Kevin Tuohy is the owner and creator of Adrenaline Challenge Coins and NHL Challenge Coins which are collectable coins that major celebs, athletes and even Prime Ministers / Presidents own; It’s no wonder the challenge coin industry is worth over half a billion dollars a year!
So, how do challenge coins and pets/dogs relate?! Well, Animal Wellness chatted with Kevin, who is also a retired firefighter of 34 years, about that, and other animal-related subjects and tips for pet owners in case of a fire (since Kevin IS an expert)…
AW: To start off, explain to us why you love animals in general?
KT: Owning animals is like raising kids that never develop hormones or attitude (okay, except maybe cats!) Seriously though, animals do offer all of the qualities they are storied to have…unconditional love, companionship, trust. There is a responsibility to owning animals, but that obligation is minimal compared to the impact they have on your life. You have a companion, protector, sympathizer and more. I have always been a dog person, and I’ve always said that dogs are not pets, they are family, and if you don’t feel that way then maybe you should reconsider having one.
AW: Do you have any pets, or did you grow up with any?
KT: I have had dogs my entire life. As kids my sister had hamsters and mice as well, and when my wife and I were first together and living in an apartment we had a couple of cats, but dogs remain my first love. I’ve had breeds from labradors to beagles, an Australian shepherd, and mixed breeds. I currently own a Rat Terrier (Harley, she’s huge by Rat Terrier standards, coming in at 40 pounds) and an Airedale Terrier (Molly). As a kid my aunt introduced me to Airedales, and I have loved the breed ever since. She bred a strain known as Oorang Airedales, which are bigger than standard Airedales. Standard Airedales usually go about 65 pounds, while Oorangs can top 100 pounds. Within my family we have also had German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers and Pit Bulls. I have seen all of these breeds in all kinds of circumstances, and I continue to firmly believe there are no bad breeds, just bad owners.
AW: With your company Adrenaline Challenge Coins, have you ever made any pet-related type coins for people?
KT: We have made challenge coins for K-9 divisions of military, police and fire departments. We have been told that the proceeds from the sales of these challenge coins have helped pay for training and care for many of these dogs. Most of our challenge coin sales that have been related to animals have been more for the working class animals, although I think their owners would readily tell you these animals are pets as well. We have also made challenge coins for police horse mounted units.
AW: Why is charity so important to you and your company?
KT: I was lucky enough to spend my career in a field where watching out for one another was paramount. As firefighters we knew that not only were we all responsible for each other on the job, but if any of us became hurt, our brotherhood would see to it that our families were cared for. If a fellow firefighter is killed or seriously injured it is common to have work parties at this house to make sure all of the needs of the family are handled. We also routinely contribute to organizations that are there specifically to help those in need. I was also raised with the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I try to help when I can, and I hope the same would be done for me if I ever had a serious need. I have been lucky to have a decent life and to have never experienced a serious need…I believe we all share a responsibility to each other, and if you are one of the lucky ones you have an obligation to help others when you can.
AW: If you could come back in your next life as one animal, what would it be and why?
KT: Boy, tough question. My brother has always said if here were ever reincarnated he would want to come back as one of my dogs because of the way they are loved and cared for. But there are a lot of cool options…a tiger, near the top of the food chain so not too many predators to worry about while at the same time possessing great speed and strength and just plain looking cool…a champion racehorse enjoying the thrill of competition and the lifestyle of a retired champion thoroughbred…an eagle — how cool would it be to fly with virtually no limits. I know I haven’t really answered the question, but how about if I came back three times so I could experience each of these?
AW: You are a former firefighter. Did you ever have to save any pets?
KT: Yes, and I think that’s true of just about any firefighter with any time on the job. I have participated in rescues of dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, rats, mice, birds…where I worked (one year in Louisiana, two years in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah and 31 years in Orange County, CA) we had farming and equestrian areas, so I have also participated in rescues of horses, cattle and goats. We underwent special training and obtained special equipment for large animal rescue, which has been used to perform helicopter rescues of horses that had fallen into steep canyons and ravines.
AW: What is something a family should remember about keeping their pets safe in case of a fire?
KT: If you can get them out when you get out, without delaying your exit, do it then…but under no circumstance should you ever go back in for them. Wait for the fire department, and give them clear and specific information as to where the animals are. If you live in an area where you are at risk for large brush and vegetation fires, keep your animals living areas clear of surrounding brush, keep the roofs clear of leaves and debris, keep wood in good repair and free of dry rot. If roofs are clean, buildings are in good repair, doors are closed and there is no brush in the immediate area of their living quarters this minimizes the chance of fire spreading to those areas. If you can’t take large animals with you, open their gates. It’s much better to return after the fire and have to find and retrieve them than it is to return and find they died because they were trapped in a fire.
AW: What does the future hold for Adrenaline Challenge Coins?
KT: Hopefully we’ll continue the growth we have enjoyed over the last few years. We continue to introduce the history and tradition of challenge coins to new groups and areas. We have introduced challenge coins to professional sports, schools and more. I would love to see challenge coins become a successful fund raising item for animal rescues and similar ventures. We have successfully introduced challenge coins to people that have never seen them before, and we continue to offer the best quality coins and the best customer service at the lowest prices in the industry…I think if we follow that model the rest will take care of itself.