The inspiration struck in early 2011, as surf and skate enthusiast David Hendrickson was paddling around on his longboard with his dog, William, adopted three years earlier from an animal shelter in Orange County, Calif. During the adoption process, Hendrickson was told the pup--whose mother was poisoned by cleaning supplies while pregnant--had only a month to live.
William survived, but at a cost: Hendrickson ended up dropping out of college to work three jobs in order to pay $20,000 in veterinary bills. It was during this rough patch that he had his on-board epiphany. "I was just holding [William] out in the water, and I realized I wanted to take my passion for art and design, longboarding and helping animals and combine them," he says.
Hendrickson went home, sold his iPhone on Craigslist for $250, bought a used silk-screening machine and started printing the T-shirts that would later become a key component of his company, Hendrick Boards.
With William--who's doing fine now--as the brand's floppy-eared mascot, Hendrickson started his eco-friendly skateboard and apparel business in June 2011 with a mission to help rescue animals. Hendrick Boards donates as much as 40 percent of its revenue to some 200 animal shelters, rescues and sanctuaries--a generous amount considering that 2012 revenue hit $350,000 and sales are growing between 40 and 50 percent every month.
Hendrickson notes that proceeds from the sale of a single T-shirt will house and feed a shelter animal for a month. Each donation is sent to the organization located nearest the purchaser, in order to make a palpable difference in his or her own community.
Hendrick Boards crafts skateboards from sustainable bamboo and maple, stained with coffee grounds and handmade dyes (shortboards sell for $49.99; longboards for $99.99). Apparel is priced at $24.99 and up (the top seller is the "Keep calm and rescue on" shirt). From time to time, limited-edition products are designed to help specific animals deemed "high-needs medical cases."
The company and its mission have attracted plenty of interest--and quickly. In the first month, Hendrick Boards went from working with two nonprofits to 15; in just six months, the operation turned a profit. Hendrickson says the key to growth, besides "learning from every mistake," has been using social media to up engagement levels. The Hendrick Boards Facebook page boasts more than 70,000 Likes; in a nationwide small-business contest last year, Facebook and American Express Open selected the company as a top 10 finalist.
In February Hendrick Boards and its five employees moved to new 2,000-square-foot digs in Fullerton, Calif. The plan: to ramp up production to back even more animal-rescue initiatives. "When we started, I knew we weren't ever going to be a multimillion-dollar business," Hendrickson says. "I just knew we had to be profitable, because that was the way to save more animals."
William wouldn't have it any other way.
Story By: Jennifer Wang
After seeing dogs and pets like Pete here and others like Tillman, Norman, and many others I can certainly say without a doubt that there are some crazy talented dogs out there.
What ever it is, it jumped the species barrier and surprised the hairball out of this cat.
Skateboard Dog from Warren Bolster "Master of Skateboard Photography. See more of Warren Bolster on Calstreets: http://www.calstreets.com/2012-05-15-02-31-14/warren-bolster
Norman, the bike riding dog, wasn’t taught by some overzealous owner how to ride the bike, he is self-taught. While other puppies are busy tearing up their owners’ shoes, Norman was more interested in practicing balancing his weight and holding on to handlebars. No wonder that at the age of three, this sheep dog’s talents do not only include riding a longboard or a scooter, but also riding a bike according to a Feb. 1, 2013, Huffington Post report.
Once Norman managed his weight and his two front paws at a "young age," he developed the muscle skills to use his hind legs on the pedals in just a month.
Norman’s owner, Karen Cobb, wasn’t surprised when her dog joined the kids "playing on the street." Karen Cobb, who is Norman’s owner and coach, told the Huffington Post that “this was bound to happen.” Even as a pup, Norman used to roam the streets of Atlanta on his scooter.
"The kids just think it's normal to have a pet like this. They grew up with him biking with them. He's probably the best pet you could have."
So what does one do with a dog that prefers to ride the bike over tearing up shoes or chasing cats? Introduce the bike riding dog to television and make him a YouTube page, of course.
Norman and his bike riding talent will be featured on Feb. 1, 2013, on Hallmark Channel's "Who Let The Dogs Out." But for anyone who doesn't get the chance to see the show, there is plenty to see of Norman.
Norman’s YouTube page shows videos of Norman on his longboard, on his scooter, and on his bike. And since “parents” always like to add “childhood” pictures, Norman’s YouTube page naturally includes videos like “Norman’s first day on the scooter,” “Norman door manners,” “Norman pulling sulky-maiden voyage,” and “Norman’s first real sheep herding lesson.”
Fortunately for Norman, even after having gained celebrity status as the bike riding dog, he’ll most likely care more about having fun in the present than worrying about some potentially incriminating videos of the past. Some other two-legged celebrities might think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dog’s life.”
By Tina Burgess
Mark your calendars and join FIDO as we watch - ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’- Hallmark Channel Original Series Premiere -THIS Friday, Feb. 1 (1 p.m. ET/PT, 12C)
He skateboards! He surfs! He snowboards! And he’s…a dog? Yes! But not just any dog, of course. We’re talking about the one and only Tillman the Skateboarding Dog - known as the most popular dog in the United States - who rolls onto the Hallmark Channel in the new original series “Who Let the Dogs Out,” premiering Friday, Feb. 1 (1 p.m. ET/PT, 12C). “Who Let The Dogs Out” is the story of a very special, hugely adventurous bulldog named Tillman who has a taste for outdoor recreation. The Hallmark Channel Original Series chronicles Tillman and his owner Ron as they travel the nation in search of the most spectacular, high-flying canines, while running into some celebrity guests along the way, including Betty White, Florence Henderson, Gary Sinise and many more.
Named after the great U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman, Tillman the dog is described by Ron as less a bulldog and more “a ballerina, in the shape of a pot roast.” Tillman learned skateboarding because Ron’s other pooch, a Rottweiler, had a thing for small wheeled contraptions, pushing them around, but never actually riding them. However, when Tillman saw the skateboard, it was love at first ride. Ron picked up Tillman his very own board, and the rest is history. Now, man and dog have hit the road with their skateboards looking for a little decent opposition. In “Who Let the Dogs Out,” they recruit a colorful cast of the most talented hounds in America in hopes of selecting a single lucky mutt to wear the title of the country’s “Most Talented Dog.” The doggie cast travels all over the nation to meet some of the most amazing pooches who are not only talented, but also supply service to the disabled, law enforcement and military. These aren’t mere dogs, but true American heroes. At the center of it all is Tillman, whose talents on small boards will astound you. There is simply no fear in this dog when it comes to land, snow or water. Hop on and come along for the ride!
Tune in and see the fun! Hallmark Channel Original Series Premiere - Friday, Feb. 1 (1 p.m. ET/PT, 12C)
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