Win a paw-tographed copy of this book at the end of this post!
I recently read about a new book titled “Jack’s Journey USA”, by local San Diego dog business owner, Dawn Celapino of Leash Your Fitness (aka Jack’s mom). Here’s a bit about the book from Amazon: “Read how one little dog inspired his mom to not only live out a dream but change the course of her life! It started with a dog fitness company and turned into an adventurous journey around the USA. Together they traveled to 25 states, over 10,000 miles in 10 weeks in their custom RV named Spirit. They hiked, paddle boarded, met new friends, taught dog fitness classes and just had FUN! Join them on their journey and allow them to INSPIRE you to travel in this beautiful country, live your dreams and try new activities..with your DOG!”
Of course, I had to order the book right away, and get it pawtographed by Jack! I’m now halfway through the book and especially enjoy the humorous notes from Jack’s point of view in every chapter.
In case you haven’t heard of Leash Your Fitness, it is the only fitness company in the country that incorporates hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping, yoga, trail running, upper & lower body classes, and original boot camp classes…all with your dog! I’ve taken their dog yoga class which I enjoyed not only for the workout, but also loved being surrounded by such a great community of dog moms and their dogs. My friend Missy and her mom are big fans of Leash Your Fitness, too! This company gives back to the pet community by having fundraisers such as the Fido’s Fit 5K Thanksgiving charity walk that my dog Tawny and I participated in last year, which raised over $1400 for Animal Rescuers Without Borders. Hooray!
Here is a short Q&A Dawn graciously answered during her hectic book launch month.
Jen: Tell us a little about yourself: What do you do? What made you decide to start this career, how long have you been doing it, and what was your training like?
Dawn: I am a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I have a degree in Kinesiology from San Diego State. I became a fitness instructor in 1997 after I moved to California from Maryland. I was a full time x-ray tech at the time and after moving to sunny California, I did not want to be inside all day. I was really interested in training and nutrition and I met a nutritionist through one of my patients. I started working with her & one thing led to another and I became a certified Personal Trainer. I wanted to help people stay OUT of the hospitals by helping them to get and stay healthy. I believe in being pro-active and making exercise fun so you WANT to do it!
Jen: I love fitness and dogs, so I think Leash Your Fitness is a really amazing concept and business! What is one of your favorite things about owning Leash Your Fitness?
Dawn: Seeing the results that the people AND the dogs get from being part of our fitness family. We have created a huge network and it is super fun to watch people try new activities with their dog and love it! If you find something that you love, it does not feel like working out. We started with bootcamp classes but then we started adding all kinds of other activities like camping, kayaking, hiking, trail running, dog yoga and now stand up paddleboarding (SUPing). We have something for everyone!! I love the people in our group. They are very inspiring and they love to help others as much as I do!
Jen: I’m sure everyone wants to know more about Jack! How did he come into your life? Is he your only pet? Can you tell us more about him?
Dawn: Jack is my best friend. He is a 11 year old Cairn Terrier. I got him when he was 3 months old. Our first hiking trip in the snow was to Mammoth when he was only 4 months old and we have been non-stop ever since! We love to be together and he is super fun to be active with. He inspired me to start Leash Your Fitness because I never wanted to leave him when I worked out. He has hiked the second tallest mountain in the lower 48 states with me, swam in 34 states, been in surf contests, won dock diving medals and of course hiked, SUPed, kayaked and trail run all over the country! I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my only dog and I have no intentions on getting another one. He is super independent & perfect for my lifestyle. There will never be another Jack. I love him with all of my heart.
Jen: Congratulations on publishing a book about your 10-week road trip across the US! How did you get the idea to do a road trip, and write a book about it?
Dawn: I was hiking with Jack in Solvang, CA in March, 2014. We hiked to the top of the mountain and it was simply beautiful. I took a video of it and posted it on our You Tube channel so others could enjoy the view! I said to Jack, “Wouldn’t it be cool so get a RV and hike together all over the country & inspire others to do active things with their dogs?”. I literally went home and within a month, bought a RV and started planning the trip! It was an interesting process and crazy how everything came together once I set my intention. After the trip, I did a few talks about my trip at local businesses and everyone kept telling me I should write a book about it. So I did!!
Jen: What was your favorite part of your trip?
Dawn: My favorite part of the trip was the entire trip!! Everything went so well that it was creepy at times! I met a ton of super cool people, I stayed in many beautiful places, we hiked some amazing hikes, SUPed all over the country and I was with Jack 24 / 7. We were never apart! THAT was the best part!
Jen: If someone is looking to take a road trip with their dog, what is one piece of advice you would give them?
Dawn: That is why I have 20 tips on my website [Click here and sign up in the email box on the right to get the tips] because there are a few things that you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable trip. I will give you two! One: make sure your dog likes to ride in the car. Take little trips first. Two: make sure where you are going is dog friendly. Many State and National Parks do not allow dogs on the trails.
Jen: Do you have any advice for people thinking about writing and publishing a book?
Dawn: Do it!! Everyone has a story in them. Even though you think that your story has already been told, it hasn’t been told by YOU!! There have been a couple other books about traveling with your dog across the country but NOBODY had an experience like Jack and I did! It is not often you see a 48 year old woman with a 10 year old dog in a custom RV that says “JackJourneyUSA” on the sides of it with graphics of super fun activities. Our story is much different from anyone else and so will yours. You can self publish super easy these days. I actually wrote out all of the steps as I took them and I am going to publish a little e-book about the process so others won’t make the same mistake that I made. But I would highly encourage anyone to write a book!
Jen: Is Jack doing any book signing events in the future? Can I get my copy of the book paw-tographed?
Dawn: Yes, we have a few on the books. One is a Cairn Terrier event in Fallbrook on June 4th and we will be at Dexter’s Deli in Del Mar on June 12th talking about the journey and paw-tographing books! Jack will be happy to Paw-tograph a book for you!
If anyone wants a Paw-tographed book, he will be happy to get you one and the books are also available on Amazon via kindle or paperback. I would also like to offer your readers a FREE Leash Your Fitness class so that they can experience what we are all about and meet Jack! They can go to our website at LeashYourFitness.com and sign up on our schedule and put in “first class” at checkout. If they follow us on our Leash Your Fitness Facebook and Instagram pages they can see all of the fun that we have and maybe it will inspire them to try new activities WITH their dog!
Jen: Thank you, Dawn!
Guess what? Dawn also gave me a paw-tographed copy of the book to giveaway to one lucky reader! Enter to win below!
If you’d like to be featured in a guest post, contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org