'City Dog' is started after owner gets pup
When Brandie Ahlgren's interest in marketing research connected with her newfound love of dogs, she saw a business opportunity.
Ahlgren, a White Center resident, is founder, editor and publisher of a new quarterly publication called City Dog magazine. The first issue came out in June and includes a "dog's eye view" of West Seattle.
There are write-ups about walking your dog in Lincoln Park, Schmitz Park Preserve, Alki Beach Park and, of course, the off-leash dog area at Westcrest Park. The article also highlights other dog-friendly activities as well as animal hospitals, pet stores and groomers in West Seattle.
There's advice about proper training, weekend getaways with dogs, book reviews, and an article about how, despite being owned by loving families, many dogs grow up untrained, neglected and increasingly isolated.
Ahlgren's goal eventually is to distribute the magazine from Bellingham to Portland.
She started the new publication after buying an 8-week-old boxer she named Scout.
"It's from 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' my favorite book," Ahlgren said. "She's kind of goofy and tomboyish."
Ahlgren grew up in Juneau in a family that preferred cats. She'd never been around dogs before she bought Scout, so she had a lot to learn.
"I started talking to a ton of people," she said.
Soon she learned about the off-leash dog area at Westcrest Park, where she met many knowledgeable dog owners who shared canine tips and ideas with her.
Ahlgren realized there is a significant population of dog lovers in Western Washington and that a magazine could be a way to reach all the different segments of pooch culture.
Ahlgren previously worked at public relations and marketing in the Alaska cruise line business. She moved to Seattle about 10 years ago and started her own travel-related public relations firm about four years ago, so she knows how to promote her new publication.
She convinced pet-adoption agencies to include a copy of City Dog magazine in their adoption packets. She lined up pet stores that would sell the new publication. She set up booths at dog-related conventions and distributed postcards. For the past two years, she's also been marketing the magazine via an e-mail newsletter.
Scout is not Ahlgren's only pet. There's also a cat named Simon.
"Dog lovers are animal lovers," Ahlgren said. "I find dog lovers accept cats, but cat lovers don't accept dogs."
She holds owners responsible to see that their dogs are properly trained and cared for.
West Seattle is already a dog-friendly place, but it needs a dedicated swimming area for dogs somewhere along the shore, Ahlgren said.
Tim St. Clair can be reached at 932-0300 or at firstname.lastname@example.org