(1 of 3) This colorful business card was designed by our son Mike. Surrounded by a dog and cat, the "Hugger-guy" became the icon for our retirement business. He appeared in the yellow pages, the local newspaper and on a brochure featured in area pet stores.
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If you have read this narrative closely, you will note I had worked to earn money virtually from the time I was in junior high school. Finally, in 1993, there came a time to call it quits. KFWB was offering older employees a very generous incentive to retire early ... a bonus of one full year's pay and benefits. Carolyn and I had planned for retirement and we decided then ... at the age of 60 ... it was the time to do it.

I was very concerned. Retirement conjures up the image of an old man sitting around in boredom waiting to die. In many cases, that's what happens. That was 12 years ago and there hasn't been time for boredom yet.

Carolyn and I had a good package of retirement savings and pensions but at age 60, we weren't quite old enough to draw on all our assets. So, we decided to start a business. While browsing the internet, Carolyn stumbled on an idea. Why not start a pet-sitting business? We would visit petowners' homes when they traveled, feeding their animals, checking their mail, and generally watching out for the client's home while they were away on a trip.

I dreamed up the business name ... Pet Huggers ... while I still worked at KFWB. In October 1993, we started 'hugging'. It was a fabulous experience. We learned to do the things any small business owner must do. Using the computer, we did accounting, created databases with information about our growing list of clients, and scheduled all the visits on a special calendar so that we wouldn't overlook any little doggy or kitty that needed a visit.

Mike created business cards and a beautiful brochure we used to publicize the business. Pet Huggers was a huge success ... bigger than we ever dreamed it would be. To this day, we still exchange Christmas cards with several of our former clients. As my heart condition worsened, we figured the time to sell the business had come. It certainly served its purpose, though. We made the extra cash we needed in the early retirement years. And it was anything but boring.

I have a hobby ... model railroading ... but in retirement there never seems to be enough time for it! This old man is not sitting around waiting to die in retirement.