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Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

He sometimes wonders what might have happened if he had said yes.





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This month on Behind the Pages, host Keith Miller speaks with Daniel Lentz, one of the founders of Aquapaw, a pet bathing product that achieved notoriety when it was featured on Shark Tank earlier this year.

Aquapaw is a palm-sized dog scrubber and sprayer that attaches to the hand, allowing users to handle their dogs (or other animals) with both hands. The product was featured on Shark Tank in January 2019, and received received investment offers from three of the Sharks (Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Bethenny Frankel). After several rounds of offers and counter-offers, however, the Aquapaw team walked away without a deal.

With Aquapaw now more firmly established, Daniel’s current goal is to build a line of pet bath products that make bathing time easier and less stressful, for both users and their pets (3:00).

Daniel discusses the initial concept of Aquapaw, which he came up with in college at Virginia Tech in the early 2000s. He and Keith discuss the process of taking a product from idea to prototype to salable product (4:00). While the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter played a large role in Aquapaw’s initial launch, Daniel warns how the platform has become a place where counterfeiters and copycats troll looking for innovative product ideas to steal (7:00).

Keith and Daniel also discuss consumer and pet brands worth emulating (8:30), taking a moment to rave about the awesome-smelling lavender-scented poop bags from Earth Rated (9:35).


The two then discuss Aquapaw’s appearance on Shark Tank (10:05), the excitement and benefits of being on the show, and why Daniel and his partner eventually turned down the offer from the show’s investors.

Finally, Daniel responds to a few questions from readers of PETS+:

  • Marilyn in Alaska asks what keeps the Aquapaw team pushing to create new products (13:20)
  • Josie in Maine asks what Daniel’s best advice for someone creating a new pet product (14:40)
  • Ken in Michigan asks whether the Aquapaw partners got to hang out with the Sharks after the show (15:40)

New episodes of Behind the Pages will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Behind the Pages on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 14 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at



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Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Keith discusses handling millennial staff with self-described “happiness junkie” Maggie Baker.





Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts | Spotify

HOW CAN a pet business owner locate, attract and keep millennial employees long-term?

That’s the subject of the third episode of “Behind the Pages”, the PETS+ podcast hosted by Keith Miller, who owns four Bubbly Paws dog washes in the Minneapolis, MN area.

For the podcast, Keith reaches out to consultant Maggie Baker, who specializes in building employee engagement and developing company culture at businesses around the country, including the San Francisco SPCA. Maggie, 34, calls herself “the Happy Millennial” and can be found on Instagram @happymillennialamags.

In the discussion, Maggie describes herself as a “happiness junkie” (1:20), and claims to have read every book about happiness ever published. She and Keith discuss employee happiness surveys, which Keith has recently implemented with Bubbly Paws, admitting that the first time he did one, he was scared “crapless” (4:15).

Maggie discusses the characteristics of millennials (5:50), nothing that the current millennial age range is 23 to 39. She’s tired of hearing how terrible employee millennials can be (6:30), claiming that within the next two years they will make up 50% of the workforce. “You’ve had enough time to make fun of us,” says Maggie. “Now let’s come together in the workplace. We’ll do some things our way, some things your way, and we’ll reach a really happy compromise in the middle.”

Maggie and Keith discuss engagement strategies, including preferred modes of communication. In his business, Keith has learned that sending emails is a no-no (7:50). His younger employees just don’t use emails as much as he does. “Half the staff is … ‘Can you just text me?’”says Keith. (Not to mention the one staff member who asked Keith to send him his work schedule on Snapchat.

In the reader question section of the podcast, one PETS+ reader asks how a small store without a big budget can make millennials happy (13:40). Besides pizza and/or donuts, Maggie says one key is flexibility in scheduling PTO (personal time off).

Then see how Keith and Maggie respond when another pet business owner asks if he should block Instagram and Snapchat on his company wifi in an effort to force employees to focus on their work (16:00).

Finally, in response to another reader question on where to find millennial employees, you’ll hear the creative solution Keith used when he needed to fill a bunch of groomer positions in his businesses and couldn’t find candidates on Craigslist, Monster or LinkedIn (20:00).

New episodes of Behind the Pages will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Behind the Pages on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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