investment, they purchased their first mobile pet spa van. Both sides of the business fed into the other, which is unique in this field. Today, Woofie’s has 13 groomers, seven vans, 15 back office administrative employees, and 75+ dog walkers and pet sitters. Soon it will offer franchising opportunities to other entrepreneurs who are passionate.
(Photo by Stephanie Honikel)