MONDAY MAN: Dog lovers now K9 security force
INSPIRATION FOR a new business can come from nearly any place and take many different forms.
In many cases they come from the love of something – a favourite pastime, sport or even a pet.
So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to family and friends of cousins Jason Watson and Tito Harper when they came up with the idea for Premium Kennels, a canine security reinforcement company.
From young, the now 34-year-olds had very passionate love affairs with dogs. At about age 11 Jason got his first dog when he rescued a pit bull named Bruno. Sam, a pure breed Great Dane, was Tito’s best friend from the age of six until it died of old age many years later.
Throughout the years they owned, cared for and loved many dogs between them. That was why, in 2014, they decided to merge their love of canines and their experience in security to capitalise in an area they considered was lacking.
And later that same year, their dream became reality when the two extended their focus beyond just security to include breeding dogs of the highest quality.
The start-up was easier than one would have thought since the two pooled their funds and did not have to seek funding from a lending institution.
“Getting started was very easy as we both had dogs of our own so it was just a matter of grooming them and getting them into work mode, so initial finance wasn’t a key factor on start-up,” Jason told the DAILY NATION during an interview at their Worthing View, Amity Lodge, Christ Church office.
Tito agreed. However, he added that while the start-up wasn’t a hard task, it called for dedication and lots of time spent training.
Because they owned dogs personally, they already had an idea of the effort and know-how needed to care for canines. It was just a matter of enhancing and further educating themselves with the protocols involved in K9 security.
Their entry to the market was apparently timely as the business quickly got off the ground. According to them, it received high praise from satisfied customers who included promoters, security firms, event planners, as well as private homeowners.
Premium Kennels went from launching with a single Japanese Akita and a Neapolitan mastiff mixed with Great Dane to boasting a canine pack of 12 ranging in breeds from Belgian Malinois, Akita cross, Bordeaux, Bullmastiff cross, American bulldog, pit bull cross and Harlequin Great Danes in 2016.
What’s more, last year the two joined forces with now parent company LA Security Inc. and expanded the operation with a much-needed canine unit.
Additionally, under the new partnership with LA Security, quality training was provided for them and their handlers to ensure that all staff were trained at the highest level to guarantee that their canine partners adapted to every situation and assessed potential threats accurately and efficiently.
“The partnership has gone great. It’s as a result of LA Security that Premium Kennels was born. It benefits both of us in the sense that the additional service of K9 expanded . . . LA Security to a higher level and a totally different and efficient operation, whereas Premium Kennels has benefited tremendously through development, quality service and a trained K9 unit that we set out and offer to clients,” Jason said.
His role in the company is to make sure the business side of things is intact and the relationship with clients maintained.
On the other hand, Tito is the head of the canine department and his role is to ensure the kennels are kept in order, the K9s are well maintained, and that the handlers spend the necessary allotted time with their K9s on a weekly basis.
Both maintained they were firm believers that “hard work pays off” and credited this for the results achieved thus far. Tito, a former student of St George Secondary School, was quick to say, however, that there was still so much more for them to achieve.
“Business has been going good and we were able to lock down some of the major Crop Over events such as Brewster’s Road, Puff Of Colour, Water Xplosion, Caesar’s Army, Soca Ignition, ten years of D Red Boyz and this year our newest and biggest accomplishment was the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival.
“It has been good but it is also challenging because as young black people, we tend to get the most criticism from our peers, who believe that we should just sit around and do nothing,” Tito said.
“Sometimes we find ourselves not only having to deal with peer pressure but with the many challenges that can derive from the said peers from a security perspective.
“So yes, we will have our challenges because of the nature of business but we are in it for the long haul,” he said.
Jason added: “Premium Kennels’ objective is to be the leading K9 security firm in Barbados and it is poised to be . . . and we intend to expand its scope in the near future.” (SDB Media)