Cindy Brosig – Operation H.E.E.L.

Dogs make people smile.  You can’t help it.  When a kind dog comes to you with their tail wagging, you cannot help but forget your troubles, even if for a moment.
Add that to the fact that almost all of us want to help people.  But not all of us have the empathy or passion to make a business out of it.
Veteran Cindy Brosig, one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, has created a place to treat humans with the help of dogs.  Dog Therapy, or Animal Assisted Therapy, as it has come to be known, offers a holistic approach to help people heal from various health conditions that can affect the mind, body and spirit.
Cindy and her dog, Josie, are highly trained and able to bring out healing in people that may have not had success through other means.
Listen as Cindy shares her story, from being a nurse in the military and seeing first hand the damage and challenges that people may face to building her own dog-therapy business just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.  Shot onsite at Operation H.E.E.L.
Visit Cindy at:
Authentic Business Adventures Podcast

You have found Authentic

Business Adventures,
the business program that brings you

the struggles, stories
and triumphant successes of business owners across the land.

Downloadable audio episodes can be
found on the podcast link found at

[00:00:15] We are locally
underwritten by the Banks of Sun Prairie.

My name is James Kademan.

Oh, my goodness gracious.
What do I do?

I do some stuff.
Entrepreneur, author, speaker,

helpful coach to small business
owners across the country.

And today it’s kind of funny about
sidetracked, I forgot her name.

Josie is hanging around with us.

And today we have Cindy Brosig,
owner of Operation Heel.

That’s H-E-E-L correct.

Cindy, how are you doing today?
Good, thanks.

How are you?
I’m doing very well.

I’m excited because I guess just to let

people know, you were a student in
business planning class four years ago.

Four years ago.
It’s been a while.

And now I am inside your business.

It’s awesome.

So I want you to tell us,
what is Operation Heel?

So Operation Heel is a nurse led animal

assisted therapy practice
and therapeutic dog training.

All right.

When you say therapeutic dog training,

are you training the dogs or
using them to therapy for people?

Well, I’m working with them and humans

to enhance wellness either
in the prevention, maintenance,

or recovery from illness,
or else I call it disease.

Oh, nice.
Yeah, I like it.

This is the wonder dog here.

Yeah, this is one of them.

I have four rescue dogs.

I work with two of them.

I sometimes will bring
in my other dog, Emily.

She’s a little older,
and she likes older people.

All right.

So dogs have preferences on what age
group that they like to work with.

Josie, she likes kids.

She has from the beginning, ted as well,
which I think you met, we brought Ted to class.


And he’ll be eight this year,
so he’s looking at retirement.

It’s a hard job.
All right.


So you have to tell me, how does
therapy with dogs for people work?

You bring the people into this space.


Why I like this space is
because of being out in nature.

So all of my classes are
indoors and outdoors.

All of my programs.

If we were to open up this door,
it opens to a fenced in area.

I like dogs and humans
to work on an off leash.

All right.
So I like the freedom of it.

All right.

And how do you figure out which dog
will work with which person?

It’s a great question.


So if somebody is a little bit more
high energy, I call it spirited.

I will bring in a higher energy,

spirited dog because they tend
to match each other and work together.

For instance, there are times so people
that are maybe suffering from depression,

we maybe start with a dog,
which is a little bit more low key to help

get them comfortable and then we will
bring in a dog that’s a little bit more

energetic to kind of help
stimulate them into movement.

All right, that makes sense.

Now, that leads to the question, how do
you train the dog to be a therapy dog?

Awesome question.

So you can’t train a dog to like
people, but you can train them

but that’s the key to therapy.

It’s working with a dog and communicating
and how do I form a relationship.


It takes social skills,
it takes body behavior, movements,

opening your body up
to someone or being closed in.

But what I do help with the
training part is manners.

So, for instance,

if we have somebody that’s in that’s maybe
a little bit more nervous, anxiety,

I obviously don’t want
the dog to jump on them.

Not helping.

That just might make things worse.

So I do train for manners,

but obviously I look for a dog who wants
to work with people, who likes people.

So it’s more or almost
a personality thing.

And stuff to train personality.

Yeah, absolutely.

And all dogs, pure bred, mixed bread work.

Now, how do people find you?

I know that you exist because I
wouldn’t know before I met you.

I didn’t know that dog
therapy was a thing.

Had no idea.

But I will say, I do want to say that you

were instrumental in connecting me
with the people helped me on my way.

You honestly, not only were you a great

motivator, you’re like, you can do this,
but you are practical about it.

So I thank you for that.

Oh, you’re welcome.

If you have any questions, talk to James.

I loved your honest, truthful approach.
Oh, thanks.

That’s why I’m here today.

Let’s be honest.

But this is a reward because I get
to see your business and launch it.

I remember when you were talking about

the business, it took me a little
while to wrap my head around what.

It was, as it does for everybody.

All I can think is, how do you
market a business like that?

I imagine that’s going to be
one of the biggest challenges.

It was because education was key.

It’s not very well known here.

When people think of therapy dogs,
they think of the dogs visiting hospitals,

clinics, school groups, reading,
and that is therapeutic.

Those dogs are trained for manners
and being in large groups.

The handlers are great.

She was going to be.

So this is what I love
about you can’t train this.


Josie is telling us
that she needs attention.

She’s reminding us to have a little fun.

Anyways, yeah.
So it’s hard for me.

I felt like I was competing against

organizations that were
already doing it for free.

But what I bring to the program,

the therapy part, is my experience in
nursing, whether it’s in mental health.

As nurses, we are trained
to work in all sectors.

So whether it’s postpartum to mental
health institutions, you name it.


All right.

Often when I would go so I did start
on as a volunteer therapy dog team.

Oh, really?
I did.

Where we went into hospitals, ted and I.

intro into it was because of my husband

being in the military here in Madison,
visiting military children.

So we were,
I guess, attending events called, like,

Yellow Ribbon or used military
kids camp at up in woods.

What I was finding is,
oh, this is really good.

But now we can take this to the next level

where, let’s say there’s
a kid that’s struggling.

If you’re just doing a one time visit,

it might not seem like it,
but to be able to work with them

on a regular basis, making goals,
that’s where the therapy comes in.


All right, so let’s back up a step
because you’re kind of alluding to it.


Ted, just as a reminder,
was your was he your first therapy dog?

Yes, he was my first bully.

We went through every single
training class you could think of.

He was definitely more of the shy dog.

He liked people, but he was
just more shy of environment.

So we got to work
on that a little bit more.

No dog is perfect, so he’s up there.
All right.

£100 a sweet love £100
philadelphia’s only 60.

Nice dog.
Yeah, she’s great.

So you were a nurse before?

And what made you decide to start your own

business, regardless of what
type of business you are?

I guess personally,
I saw the effects of having a dog.

Well, I wasn’t diagnosed,
but I did have postpartum depression,

looking back, and it was my dog Aggie
who really helped get me through that.

And I can give you an example.

Some of the things
when you have postpartum depression is you

don’t even remember because
you’re in such a dark place.

You’re already sleep deprived.

I mean, there’s a lot
of things that play into it.

But the biggest factor for me was
when my husband was gone.

So my husband was in the military,
so he deployed a lot.

When I first had kids
and I was home alone a lot.

So at night, I would get
up full blown anxiety.

Oh, my gosh.
Someone was breaking in the house.

I mean, literally.

But what would get me out of that cycle
was looking at aging my dog,

because I know she would bark if
there was someone in the house.

All right.

So it’s literally me going, okay, she’s
not barking, and she’d walk with me.

I could tell.
She was like, okay, I’m walking with you.

She was like, okay.

I’m not sure why she’s
walking around at two, three.

So that was a big part of it.

Personally, I didn’t really reflect
on that until I got into the volunteering

part and seeing how and then
I was like, oh, I get it.

To see how it can help turn your life

around, whether you’re suffering
from anxiety, depression, even pain.

Chronic pain.
All right.


So you are in the military as well.

All right.
And what did you do in there?

I was a nurse over eight and a half years.

All right.

So nurses the military and then
moved into private sector.


And I was a school nurse,
so then I separated.

I finished my tour,
separated from the Air Force.

My husband got a job here because he was
in the Army, I was in the Air Force.

We just couldn’t make it work finding
a base that would take both services.

It’s just a pretty siloed.


So I stayed home for a couple of years,

but then I did use my GI bill
and got my Masters in nursing.

Oh, wow.

And then I started to study animals
with therapy, and I’m like, oh,

this is more than just
not just volunteering, but volunteering,

but in a more professional
capacity, I guess.

All right, nice.

So then you said, hey,
let’s start a business.

How did your husband react when you’re.

Like, hey, at first he was like, sure,

I’ll support you, until we started
looking at what things cost.


You don’t want to start a jewelry business
or something that would be cheaper?

No, right, exactly.

All right.

Like I said, going back to your class,
that was the first introduction.

So I’m a nurse by trade.
I’m a giver.

I want to just give everything.

And it was a hard concept for me to come

around that, oh, I can apply for grants
and take that, or I can

do a lot of things for free,
which there’s good and bad with that.

And you had mentioned that as well.

Starting up is not a bad idea if there’s

no cost, just to get people in the door
and to build awareness right.

Doing classes or workshops
or what have you.

But yeah, I think you are totally right
about how long it takes

to get to this point,
because look at four years, and, I mean,

we’re just now feeling like this
is stable, we can move forward.

Got it.
All right.

But you get this whole building,

and it’s going to take
six months, a year to put up.

No, actually, we moved it.

So I was practicing in my backyard
in Sunbury, and that’s, I think,

when I was starting to take
your class or towards the end.


Because you were talking about getting
a place in the country correct.

To have the room to be able to do that.

And this was just before everything, like,
housing went up, and we started to look,

and this place came up, and we’re like,
okay, if we’re going to do this,

we’re going to just do it all the way
we did take the leap, which was huge.

And I know you’ve always said hey,
if you’re going to do it, go full and

him and Han, you’re not
going to get anywhere.

Step your toes off the diving board.

And so we did, and like I said,

we anticipated some costs, but again,
like you said, so much more, be prepared.

But at the other end of that is if you

have a good plan in place,
and I know you are really good about this,

have a good, strong business plan,
look at the future.

Don’t just look at what can I do now?

I think there’s so many
pieces that all carry weight.


You want to be prepared and really
think about your expenses.

And be flexible.

Because my path has changed.

I mean, it’s a total I need to rerun.

Yeah, I want to talk to you about

that because I was looking at your website
and all that you do,

and I want to say that you’ve brought
in from when we first talked.

Because before you were talking,

you were talking about working exclusively
with vet families, I believe, correct?

Yes, absolutely.

And I did do that for a while.

But I guess the obstacle and if you’re
a military family,

things change in a minute,
which I was flexible,

but it’s hard for them to commit because
either if they’re not moving right,

or suddenly a spouse or partner is gone
and now you don’t have time to come.

Plus the other part of that,
too, is programs.

There’s a lot of programs out there

which is, I don’t know,
this could be taken wrong.

For instance.

When I being a veteran and having

a veterinary business and I
would offer my services.

A lot of times military
organizations would say.

But you’re not a nonprofit.

So I’m sorry.

We can’t advertise you or
we can’t work with you.

But even though I would offer
like discounted or free programs.

But strictly.

And this is out there.

So I’m not saying anything
that people don’t already know.

But so hard.

So you think you have your veteran

and military group and support,
but then yet if you’re not,

if you’re looked upon, as
I think they call it,

like propositioning families for
that kind of because of just how

my service was saying, they kind
of put up a lot of barriers for me.

So I had to pivot.

All right, so it’s so interesting because

people assume myself included in the town,
that nonprofit just means either free or

you’re not bringing any money
in or something like that.

But in the end, there’s people with jobs
working at nonprofits and there’s a lot

of nonprofits that are pushing
a lot of money around.

So it’s like nonprofit in name

and probably in taxes,
but from a business standpoint, right.

They still have the cash flow.

They still have to bring money in to pay
for the services that they’re right.

And they contract with civilian services
so it was a very interesting conversation.

I’ve had several other
organizations, all right?

And I’m not the only veteran that space

this, so I would love
for that conversation to open.

I remember being a part of
the group was escaping me,

but it’s something about it was an online
thing, helping veterans start businesses.

Like, I taught one of those.

This is more you’re answering questions
that veterans would have about businesses.

And I remember that I had a blog,

so somebody had asked about pricing,
whatever, and so I pointed them to a blog,

and it got flagged because they said, hey,
you can’t send people to your website.

The answer to their question is there.

I’m not going to take this custom email.

It’s a small novel.


So I’m like, you’re kind of punishing
me for doing this work that’s for free.


So I’m just like, all right, I don’t
have to answer questions anymore, right.

Like, if it’s going to be more
of a headache to help you exactly.

I’m trying to help you as
best I can for no cost.

And you’re punishing me for it.

Find your own answer.

You can google it.

And you hear all the time support

a certain business and then not to feel
supported among your own community.


So I get that.
It seems to be like somebody

in a committee that has no idea what
they’re doing made this decision,

or a group of people, I guess,
involvement on boards like, oh, my gosh,

a bunch of people that don’t know
what’s going on making this decision.

You just got to roll with it and just
like, okay, we’re going to chase our

market somewhere else where
you guys aren’t involved.


So it sounds like you
had to Pivot that way.

I did, which actually was the best thing
because on one of my Pivots in the school

system, I had a parent reach out and say,
is this only for military kids?

And I said no.

And so that’s when I knew,
like, oh, this is a good Pivot.

It should be open to everybody.

My specialty is in military
family, but I’m absolutely.

The service is needed by all right.

So where before you would
have told her, sorry, yeah.

Now you can like, oh, yeah,
you can breathe, man.

You can breathe and have problems.

We got it.

All right, so how are you
marketing this business now?

Through Facebook.

All right.
Paid ads or posts?

No post.

I’ve partnered with some rescues okay.

Dog rescues.

And they’ve been and so helping
them with some of their dogs.

So we have this really nice partnership.

So they come in their fosters
can come in any time.

I help with training and helping teach
them, like, okay, you’ve got this puppy

that’s just acting a little
different than others.

So it’s like teaching, educating.

So now they as a foster,
if they get another dog in similar they

can start working with that dog
right away in exchange.

And they work with trainers all the time.

And I don’t charge for my services.

I have four rescues.
All right.

It does hit the heart.

And because they’re happy with what I’ve
been able to help them with,

they share when I have classes because,
let’s be honest, all dogs need classes.


And help at some point,

especially since we haven’t been able
to get out in the last two years.


Not used to seeing people other people.

Or people in math.

I didn’t even think about that.

That was really big for a while.
All right.

Interesting you alluded to this
question that I’ve been thinking about.

When you are doing work with dogs,

people in need of some kind,
emotional, physical, whatever.

It’s going to be difficult

to keep your business going or charge
for your services when you feel

emotionally attached
to what they have going on.

You just want to help out.

When you’re in a business like yours or
even a therapy business of some kind

of you want to just help and we’ll
figure out the money later.

But the money’s got to pay
for this and keep rolling.

So you can offer this service continuum.

So how do you navigate
that little tight row?


It was really hard in the beginning.

I said yes to everything and everybody,
but what I learned, obviously, is, okay,

so now I need this piece of equipment or
now I have an autistic child coming in,

so I need to have special
tools for them to handle.


Slowly my charges were getting
higher than what I was bringing in.

And so there’s just a point where I look

at money as literally
an energetic exchange.

This is just for so it was
a big block in my mind.

Like you said, being a nurse,
you give 110%.

I know most people would,
but just my profession in general.


So I just had to just turn my mindset
like this is for the greater good.

There’s value in this.

Valuing myself was huge.

And that was something you said also,

I could just go back in my syllabus
and say James was right.

James was right here.
He was right.

Tell my wife that.

And my husband, who is more of a business

guy, he was, I have to say,
probably my biggest cheerleader

and sometimes my biggest
motivator, like, okay, this is enough.

You can’t continue to do this to yourself.

You want more dogs going out, you.

Have money coming in so that you
can keep doing what you’re doing.

That’s cool.

Has it been tough talking with people
about the whole money thing?

Because I know sometimes they’re it is

with the call answering service will take
calls for therapists and people want

to tell you their life story
and you’re like, I’m out.

Oh, wow.
We got to get you on the calendar.

We got to align you with a therapist,
and we got to get your payment

information, whether that’s insurance
or credit card or whatever.


You need these things before we
can go into solving the problems.


I guess we being the call answering

service, we can intercept very easily
because we’re the call answering service.

We’re not the therapist.

Or you’re the therapist.

And I feel like this is back when I was
at Printer repair company,

back before I had people answering
phones that gets a technician.

They’re just like,
let me tell you my problem.

You can tell me exactly
how to fix it for free.

I know.
I spent some time,

literally an hour and a half,
and my husband’s like, all right, unpaid.

I always did free consultations because

people would call and say,
I don’t know what you do.

How can you help my kids
get into background?

And then it’s like, it’s just automatic.

I’m going to start taking
my assessment history.

But I think how I got through that too,
was I’m like, okay,

so let’s re look at where my licensing,
my nursing licensing can help.

All right.

I got myself into programs through

the state that would help
families pay for my services.

So what that did was it forced me to look

like, okay, how can I help these people
out, but still so that I can get paid.

And so that was another huge win.


I guess the case workers so that it was

educating them, like, oh,
so you trained service dogs?

And I’m like, no.

You trained therapy dogs?

I’m like, no.

And it was a lot of drawing up handouts

and sending documents,
and until now that they kind of have

an idea what I do, they can say, oh,
hey, I’ve got this client for you.

Services get paid for.

Because the majority of my population
is socioeconomically challenged.

I got you.

Was that it just happened?

That’s how it’s feared,
or is that typical?

It is typical because if we look at when

a child is born in poverty,
they don’t have the tools and the support

system to get good nutrition
or their reading skills.

Got it.
A lot of delay.

Not all of it, but it’s a big part of it.


I did not.

Didn’t see that one.

I guess it’s interesting because when you

look at patterns for marketing
of any business right.

It reminds me of teaching that class.

I think this was a different
group of students.

We had a pretty good group.
We had a very good group.

Yeah, we have a very good group.

There’s a woman that when I was talking

about marketing and finding
your target market yes.

Push into that target market because
it can’t afford to market to everyone.

That’s right.

And I don’t think that was the same class
that you were in, but there was a woman

that got upset because she said,
how can you ignore everyone else?

How can you target, let’s just say men,
women, sociate, economic class,

demographic, what road they’re driving on,
like, pick your niche for whatever you’re

marketing in based on whatever
it is that you’re selling.

How can you separate people like that?

She was taking it as this political thing,

and I’m like, you’re not saying
that you won’t help the other people.

You’re just saying, I have so
much money to spend on marketing.

And I got to spend it to the people

that are more likely
to become clients of mine.

So when I know that my typical client is

this, I’m going to pay the market
to that typical client absolutely.

To spend my time there,
instead of chasing people like, hey,

I need to make
whatever demographic I’m after.

However you want to split
that demographic up.

These people are only 4ft tall.

I want to go through people 6ft tall.

It’s so true.

It was interesting how
upset she got at that.

I don’t think you’re looking
at this the right way.

Am I looking at it the wrong way?

It sucked out.

It’s just one of the most, like right.

I don’t mean to be excluding anyone.

I just know that I think
it’s just misunderstood.

I can’t afford to market to everyone.


Unless you’re Coca Cola or Bunweiser,
you probably can’t be there.

Not everybody wants service, either.

So when I target marketed,
I looked at where does the service lie?

So I compared it to music therapy and art
therapy, complementary therapy,

and then working with those individuals.

And obviously you’re going to see
the largest changes right.

With people who have
the biggest disability.

Oh, it’s very needle more, I should say.

Yeah, absolutely.

All right, so let me ask you
about the clients that you have.

Do they refer other clients to you?


That has also been my so initially,

I thought by pairing up with other
therapists and other providers

in the field so even my doctor
but I will tell you it’s probably me,

I think I might have come across as
trying to take their clients from them.

So that turned out not
to be a really good avenue.

So even though I thought by saying, oh,
it would be kind of fun, like,

to help enhance your practice,
maybe you could say, like, oh, you know,

if they work on a particular so,
like physical therapy, for instance,

they work specifically with muscle
movement and fine motor skills.


And so perhaps they could send clients
to me, or I could bring a dog in.

I could contract working with them as
maybe more of a motivation for that person

to move, which is one thing why dogs work
so much, even just the motivation,

having the person calm, but my knowledge
of that so I take a physiologic approach.

So working with the breathing parts

and the actual feelings parts,
because let’s be honest,

when you have anxiety, it’s not just
a mind thing, it’s a body response.

So I was hoping to pair with other people.

So compliment.

And they were taken as like, hey, exactly.

It was really ugly.

So I was like, okay, we’re just going
to it’s just so funny how you’re exactly.

How your path just but again,

going back to what you said,
just get out there and try it.

The worst that’s going to happen
is they’re going to say no.

And so I’ve had a lot of nos.

We all have.

It’s all good, but it’s the yeses, right,

that you’re just like, oh,
this is why I’m still here.

Keep moving forward.

And if you don’t ask,
you’re guaranteed to know.


So you might as well ask to see
if there’s a possibility for it.


And it’s so interesting because through

your connection with the doggy
daycare lucky dog, lucky dog.

That really opened me up to, okay,

so maybe I’m not looking exactly
at people with disabilities.

Maybe do people already have a dog that’s

kind of helping them with that need,
that extra push?

That was my whole avenue,
and that’s how I got into dog training,

because now I’m working
with other people’s dogs.

I have a lot of families that come to me.

My doctor told me to get out and walk.

My doctor told me to get a dog.

So now they have a dog and they’re like,
this dog’s driving me crazy.

And now my anxiety is
really out of the worst.

Right, exactly.

And these are the people that

some dog trainers are like, hey, you
can’t be in that if you’ve got anxiety.

And these people won’t
show up to group classes.

So that’s where I can come in and help

them because I understand
the process of anxiety.

All right, so that was
a whole nother pivot.


You’re essentially training the trainer,
the trainer being the dog.

All right.

And that’s what all the equipment
are on here is for.


Because we do everything off leash
outside, inside the leash, I feel like,

is the cause of a lot of dogs
being reactive or being depressed.

When you see so many dogs working,
when you have to have a dog on a leash,

obviously going to a hospital,
you don’t want to walk in with IV pool

and they get bowed over because
they’re happy to see you.

That was part of my vision for the space,
was I wanted freedom.

obsoletion people can go to what do.

all right, so most of what you’re doing

for training, is it more sit, stay
type stuff or does it go beyond that?

It goes beyond that.

So, for instance,

it’s funny, I have a lot of couple

well, one in particular,
and I’m just going to change the age

and all that so nobody feels but a super
young couple had already had a dog

that was older and got a puppy,
and so it was so interesting.

So we did private lessons.

So my therapeutic dog training kind of was

not only just working with the two dogs
to get along in a household, right?

Because that’s a big thing
that happened over the pandemic.

People got more dogs or added a cat.

And it was so interesting because when

they first showed up, they were,
you’re doing it wrong.

No, you’re doing it wrong, arguing.

And I’m like, oh, okay.

So as we did some exercises together,
we switched things around.

By the end of our time together,

and I think it was six weeks,
the wife showed up, like,

dressed nicer and they were very like,
oh, you did a good job.

And then they asked me, do you do couples?

Hopefully that’s part of it, though.

It’s just getting the dogs that you bring

people together, but also knowing how do
you communicate with these people and.

Their dogs, that’s going to be tough.

It was because in the beginning,

it was a lot of you’re doing it
wrong and the dog stressed out.

Now we have a dog in the corner who won’t

come out to play because the two are
not agreeing, so.

You’Re doing it wrong.
This was husband.

The wife and husband.

Yeah, both.

But by the end and you’re just.

Hanging out like, whoa,
let’s start some exercise right away.

Let’s go.


So the therapeutic part is working
with them and the dog, right.

So that they have a dog that
is comfortable in the home with this older

dog and then also helping them to see
that working together, being together.

I mean, it’s quite natural.
I know.

Yeah, that’s cool.

That’d be a good feeling
once you got that.

It is.
But I didn’t write my first thought.

I do everything therapeutic,

meaning that it’s very like
MINDBODY spirits we look at.

I mean, I guess as a nurse,
there’s something called all nurses,

most medical people usually will now
definitely utilize more.

Our approach is more traumainformed.

And this can be like even people education
teachers looking at maybe a child who’s

acting out and not saying,
what’s wrong with you?

What happened to you?

So that’s where I approach a lot

of and that’s, I guess,
where my nursing background comes in is,

okay, so maybe trauma is different to
everybody’s had some events in their life

where they’ve just shut down or
somebody told them something.

They’ll never amount to anything or

whatever, and you try
to work through that.

And so when I’m working with people,
I take that approach as well.

Like, okay, they’re not acting out towards
their dog because it’s like what happened

to them that they’re requesting
and the dog sometimes will reap.

That’s why sometimes you get naughty dogs.

Or people said, oh,
my dogs have ADHD and I do too.

And I’m like, yeah, you’re both kind
of reflecting behaviors, all right?

And that we unfold through that.

And I do it through
movements and activity.

Some people do talk therapy and that’s

more of the psychiatrist, psychologists,
counselors, but I’m movement, all right?

So when someone comes in and they have
an issue, do you ever work with them

a little bit and find out actually your
issue is this because it sounds like

people are coming to you with what
they believe is a problem?

Absolutely, yeah, they come
to me with a dog with an issue.


And that’s where the dog training,
getting my certification really helped

because then I can
understand dog behavior.

Is that a behavior because of their breed?

Is that a behavior because of their
environment or what have you?

And how do we train
that work with that coach?

I had a woman that came in.

I see a lot of women, a lot of women,
veterans actually, that come in.

Yeah, one had MST,
which is military sexual trauma.


So anyway, no details, but we all
know what that is or it could entail.

And she adopted a dog and interesting,

they both reflected a lot of her trying
to get rid of the trauma that happened.

So hyper vigilant, looking
around corners, so did the dog.

But when she first came to me,
it was the dog had the problem,

but what the dog was reflecting was her
hyper vigilance as well because she always

looking behind her shoulders
of somebody coming or what have you.

So once we worked with the dog to get used

to how do we react if we
are scared or fearful?

I also worked with her to know
that the dog will sense your fear.

So we kind of had to work both ways.

Oh, that’s cool.

Yeah, clever.

I guess in this situation,
it’s got to be challenging, but I imagine

whatever problem they’re coming
to you with, absolutely.

You have to dig a little bit deeper than

just the initial layer
that they’re giving you.

And I think sometimes and this is no

doctrines are great people,
but I think for me,

working with people who have maybe
a history or trauma because all these

people won’t show up to dog class
because they’re just too afraid.

But that’s good for them as well,
keep them head in.

But I suppose that’s a different
dynamic or goal.


What you would take a dog
to typical training class for.


Because maybe you want to do dog
sports or you want to go at.

This ramp, sit, play dead, whatever.

Got you.
So different reasons for doing that.

So you started your business.

It’s been going for a little while.

What have been some of the challenges that
you did not anticipate that you ran into?

Challenge one.

Challenges that I didn’t anticipate.

Probably thinking that everybody
would know that they need my service.

I’m guilty of that.

With a call answering service.

That was one of those,
I’m going to hang my shingle.

Someone’s going to ring off the hook.

People are going to think, oh,

my goodness gracious, this is
the best thing since sliced bread.

Just throw money at me.

Business will grow
to Amazon Tech in two weeks.


I know I saw myself
on the stage talking about it.

Let me inspire others.


Like, oh my gosh, we’re going
to save the world and all the dogs.

Then you just look at the phone.

Like, oh, it was hard.

It was hard.

It’s hard when you have your family who’s
like, who understands what you’re doing.

But there are sometimes, like,

my daughter would look at me like,
mom, I don’t know what you do.

And I thought, well,
I took that as feedback.

It was hurtful, but I thought, you know,

what if she can’t
understand what her yeah.

The person lives with you doesn’t know.

And she knows I live and breathe it.
I researched.

I mean, I did my Capstone project on it.

My Masters was all animal psychotherapy.

And that was probably my that was.

A big scratch in your head, like, whoa.

Because my phones were
silent for quite a while.

I mean, I maybe had one or two,
like the first year.

And it wasn’t until I started
well, the pandemic all right.

The pandemic’s been good.



I mean, there’s nothing wrong
with business doing well.

Our business has done well.


There’s lots of businesses
that have done well.


There are plenty of businesses,
arguably too many that didn’t do so hot.


I’m super lucky or glad I didn’t
have a restaurant or bar.

They had a rough time.

Bad couple of years.

So it was just right place, right.

Time for the business.

And it was a service that I provided
that turned out to be needed, I think,

with everybody knowing that with the
pandemic, dogs got adapted like crazy.

And I guess the best thing that happened

for dogs is that people
realize that dogs are helpful.

Whether you have them
in a class or a therapy or not.

Having a dog living with you,
it does extend your life.

I mean, not everybody can afford a dog.

And that’s why I have dogs for people

to work with,
but I think that was honestly

such a huge trigger that people
saw dogs in a different light.


They’ve gotten through some tough times,

and a lot of people we
couldn’t see all right.

Yeah, we can.

I mean, we couldn’t see older
people or they’re very young.

We had friends.

We hadn’t seen their baby for nine months.
Ten months.

They basically stayed in there.

And I don’t blame them.

There’s a lot of unknowns.

It was an interesting time.

And I have to say,

what also helped was that I had my own
space and that we built this specifically

to be indoor outdoor,
and because a lot of public health was

like, well, if you can be outdoors,
your time can be a little bit generous.

So, I mean, we followed all the protocols.

You could adapt.

That was in somebody else’s space.

Because they closed down buildings.
All right.

So that’s very cool.


And you’d love to say that it was like,
oh, I knew this was going to happen.

I thought it was going
to happen like the year before.


So you’re happy with the business?
Oh, yeah.

All right.

So how do you see it growing
in the next let’s call it three years.

Who knows what’s going to go
beyond three years, I’m afraid.

What’s going to happen in six months?

I’d love to see this model of practice

and practice other places,
especially from a nursing I’d really love

to grow it from a nursing provider
perspective because I am an independent

nursing practice, I guess
you could say providers.

All right.

I’d love to see that.

Do you anticipate employees?
I do.

I would love to see that as well.
All right.

Because there are times where I simply

just can’t accommodate, because Josie,
I can’t work her 8 hours in a day.

It’s hard work.
Oh, I need to think about that.

Dog is essentially an employee.

That was another huge I guess oh,
my gosh, I didn’t even think of that.

So I have a nice network of people that
have registered therapy dogs so that I

know that they’ve been tested
and that I can pull from if I need.

That is cool.

How can people find you?

I have a website, Yeah.

Operation Heel.



And phone number?

Myself. 608-239-5671.

And then can you describe the location,
I guess where we are, we’re in the middle of nowhere.

Well, that’s the point.

Well, it’s beautiful out here.

It’s not that far away from the city,

but there’s so many trees,
and it’s just open.

And I forgot to mention that we’ve got

some horses on the property, so I’m also
expanding into the horse therapy world.

Oh, wow.
So not only dog, but horses.

Very cool.

We just adopted a 26 year old brood mare.

She’s 26.

How long do horses live 35.

If we’re lucky, but yes.

No part of it was to be a partner to our
young three year old, but she’s amazing.

She’s had a tough life.

She came from a kill lot.

They basically bred her till they couldn’t

get another full off of her,
which happens with Purebred.


I’m new to the horse world as far as that,
but my daughter is like the horse trigger.

Oh, interesting.

So we’re located in Marshall.
All right.

About seven minutes
from 94 on the highway.

All right.
From 94 and N.

All right, so super simple.

Do you bring in people from Milwaukee?

No, I haven’t.

But I do have a lot of people that want me

to come visit them and show them
how to incorporate a therapy dog.

So I’m going to head to Milwaukee

to the LGBTQ has an office that they
want me to come in and do.

It very cool.

Cindy, you got a cool thing going on here.

Thanks to you, James.

I give you some guidance.

I didn’t know your coaching was spot on,

everything you said,
and I didn’t believe you at first.

I didn’t want to believe it.
I didn’t.

Well, that’s coming

because you have this idea that you love,
and I didn’t want it not to work.

I’ve probably destroyed some dreams.

Not intentionally, just like, no, I don’t.

Want you to do anything.

No, you just redirected them.

You never destroyed you’re just,
like, think about this aspect.


I’m worried that someone’s going to go

bankrupt or just go follow their dream
without a plan and then just spend without

any plan and just spend
themselves into oblivion.

And then they’re in a deeper hole trying

still the same problem that they had
when they first started digging.


You can hate me, but in a couple
of years, you’ll be happy.



And I can’t thank you enough.

And I’m not just saying
that because I’m here to talk.

Yeah, right.

It’s just very cool.

We have a little actual history together.

It’s been a while, but yeah, I guess so.

People understand.

He was in my business planning class,
was it four years ago, five years.

Ago, all of that.

Back when you could
have in person classes.

That was awesome.

Yeah, it was good group.

It was a fun group.

So, at any rate,

do you have anything that you’d like
to share with people as far as advice,

things that you’ve learned or things
he’s like, you can be the coach?

Things I learned, which, again,
if I would have listened to James out

the door, is definitely, like,
low cost options to advertise.

I think one of his definitely logo, but
maybe don’t spend too much time on that.

Just get something out
there that reflects you.

I know this branding is cute.

That’s like a whole other topic.

But I think getting a nice
sweatshirt or hat is great advertising.

People always ask, yeah,
and it can be simple.

Those are like low cost
things, I feel like.

And referrals,
at least in the service world,

are huge because people want to,
especially now, I think too, is trust.

Most of the business, I guess,

is especially working with families
and children because they’re precious.

Well, that’s probably the biggest

hurdle I mentioned right there’s,
the marketing aspect.

People know you exist, right?

But there’s also for what you’re doing.

Can I trust you with my time?

And then you’re marketing to parents
who have an emotional attachment to not

only the child, but how their
child’s going to get treated.

Yeah, fair.

I love it.

Cindy, you’ve got a cool
thing going on here.

Well, thank you.
I love it.

This has been Authentic
Business Adventures.

It’s a business program that brings you

the struggles, stories, and triumphant successes of business owners across land.

We’re underwritten locally
by the Bank of Sun Prairie.

If you’re listening or watching this
on the web, you could do us a huge favor.

Smash that subscribe button,
give it a big old thumbs up, comment,

and if you have any questions, by all
means, throw them out there as well.

My name is James Kademan,

and Authentic Business Adventures is
brought to you by Calls on Call offering

call answering services for service
businesses across the country.

I forgot what we did for a moment.

As well as Draw in Customers Business

Coaching offering business coaching services
for entrepreneurs looking for growth.

And I’m having a rough time talking.

As well as the the Bold Business Book. A book

for the entrepreneur in all of us
available wherever fine books are sold.

We’d like to thank you,
our wonderful listeners, as well as,

I guess, Cindy Brosig,
the owner of Operation Heel.

Cindy, can you tell us
that website one more time?

Sure, it’s

[00:48:26] Got it.

Past episodes can be fun
morning, noon, and night.

The podcast link found at

Thank you for listening.

We’ll see you next week.
I want you to stay awesome.

And if you do nothing else,
enjoy your business.



Ready to Take Action with a Fast Business Coach for Your Small Business in Madison Wisconsin