The Just Love Project 021: Bonds Worth Building On

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“If we ever got a dog, we should name him Berwyn.”

In the category of bold first date statements, deciding what to name your future dog together certainly makes the list. But, it’s not so crazy if it comes true, right?

Ed & Dan, now happily married, are the proud founders of the Urban Pooch Canine Life Center in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood and Urban Pooch Training and Fitness Center in the Andersonville neighborhood. For nearly a decade, the Urban Pooch team has served Chicago’s dog community in extraordinary fashion. Including everything from grooming and training services to the best natural food, treats, toys, and everything in between – Urban Pooch has become a beloved one-stop shop for countless Chicago dog owners.

In looking back on what led to adopting their beloved Berwyn and embarking on such a new adventure, two moments stand out. Dan’s bold prediction over a drink on Berwyn Street was one of them. The other was a visit to New York to see a close friend and his Welsh Terrier named Dylan.

Dan fell in love Dylan. Dylan fell in love with Dan. Ed fell in love with Dylan & Dan falling in love. Soon after visiting an Illinois-based Welsh Terrier breeder, Berwyn fell in love with his new home and new loving parents. And over nearly 11 years, he’s risen in the ranks. Ed & Dan may have claim to the Urban Pooch’s founding, but the role of CEO? Well that’s reserved for Berwyn, of course.

Dan & Berwyn

“He’s absolutely the boss,” Ed says.

He’s also the inspiration to it all. After adopting Berwyn, Ed & Dan grew frustrated at the current state of affairs in Chicago when it came to pet services.

“We’d go one place for day care – have to run around to multiple stores to buy everything we needed, the vet was across town, play dates all over the city,” Ed explains.

Wishing there was a single place to cover it all, they decided to create it themselves. A place that dogs and people would both adore. In 2009, their doors opened and their lives would never be the same. With every new dog and human they added to their pack, it only confirmed the belief that got them there in the first place.  

“Dogs were put on this earth to love,” Ed says, “the only fault they have is they don’t live long enough.”

As for Ed’s best piece of advice for any new dog owner? Treat it like the beginnings of any healthy relationship. For Ed & Dan, that happened to be a bold prediction over a drink on Berwyn street over a decade ago. For new dog owners, it’s about giving your dog as much as they give you.  

“It’s also just comes down to spending real time with them. Beyond walking and eating time, it’s so important truly play, sit and just be with your dog,” Ed says.

Ed (Left), Berwyn (Middle), & Dan (Right)

After a long and successful business career, Ed insists he never would have imagined he’d be where he is today. In the 10 years of Urban Pooch, there’s one achievement that Ed is particularly proud. One that honors the dog that helped inspire it all. It’s called The Dylan Yannessa Live Forever Memorial Center. As a dedicated forum on the Urban Pooch website, it’s an online community created “so pet parents can share their love for a pet that has recently left their earthly existence.”

Ed says it’s the least he can do because Urban Pooch exists without him. And, with each story submitted, celebrating the extraordinary and life-changing relationships people have had with their dogs, he’s reminded how lucky he is to experience that love every day.

“A dog’s love is something special,” Ed says. “It really is pure magic.”

Ed, Dan, & Berwyn’s story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at ILuvMutts@MuttJackson.com – we’d love to hear from you!