Animals add joy and dimension to life. They bring personality and companionship in many forms. An animal comforts, never judges and is the ideal stress reliever after a hard day at the office or out on the farm. For some prominent businessmen and women in the community, animals play an integral part in the inspiration for their line of work and make the day lighter with laughter and personal stories that warm the heart.
Lylah Ledner and Her Goats
Dogs are known as man’s best friend—but how about goats? Owner of the Simple Farm Lylah Ledner is convinced that goats are the perfect confidante when raised right.
“We live in a livestock zone, so obtaining this property meant it was only right to include goats," she says. "They are so amazing and sometimes get a bad reputation. All of our goats are hand-raised with constant interactions. They holler in the morning to communicate with us, and they want us to know if something isn’t right. Crow’s Dairy in Buckeye has been our mentor, helping me learn through the trials and tribulations since the beginning, and that has been key to learning their personalities and helping them feel safe and cared for."
Lylah's first herd of goats came from Black Mesa Ranch, and now they breed each fall. Simple Farm breeds to get goat’s milk, which is used on the farm in various ways.
“We make our own caramels with goat’s milk. There was a confectionary shop in France, and we’d go every other day to eat their caramels while on vacation there. They were soft, buttery and creamy, and it sparked an interest,” she says.
Simple Farm caramels went on to become a finalist in the top 5 percent of 1,500 food producers at the Good Food Award contest. Lylah also uses goat milk in the farm’s skincare line.
“The goat’s milk makes our cleansing bars more ph-balanced to your skin. Goat’s milk has vitamins A, C, D and E and is naturally moisturizing.”
Lylah participates in the birthing process of new goats every step of the way, without a vet. She ultrasounds them to know how things are progressing, and she and her team are always there when the goats give birth in case there are complications. She believes in the constant human connection when raising goats.
“We need to understand goats are livestock, not a dog or cat, but they are very relational, and they are pets to us," she says. "Hazel is our queen. She lets us know if the gate is closed and the family isn’t together. They have a beautiful symbiotic relationship with our dog, Winny, which is so wonderful to see. With the right support, a goat owner can be successful. The fellowship of goat owners is phenomenal—people who have dairy goats help and support each other like I have never experienced."
Dylan Thomas and His Dog, Axe
Those who can meet the demanding schedule of an account manager while working from home are a rare breed. And therefore, there is no better companion for the North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine Account Manager Dylan Thomas than his standard schnauzer, Axe.
“One of the incredible perks of my career is working from home and getting to be with my pup all day! I grew up with dogs around and always loved seeing their personalities change throughout their lives. I bought Axe in Portland, Oregon, about two years ago on Halloween, and he is athletic, attentive, incredibly smart, and genuinely the nicest dog I have ever owned. He certainly doesn't make for much of a guard dog, but he sure fits the calling of being man’s best friend,” Dylan says.
Due to the at-home lifestyle Dylan's job at the magazine affords him, he is able to toss a ball down the hall between phone calls to Axe, tiring the pup out just enough to sleep under the desk where Dylan works.
“No matter what, he never leaves my side.”
Being a part of the Lifestyle family here in Arizona has allowed Dylan the opportunity to immerse himself in the culture that makes the North Scottsdale community so unique.
“If I'm not on my phone or computer with work, I love to take my Jeep out four-wheeling or go shooting at C2 Tactical," he says. "Aside from that, you can catch me playing a variety of sports, and of course, I also love how pet-friendly our community is.”
Dylan loves waking up to Axe leaving the dog bed for the comfort of his human bed and always loves coming home to a smiling, excited pup.
Joshua Apodaca and His Dogs
The summer heat can mean boredom and indoor time for dogs unless they are lucky enough to have a yard with artificial grass to relax on. This was a major source of inspiration for businessman Joshua Apodaca.
The owner of Artificial Grass Masters has three dogs of his own, a Chihuahua and two American bulldogs, who love the outdoors.
“Dogs always go to the common areas of a yard to stay cool on the grass," he says. "That grass is inevitably going to turn yellow and not grow, and it’s the area we work so hard to beautify. It also means the dogs will track mud into the house and you will need to fill in the dead areas all the time. Artificial grass takes care of all these issues, and I am glad to help clients make their yard low-maintenance."
Joshua says his dogs typically are respectful of the artificial grass because it is their little piece of heaven. He enjoys bathing them on the turf as well, as it won’t leave a lingering odor and they can run around after without bringing a mess indoors.
Joshua is always looking for ways to care for his dogs as well as taking in dogs and rehabilitating them to find good long-term homes.
“People get rid of dogs because separation anxiety often leads to messes and bad behavior," he says. "What people need to understand is that dogs are wired to want love and attention. "They also need access to facilities, water, food and activity."
Joshua understands that an outdoor lifestyle is crucial for a dog to relax and exercise. Artificial grass can get hot and melt in certain areas of the yard, but Artificial Grass Masters offers solar shades which allow dogs to hang out on the grass even in the extreme Arizona heat because it will stay cool.
“People don’t always understand pets, but they understand us," he says. "They love us unconditionally. We need to make sure they are happy and have a space they can enjoy because they are so good for our hearts and souls.”