By Raiza Giorgi
Rashelle Monet loves dogs of all kinds, and when she took in a shelter dog that was aggressive, she worked with him for several years to keep him calm.
“I lived on Trigo Street in Isla Vista and was home when the Isla Vista shootings happened. It was a traumatic time and I think my dog sensed my stress level. The training we had worked so hard on disappeared, and he would get loud any time someone walked by, which was all the time,” Monet said.
The situation with her dog ended up getting her evicted. She had to re-home her dog with a friend in northern California, but she said the experience sparked an idea that has turned into a business.
“I had no way to keep him in one spot, and I don’t believe that crating is a good idea because they can’t access food and water or be touched,” Monet said.
When she moved to her new house in Goleta she enrolled at Santa Barbara City College and took one business class that changed her future.
Monet came up with the idea for a dog bed that helps train dogs and prevent bad behavior, as well as immobilize them while recovering from injuries or surgeries.
“I started going to shelters to ask managers why dogs get put up for adoption and I saw UMBii. He had a severe case of mange and they were going to put him down, as mange takes a long time to heal and he had a low chance of being adopted. I needed a puppy to train on my bed idea and brought him home,” Monet said.
The UMBii bed, she notes, is easy to transport and clean. It suctions to the ground so it won’t move around, and it includes a harness to keep the dog on the bed when necessary.
“It can last the entire lifetime of the dog, as the bed is chew- and water-resistant. The cover can be easily removed and cleaned and the bed can be utilized for training, then as a bed for the duration, or if the dog is injured can help recovery time,” Monet said.
The harness runs through the bottom of the bed and when the dog tries to get off, it pulls the dog back into a sitting position, Monet explained.
A longtime veterinarian and entrepreneur herself, Dr. Kerri Marshall said that she met Monet while doing a video conference at Impact Hub. When the two discussed the UMBii bed, Marshall was quick to help endorse the product.
Both Marshall’s parents were veterinarians in Lompoc, and she practiced for many years after getting her education at University of Washington. Marshall’s extensive background includes building Banfield Pet Hospitals, being chief veterinary officer for Trupanion Inc., and developing PetWare, a software that communicates pets’ medical records.
“Rashelle has a solid idea and she has spent years cultivating her product. As a veterinarian I do not advise crates as they are restrictive and can do more damage if a pet has a bone injury or a cast. I actually own an UMBii, and my dog prefers it to her other beds,” Marshall said.
John Sorosky has been an animal trainer for more than 30 years with Camp Canine in Santa Barbara, and he has been working with the UMBii bed in his training.
“The UMBii bed helps me achieve the perfect mix of control and freedom in my puppy training program. The well-balanced training program is a mix of teaching proper behaviors and also appropriate ‘stay,’ quiet time. The UMBii bed is an ingenious innovation that makes raising a good puppy so much easier,” Sorosky said.
Monet said the business is a collaboration with several people who started as her advisors and have grown to be integral to the success of UMBii. David Machacek is a start-up consultant and career coach; Louis Izzo is a business consultant and new-product development director.
“These two along with Julie Samson at the Scheinfeld Center have been so encouraging, and I couldn’t have come this far without them,” Monet said.
Monet says she is nearing a deal with one of the largest pet store chains, as well as partnering with a manufacturer of dog cones. Her product is available at two shops locally — the Pet House in Goleta and the Montecito Pet Shop.
For more information on UMBii, log onto www.umbii.com or follow her on Facebook or Instagram, @lifewithumbii.