ANNOUNCEMENT FROM BRYAN
Dear Friends & Family,
I hope this letter finds you and your pets happy and healthy. It’s strange to compose an announcement regarding Appalachian Tails without Tuck by my side. After being inseparable during our 14-year journey, doing anything without him is still bitterly unfamiliar.
Tuckerman came into my life in the fall of 2003. He was incredibly cute and charming but it was the profound and nearly instantaneous bond between us that changed my life. Leaving him each day was painful for me and his expressive eyes and defeated body language as he watched me get ready for work left no doubt that the grief was mutual. That was more than I could bear.
So, I quit my career and launched a business – Appalachian Tails – in order to be with him every day. Almost everyone thought I was crazy. I was. Crazy for Tuckerman.
Opening a business – in many ways – is crazy. It is no secret that most new businesses fail within the first year of operations. But I was fortunate to find a phenomenal business partner and mentor and, after an enormous amount of work, we took the plunge.
Twelve years later, we are still here helping others care for their animals and supporting our local community. We beat the odds. Even within our industry, Appalachian Tails is highly regarded; distributors and manufacturers from around the U.S.A. partner with us based on mutual trust and respect. It is a testament to how special it is. I give all the credit and thanks to my business partner and our team. I am so proud of what we accomplished. I hope that each of you – past and present team members – understand that you helped to create something special and exceedingly rare in today’s world; a business driven by integrity, not profits. Our team includes Sammy and Benny. You are loved and will always be part of our story.
I never imagined that July 31 would be the last day I had at the business with Tuckerman. He begged for treats all day, made his normal rounds exploring his store, happily greeted visitors and their dogs, did his therapy exercises on the stairs with me and even played fetch – he was himself. Suddenly he was gone the next day. I am blessed to be able to tell you that we were together, in our own living room, when he passed – cuddled comfortably on the floor, him enthusiastically taking treats from my hand and me rubbing his ears and telling him how incredible he was. We were in the company of two people I love and who both loved Tuck. I don’t think I’ll ever be over it, but it was as perfect as losing your best friend could be.
Missing him still consumes me every day. But beneath the grief, I’m filled with happiness, love and a renewed excitement for the future because my boy did it again. Before passing, Tuck had already once again changed the course of my life – which brings me to today’s announcement.
Appalachian Tail began with Tuckerman – and it ends with Tuckerman. I have made the decision to close the business and pursue the new adventure that he put into motion before his passing.
I cannot divulge what’s next (yet) but needless to say I’m excited, just as I was when I announced opening the business so many years ago. Because of Tuck, I now have years of invaluable experience, a deep appreciation of the human-canine bond, a new outlook on life and a new opportunity to help others in greater ways.
To our customers – there’s so much to say. But for now, let me just say from the bottom of my heart – Thank you. It was a pleasure to serve you. I did everything I could to give Tuck a good life and I hope that, in the process, Appalachian Tails improved your lives and the lives of the animals that you all cherish.
With your help, we will continue to use our business to give back to our community right until our last day of operations, which is planned for 11/24/17. I hope that you will stop in over the next month to help us end in the way we began – in a positive and exciting way. Come visit and help us clear out the barn; pick up some great food and products for your dogs and cats and contribute to our food drive for local dogs in need (our biggest ever!) We would love to see you, visit with your dogs and share stories. I know that what we stood for meant a lot to some of you. For sure, it has meant everything to me.
Extra special thanks to my business partner – without you none of this was possible and your generosity, guidance and love is deserving of so much more than I have ever known how to give. Thank you to our team and family who have been part of this incredible journey. It was one hell of an adventure.
I’ve already been asked, “Aren’t you sad about closing?”
Maybe my smile seems out of place. All I can say to that is that I am very fulfilled by the entire experience. Choosing to close is a very personal decision, just like opening was. And, just like when we opened, I am so excited for the future. There is no sadness. Just joy.
Appalachian Tails will always be a happy, wonderful and profound memory for me. Why? Because it was for the love of a dog.
It was for Tuckerman.