From the October 2005 issue of Startups

These days, a dog's life might not be so bad. In fact, our furry friends are so pampered, seat belts are being made for them, special toothpaste keeps their teeth pearly white and Petlane pet advisors across the country are holding parties in their honor. "Dogs are not just animals anymore," says Susan Aznoff. "They're actually four-legged members of the family." Susan, 47, and her husband, Dan, 50, are two animal-lovers who became pet advisors in March 2004.

Running the business out of the Bellevue, Washington, home they share with their cockatiel and two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, the Aznoffs haven't been monkeying around. They organize four to six "pawties" a month, where fellow pet-lovers gather to share pet stories and learn about Petlane's line of products. The company, which sells everything from cat beds to bird playgrounds, was started by Lane Nemeth, the person behind Discovery Toys. "When [people] hear the words 'pet pawty,' their eyes light up," says Dan. "People love talking about their pets." The Aznoffs also man Petlane booths at various trade shows and have built a team of 15 independent pet advisors who spread Petlane's name and products.

As busy as it all sounds, the Aznoffs pull all this off in their spare time. Not only do they both have other careers-Susan is a paralegal and Dan a writer-but they also devote several hours a week to various volunteer programs. Yet the duo has not lost ground. With individual 2005 sales expected to hit $20,000, and projected sales for their Petlane Pals team at $10,000 a month, of which they receive a percentage, the Aznoffs are proving that Petlane is more than a pet project. Says Susan, "We are passionate about what we do, we believe in the mission, and we're having fun."