Camas woman turns puppy love into business venture

Heather’s Hounds offers dog walking, hiking, sitting services

Camas entrepreneur Heather DeVore knows the downfall of having a hectic commute combined with a high-stress job. For several years before starting her own business, DeVore spent her days commuting from Camas to Portland to work in the healthcare insurance industry.

“It was very stressful,” DeVore said of her former job and daily commute..

But dotted among the stressful times were moments of joy — spending time with her family, including her husband, Ryan Hovde, a counselor at Heritage High School in Vancouver, sons Jack Ryan, 26, a Seattle musician, and Hayden, 17, a junior at Camas High, and stepsons Luke, 14, and Jonah, 12; as well as finishing a variety of woodworking projects; enjoying time with her older rescue dog, Max; hiking with her younger pup, Myla; and taking care of her friends’ dogs.

DeVore had always loved dogs and had even worked at a veterinarian’s office in the past, but it wasn’t until her Portland job ended and she’d left the taxing daily commute behind that she had time to destress and realize she didn’t have any desire to reinvent her hectic 9-to-5 routine.

Instead, DeVore decided to turn her passion for pets and her knack as a sort of “dog whisperer” into a career.

Earlier this year, DeVore opened Heather’s Hounds, a Camas based dog-walking and pet-care business.

“After I left my job in early 2019, I started informally walking my friend’s dogs as a favor and decided this is what makes me the most happy,” DeVore stated in her “About Me” section on the Heather’s Hounds Facebook page. “I want to share my unique abilities to care for your pets when you are at work, on vacation or need some extra help.”

DeVore’s services include everything from a quick, 15-minute dog visit and bathroom break for dog parents that are stuck at work all day, to 30-minute dog walks and 45-minutes or longer trail hikes and dog park visits. She also offers limited, overnight pet-sitting services.

Right away, DeVore gained attention from some Camas dog-lovers she’d met over the years.

On the Heather’s Hounds Facebook site, customers have left the brand new business some rave reviews:

“Heather is the only person I trust to check in on my dogs during the day and she does so (three to five) times a week,” said former Camas City Councilwoman Deanna Rusch, who has two shepherds, Adrianne and Cash. “My dogs love her. I highly recommend her.”

Other customers have echoed Rusch’s sentiments:

“My dogs love Heather,” wrote Amy Burger Walker. “It’s great to know they are getting some extra love and attention when we can’t be there.”

Client Megan Lynn Brophy said DeVore has taken care of her dogs for several years and that “every dog Heather encounters loves and adores her.”

“Heather has so much compassion, passion and heart for animals, specifically dogs,” Brophy added. “(My dogs) love their visits with Heather. She always caters to their unique personalities and ‘special’ needs.”

“I love them like they’re my own,” she said. “I like to say, ‘If you post pictures of your dogs, know that I love them, too.”

To prepare for her new business, DeVore became licensed and insured and certified in pet first aid and CPR. She always carries dog first aid and other pet supplies with her when she’s traveling to clients’ homes and taking their dogs on hikes on local trails or to local dog parks.

“I spent a year working in a very active veterinary clinic, so I am very familiar with working with all different types of personalities and sizes of pets,” DeVore said. “I am the sole owner and operator of Heather’s Hounds. No other strangers will be coming into your house.”

In her spare time, DeVore said she enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding and taking dog adventures with Myla — her dog Max died in December 2018 — with her husband and their children.

“I also have a passion for house remodeling, arts/crafts and interior design,” she said.

So far, the business is growing and DeVore said she’s happy doing something she loves all day.

Rates for Heather’s Hounds’ services start at $15 for a 15-minute dog visit; $20 for a 30-minute walk for one dog; and $40 for a 45- to 50-minute trail hike or 45- to 60-minute dog park visit (plus pick up and drop off) for one dog. She charges additional fees for multiple dogs.

To learn more about overnight dog-sitting services or to inquire about pet care for cats, visit “Heather’s Hounds Dog Walking & Pet Care” on Facebook, email heathers.hounds10@gmail.com or call DeVore at 360-635-1122.

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