HARRISBURG – It all started with a rat terrier.
Now, most of what Harrisburg's Tom Maynor does for a living involves dogs in some form or fashion – to the point that his business is called Southern Illinois Superior K-9.
But, it's a natural progression for a person who has always had an affinity for dogs, Maynor says.
"My first dog was a rat terrier, and Bill Trees gave it to me," Maynor said.
Trees, now deceased, was a Harrisburg High School biology teacher.
"I was about 12 years old, and my grandma had said, 'No dog,' but she ended up getting really attached," he said, recalling that first pup.
Today, Maynor, along with his wife Sadi and his sons Lance and Max, have a German shepherd, a Czech shepherd and a Belgian Malinois – dogs more traditionally associated with police work.
Maynor trains police dogs, as well as offering search-and-rescue training and bomb detection training.
As a young deputy, Maynor said he got the idea to get into dog handling for law enforcement. The county, though, didn't have the funding at the time, he said.
"So, I decided I would raise the money myself," he said.
He asked for donations and said he even put containers out for coin donations at gas stations. When he raised half the of the money needed, the county decided it would pay the remaining half. The first dog led to a 7-year law enforcement career as a canine handler.
He continued to work with dogs while taking other careers as well. The new jobs, though, didn't bring the satisfaction, he said.
"Basically, my family said, 'we want you to be happy, and we'll do whatever we need to so you are,'" he said.
When a building in Harrisburg became available for lease, he took the opportunity, he said.
Monday was the first day in the new location, which is No. 6 Veterans Drive in Harrisburg. He worked with several client dogs that day, and said he has plans to expand his offerings in the next month.
"Over the next 30 days, I plan to be offering grooming, doggie daycare, boarding and normal lessons," he said.
He's excited about the so-called doggie daycare because he said it's a growing trend in pet care.
"When I was in northern Indiana, it was really big in the city up there," he said. "It's a way people who work all day can leave their dog with someone who will look after it and let it socialize in a cage-free environment," he said.
Besides working with dogs, his law enforcement background also led him to become an Illinois-certified conceal carry trainer. He offers classes in a separate room at the Veterans Drive facility.
Also, Maynor said he currently is offering shirts with his logo for sale to promote another popular law enforcement activity – Shop with a Cop. T-shirts are $15 and hoodies are $22, with all proceeds going to the Shop with a Cop program, he said.
For more information, call Maynor at (618) 499-4788 or visit Southern Illinois Superior K-9 on Facebook.