CTPost Covers The Hill Family And Their Journey To Keep Pets Safe

Family company helps keep pets safe

Published by www.ctpost.com, Brandon Campbell, Monday, August 3, 2015

In a time where local, family-owned businesses are facing more challenges than ever, a Wilton-based company has been able to successfully grow and expand throughout the Northeast.

Canine Company, started by Carol and Henry Hill, was founded in Wilton in 1983 after the couple came across a solution to a problem that they and others had faced for a long time. Many houses in their neighborhood did not have fences that surrounded their property, said Jennifer Hill, the daughter of Carol and Henry Hill, and the president of Canine Company.

Their family and neighbors lost too many dogs to the busy streets near their houses, so her parents searched for an answer. It came in the form of the Invisible Fence pet containment system.

“The company started out in a unique way,” Jennifer Hill said. “Not many people knew what it was, so my mother started going around to veterinarian offices and kennels and telling people what we do. She happened to go into one office, and they told her that someone had come in previously and was looking for something similar, so they put her in contact with the couple, and it turned out it was Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who became our first clients.”

Hill said that the company grew very quickly after that, having the friends and family of Newman and Woodward as their early clients, and her parents moved the company from their basement to their first property in Wilton in the late 1980s. The company now sits at a new property in Wilton, where old historical homes were converted into offices.

“We’ve created almost a compound for (Canine Company). Everyone brings their dogs to work and it has become a very homey atmosphere for us,” said Hill.

Hill took over the company from her parents about a year and a half ago, she said. She was in high school when her parents started the business, but began working there shortly after graduating from college. After changing her focus to business, she began looking into business schools that would help her with skills she needed for the company. After a patent expired and Boston became an open market for their company, she moved there to attend business school and spread Canine Company into Massachusetts.

“I moved up to Boston and quickly realized that there was nothing else I would do that would give me the same satisfaction I got from this job,” said Hill. “After attending business school up there I made the decision that I wanted to do this full time, so I moved back to Connecticut and I’ve been full time with the company for about 15 years.”

Although Canine Company has been the exclusive provider of Invisible Fence to the Northeast since it started, the company has worked to expand into other markets in recent years, she added. In 2010, the company added the Manners program, which was created to provide personal, in-home obedience training. It has also added the Mobile Pet Spa, which is a mobile pet grooming station, and Pet Visiting, which provides in-home pet care while owners are away.

Hill said that she’s happy with the company running as a family business, because it creates a culture that is very family oriented and has shaped the way the company provides products and services to its customers.

“We’ve focused the company on being more of a solution provider for pet owners,” said Hill. “Families need help with their pets, they love their pets and want the best for them, so we can provide that help they need from professionals. I’ve worked to focus the company less on strictly Invisible Fence, which is important, but more on ‘OK, you have a pet, what can we do to make you and your family’s life with your pet safer, healthier and happier?’”

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