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A Dog-Lover's <em>Other</em> Best Friend

Dogs--and their owners--are helping this entrepreneur fetch some serious profits.

This story appears in the March 2009 issue of Start Up.

What: Online networking communities for dog-lovers
Who: Sheryl Matthys of Leashes and Lovers
Where:
When: Started in 2003
Startup costs: Less than $1,000

Sheryl Matthys was born to be in the spotlight. After graduating from Butler University, she worked for several TV and radio stations before moving to New York City to work on industrial videos as a commercial actress. But it wasn't until 2001, when she got her first greyhound dog, Shiraz, that Matthys, 45, found inspiration--and a new calling. She developed and launched a website, Leashes and Lovers, a social community for people who can't get enough of their canine friends, and hosted dog-friendly cocktail parties all across the city to help launch the site. Leashes and Lovers is designed to connect dog-lovers and provide them with a sense of community, a place where they can set up doggie play dates and find charity and sponsored events. The site also offers a social networking feature called FetchaFriend. You can set up a profile for yourself and even your dog.

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