When times are hard and our lives seem chaotic or unfair…we can count on our pets to bring a smile to our faces. Especially as business leaders in our community, life can be pretty demanding, but owning a pet actually brings about health benefits that get us through the thick of it. For example, studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to the owners. Pets also bring out the child-like love in all of us…have you ever seen a big, tough, grown man melt at the sight of a puppy and start talking in a baby voice? It’s hard to be angry when there’s a cute animal in the room. This is why many employers promote pets in the workplace, and there are many professions that can’t allow pets because of the specific industry they are in, but they really wish they could. Pets create camaraderie within the workplace and spark interactions that may not have happened without them. They can also offer a much-needed distraction. According to an article by the University of Southern California on The Benefits of Bringing Pets to Work, spending too much time too close to a project, problem, or other work can inhibit productivity and cause unnecessary stress. Pets remind people to pause and step back from whatever they are involved in. Short walks, a little playtime, and temporary distractions allow mental breaks so as not to overwork and become stressed.

At Strictly Business, we believe people choose to do business with people they know, like, and trust. As almost every pet owner can attest, their furry friend(s) play a big role in their lives. Getting to “meet” these business leaders’ pets gives us a little look into their hearts and homes. We’re excited as this is the first time we are highlighting Lincoln businesses and their pets as a stand-alone feature in the magazine, but we look forward to doing it again in the future, and getting even more leaders involved. Who doesn’t love photos of cute dogs and cats? Reach out to us if you’d like to introduce your pet(s) to all our readers while promoting your business!

Katie Titterington, store manager of Arnie’s Pet Food Store (www.arniespetfoods.com) and Wild Bird Habitat Store, rescued her dog Toby three years ago. He is about seven years old and believed to be a Border Collie mix. He is a horrible watch dog because he lovingly welcomes every person without hesitation. When they go to the dog park or the store, Toby greets people first over other dogs. He is not a barker, thank goodness, and loves his three cats—Oliver, Oscar, and Meechi. He must not have been played with in his younger years so toys are not his thing, but he is very treat-driven. Some of his favorites include Vital Essentials Bully Twists and Honey I’m Home Buffalo Honey Sticks (found at Arnie’s!).

When Katie and her dad David Titterington opened Arnie’s Pet Food Store over four years ago, the local community welcomed them with open arms. Having Toby and, previously, their dog Arnie made them more aware of pet health. The knowledge and training they have acquired over these past few years has made them more passionate about learning how to help animals. Learn more about the products at Arnie’s by visiting the store, 5601 S 56th St., or go online to www.arniespetfoods.com.

MJ Cassner is the owner of Transworld Business Advisors of Lincoln (tworld.com/Lincoln). MJ’s dog Princess is a Maltese mix and a lively addition to the Cassner family. She jumps high, does twirls, and oh does she love a tummy rub! The family purchased Princess from a friend a few months into COVID when the family wanted a pet. She wears a pink tutu with “Spoiled Princess” written on the back. How appropriate! Princess truly is spoiled with love. She has brought a ray of sunshine into an otherwise dark year.

Transworld Business Advisors is the worldwide leader in business and franchise brokerage. When a company owner needs to sell their business, they can’t just stick a for sale sign in the window. They need the assistance of a business broker to locate and vet potential buyers. On the other side, buyers rely on the broker to help facilitate the process of evaluating potential businesses and franchises for sale. A Transworld Business Advisor is the solution for both scenarios. To learn more about buying or selling a business with Transworld, visit tworld.com/Lincoln or contact MJ at (402) 413-1095 or mjcassner@tworld.com.

Coco is a nine-year-old rescue dog who owns Dr. Bob Bleicher, medical director of HoriSun Hospice (www.horisunhospice.com). Coco brings smiles to everyone she encounters, from HoriSun staff and their patients to the patients’ families and caregivers. She is also known (pre-pandemic) to visit senior living communities, bringing joy to many residents.

HoriSun Hospice has been assisting individuals facing a life-limiting illness since 2004. Their mission is to care for hospice patients and their loved ones with honor, dignity, and respect. Dr. Bleicher has practiced medicine in Lincoln for over 35 years with more than 25 years of hospice medical direction. He strongly believes in compassionate care with attention to patients’ and families’ physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. To learn more about Horisun Hospice, visit www.horisunhospice.com.

This is Chip, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix. Christy Merritt, executive director at The Waterford Communities (thewaterford.net), went through Wag N Train Terrier Rescue in Omaha and adopted him about nine years ago. Christy was Chip’s fourth home. He had a rough start in life, but the Merritts were a match made in heaven. One of Chip’s favorite toys is his tennis ball, and he enjoys jeep rides with mom and the occasional McChicken sandwich. You can find Chip sleeping just about anywhere the family is—and Christy has a big family so there’s always someone willing to share a snack or a hug.

The Waterford Communities is made up of three communities that offer assisted living and memory care to seniors in the Lincoln community. You can take virtual tours online at thewaterford.net.

Garrett Rech, son of Delta Nelson who owns The Mechanix Garage in Lincoln (mechanixgarage.com), is the proud owner of Zeus. Garrett has grown up working for the family business, and Zeus has become the ultimate shop dog—it’s a great place for him to work off his puppy energy. He is a mix between an American Staffordshire Terrier crossed with a Bull Nose Pitbull. His personality ranges from being a major goofball, chasing his tail constantly, to wanting to do nothing but cuddle up next to you. Zeus almost always has a smile on his face. His favorite toys are bones and empty bottles (which are a lot cheaper to come by!).

The Mechanix Garage is located at 1323 Dawes Ave. Go to them for a full range of automotive repair services (and to say hi to Zeus!). Focused on honesty and integrity, they’ll never tell you something needs fixing when it doesn’t and they’ll never tell you they fixed something that they didn’t. Book online at the mechanixgarage.com or call (531) 249-1899.

Ben and Andrea Bleicher, team leaders of Professional Realty Group (PRG) of Woods Bros Realty (PRG-NE.com), are the happy owners of Lola, a four-year-old Pomchi (Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix). Lola came into Ben and Andrea’s lives four years ago when she was just a tiny fluffball of fur. She has a really silly personality and loves little kids, especially Ben and Andrea’s seven-year-old daughter Brynnlee. They cuddle every night! Lola also likes to lay on top of Andrea’s pregnant tummy like she’s protecting the baby, and she constantly follows Andrea everywhere. The mailman and other visitors can’t miss Lola…she yaps and yaps when visitors approach, but she soon warms up to them and just wants to snuggle!

Ben and Andrea run one of the most successful Real Estate teams in Lincoln—Professional Realty Group of Woods Bros. Their family of agents specialize in all aspects of Real Estate but have very extensive knowledge of new construction. With a strong understanding of the real-estate market, PRG of Woods Bros aids clients in getting into their dream homes as quickly and painlessly as possible. To learn more, visit PRG-NE.com or call/text Ben at (402) 419-6309.

Colleen Clark and Tom Ryan are the owners of Camp Bow Wow Lincoln (www.campbowwow.com/lincoln). They have three Yorkies—Zena, Zeppelin, and Zara—and a Shih Tzu/Maltese mix named Sasha! Zena is 11 years old. At 4 pounds, she is a total Energizer Bunny! Zeppelin is 8 years old. He’s tiny but has the personality of a Great Dane. Zara is six years old and can jump a 4-foot wall. Sasha is the same age as Zeppelin, and she’s really the leader of the pack. Her princess personality puts everyone in place at times! The group of them keep Colleen and Tom really busy, not to mention running a business on top of it all.

When Colleen and Tom saw how professional, caring, and fun Camp Bow Wow was, they knew it was the business for them. Camp Bow Wow is a premier dog care facility that provides daycare, overnight boarding, and grooming. Whether you need help for the day or longer, they can accommodate your needs. Your dog will have the freedom to run, play, and romp in the large climate-controlled play yards. It is the only place in town where you can check in on your pup from afar via live web cams. Treat your pet to all-inclusive fun at one convenient rate at Camp Bow Wow. They are located at 56th and Old Cheney. Learn more at www.campbowwow.com/lincoln.

Meet Theodore Han Becker, a purebred Boxer named after BancWise (bancwise.com/agent/jayson-becker) REALTOR Jayson Becker’s son Sam’s favorite president, Theodore Roosevelt, and his favorite Star Wars character, Han Solo. Theo, for short, was born July 31, 2017 and given as a Christmas present to Sam. Theo is nothing short of a barrel of energy and is always so glad to see the Becker family when they get home from a long day at work or school. Theo loves his walks and enjoys destroying tennis balls, digging up sprinkler heads, and laying in front of the space heater in the winter time. Theo is a celebrity in the Becker’s neighborhood. All the neighbors who walk by know him by name and get a kick out of him running along the fence line barking like he’s nuts. As much of a pain in the butt is he is sometimes, they wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Jayson jumped into the real estate world about 10 years ago. He is proud to lead a team under the BancWise Realty name. They specialize in residential and commercial real estate, development, and new construction. Jayson is known for getting results for buyers and sellers. To learn more, contact Jayson at (402) 610-1013 / jbecker@bancwise.com or bancwise.com/agent/jayson-becker.

This is Carla Schroeder, wife of CBD American Shaman (cbdoflincoln.com) Owner Lance Schroeder, and their dog Molly. Molly is a Chiweenie and will be 12 years old in July. She is a bit camera shy, though Lance and Carla have no idea why as they’ve had her since she was a puppy. Still, she acts as if the camera is going to hurt her. As soon as the camera is gone, she starts wagging her tail and running around again. Molly is such a sweet, caring dog. She is a little bit of a drama queen, at times. She definitely knows how to work a room to get what she wants! Molly’s facial expressions are hilarious. Her favorite hobbies include sleeping and getting treats. She actually knows what times she is supposed to get her treats, so she will definitely remind you if you forget! Molly is truly loved by Carla, Lance, and the CBD American Shaman family here in Lincoln. Her favorite CBD product is the Canine Tincture. She takes it twice a day to help with joint health.

CBD American Shaman of Lincoln has dozens of CBD products aimed at helping your pets relax, manage stress, and provide relief and overall wellness. American Shaman CBD products for pets are all made from high-quality and terpene-rich pure hemp extract, and all of their CBD pet products are made with non-GMO hemp, grown in the USA, powered by their proprietary nanotechnology and lab-tested to ensure that they meet or exceed purity and potency standards. To learn more, go to cbdoflincoln.com or visit one of the three locations in Lincoln.

Meet Jacque Rico, an agent for Compensation Programs, Inc (ComPro Insurance, comproins.com), and her Chihuahuas, Goldie, Peanut, and Pepper! Jacque actually got Goldie at a McDonald’s drive thru and Peanut and Pepper are her kiddos. Like all Chihuahuas, they get easily excited and like to bark, bark, bark! One of their favorite things is going to the dog park. Jacque’s sweet puppy Pepper prefers to get carried as they walk along the trail, though. A fun fact…they go crazy for chicken jerky!

As an agent at ComPro, Jacque helps clients find just the right fit for their health insurance plan. She answers questions and gives assistance every step of the way and beyond. Jacque truly enjoys helping people in this way. Being fluent in Spanish, she can also offer this service to the Hispanic community. At ComPro, their clients affirm that it is very reassuring to work with professionals they can trust to walk them through the often times confusing world of health insurance. Let the team at ComPro help you connect the dots for your health insurance plan! Call (402) 488-5100 or visit comproins.com.

Chris Dwinell is a business broker for Transworld Business Advisors of Lincoln (tworld.com/Lincoln) and thinks working with her best friend Jameson by her side every day is about the best thing about her work. Although he’s not the best at answering the phone, he is a great companion and a comfortable foot stool as he lays under her desk. Jameson is a Bernese Mountain dog that Chris and her husband Dave rescued two and a half years ago when he was found, just three months old, near a breeders farm in a ditch with a broken leg. Since the leg never healed properly, it stopped growing so it is about two inches shorter than the rest and probably accounts for the fact that he stopped growing altogether at about nine months. Although he is big, he is not the alpha male…as you can see, the older dog in the house wouldn’t even let Jameson take a picture alone with Chris.

The reason people call Transworld to help them buy or sell businesses or franchises is that the process can often be very complicated and Transworld is able to handle everything from confidential marketing to the closing. That lets business owners who want to sell focus on keeping their business profitable and confidentially find qualified buyers. If you want to know more about how to sell your business, buy a business, start a franchise, or buy an existing one, call Chris at (402) 802-2288. If Jameson answers, just tell him to transfer.