A conversation with Brittany North, owner of Cook County's North Paws Canine ServicesOct 04, 2022 12:38PM ● By Laura Durenberger
By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - October 4, 2022
Brittany North was 21 years old, working and attending school full time, when she got her first husky.
“I have five now”, she added with a smile.
And although North has always loved dogs, she didn’t set out to own and operate her own dog business initially.
Nine years ago she graduated college with a degree in health care - specifically in HR. In 2018 she was working at a major hospital system in Minnesota, and found herself constantly anxious and stressed out.
“It was common for me to call my husband crying on my way home from work”, she said.
There was one particular commute home where her husband finally encouraged her to quit her job and do something with dogs.
North laughed it off at first, thinking, “yeah, right”.
The idea wasn’t so outrageous, however. She was already house/pet sitting for people, and boarding dogs on the side for extra cash.
It was around this time that she saw an ad on Facebook for a job opening for a sled dog handler. In Alaska.
On a whim, she applied and heard back from the kennel within 20 minutes.
“They were clearly desperate because they wanted me to fly out within a week.”
And fly out she did.
After her experience, she fell in love with sled dogs even more.
Fast forward a few years, and you will find North as the Vice President of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon board. She has a lot of duties as VP, but some of the main responsibilities are to help with the website and social media, finding sponsors, and plan fundraising events.
As for her husband’s suggestion of opening her own dog business? She did that too when she started North Paws Canine Services, where North offers obedience training and classes for dog owners out of her home, or by visiting clients’ homes. She also partners with local breweries where she hosts dog training classes.
Interested in learning how to paddle, mush, or paddle board with your dog? Yep, she offers classes on how to do those things too.
Currently, North and her husband live in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. They own land in Hovland and plan to make a move in the spring or summer of next year.
“Our house is going on the market within the next 30 days, and we’ll be temporarily living with friends. We hope to be able to get some type of structure like a yurt on the Hovland property this year still before the snow comes.”
When asked why they wanted to move, North said that she loves the area, and specifically, mushing.
“Right now I recreationally sled/mush, but my goal is to eventually do the Beargrease”.
Her ultimate goal is to find a structure for North Paws Kennel, where she can offer training, classes, and boarding.
“I’m an environmentalist, so I don’t want to build something new. I’d love to find a small property and do the work independently.”
As for services she plans to offer in Cook County, North said that at first, she’ll plan on offering one-on-one private lessons where she comes to the clients’ houses.
“Their life happens inside the dog’s home, not mine.”
North’s training is unique in that it’s not behavioral training (although she does offer some classes on behaviors), but it’s teaching people how to talk and think like a dog using reward and connection.
“It’s about becoming the pack leader, and working with your dogs with a calm mind”.
For more information about North Paws Canine Service, or to reach out to Brittany, visit her website here.