BIDDEFORD, Maine — It’s immediately obvious that Brown Dog Carriers and Logistics is a trucking company unlike any other. Does any other motor carrier have a mission to “Create a world where we whine less and wag more”? Or have an official “chief canine officer” on staff?
Founded in 2017 by Graig Morin, company president, and Darrell Pardy, director of finance and business development, Brown Dog’s name honors Lily Rae Morin, a chocolate Labrador Retriever adopted by Morin’s wife, Christine, back in 2009. Lily, obviously, serves as the company’s chief canine officer, and has logged more than 500,000 miles riding along with Morin each day.
“In 2017, when Graig and I first met and decided to start Brown Dog Carriers and Logistics, I asked him what he thought would be a good name for the company,” Pardy said.
“Since he had two boys at the time (he has three sons now), I was expecting something like ‘Morin & Sons.’ Instead, he said, ‘Brown Dog,’ after the family’s brown Labrador Retriever,” he continued. “I thought immediately that it had great brand and marketing potential. Who doesn’t love Labradors? And when I first met Lily, I was completely won over.”
The company began with two trucks, hauling general freight throughout New England. In only three years, Brown Dog has grown to eight trucks, 18 drivers and a dedicated support staff of five that includes Morin, Pardy and Lily, along with Carolyn Hughes, who handles human resources and accounting, and Jeff Dorais, who oversees operations and business development.
Brown Dog provides all the services one would expect in a motor carrier, including timely, reliable shipping to the 48 contiguous United States and a commitment to safety, transparency and family values, Morin said. The company’s tagline is “Your loyal carrier,” another nod to the faithful canine companion that inspired the name.
A helping paw
There’s much more to Brown Dog than just shipping and logistics. The entire team is deeply rooted in the community, working to support not just the inhabitants of Biddeford, Maine, but all the communities in the nation’s New England region and beyond.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown Dog launched a community call to action to help those affected by the national crisis. The program, dubbed “A Helping Paw,” is designed to organize efforts to deliver essential services and supplies to Maine residents in need and to help wherever possible in the response to COVID-19.
“Now more than ever, people are relying on truck drivers to transport food, water, fuel and other essentials to stores and medical facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, so we’re doing everything we can to keep trucks rolling and shelves stocked while maintaining safe driving standards and social distancing to protect the health of our team,” Morin said.
Brown Dog seeks to connect with Maine companies, organizations and individuals that are producing personal protective equipment, donating food or supplies or making other contributions to the COVID-19 response, with a goal of exploring opportunities to make a bigger impact together. Maine businesses, organizations and individuals that are in need of shipping or transportation services for donations to the COVID-19 response, can contact Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about A Helping Paw, visit www.browndogcarriers.com/ahelpingpaw.
“Recently, we volunteered to transport 125 folding chairs donated by Hussey Seating Co. to Southern Maine Healthcare and Maine Veterans’ Homes,” Pardy said.
“That got us thinking that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to help,” he continued. “If we can use our equipment and experience to enable and bring attention to our community partners doing incredible things, so that they can serve more people, we’re committed to doing that.”
Even when the nation is not in crisis, Brown Dog makes a point of supporting nonprofits and veteran-service organizations, including Wreaths Across America, K9s on the Front Line, Trucking 4 Kids and more.
On June 29, Brown Dog hosted the Wreaths Across America education exhibit, offering free tours and other activities, all following social-distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The goal of the educational exhibit is to bring local communities together with the nation’s military through education, stories and interactive connections. The tour offers visitors a chance to explore, learn and remember the nation’s fallen heroes.
“Brown Dog is proud to support this cause,” Morin said, adding that the team volunteers to help carry wreaths to honor fallen soldiers each year.
Another way the company is working to support the local community is to extend a “helping paw” to local restaurants in and around Biddeford and Saco, Maine, throughout the summer through a social-media contest. Community members can visit Brown Dog Carriers & Logistics’ Facebook and LinkedIn pages to nominate their favorite local restaurant and enter to win a $100 gift certificate.
“This is a great way to support our neighboring businesses and employees — and enjoy an opportunity to get out for a great meal at the same time,” Pardy said.
All about Lily
The Brown Dog website offers a complete bio for its chief canine officer, who doubles as a goodwill ambassador.
Lily was born and raised in Maine. Her birth name was Olivia, but when she was adopted by “mom” Christine Morin in 2009, she became Lily. Because Christine loved to run, Lily soon did as well. They often raced, with Lily always finishing first.
Lily’s experience in the trucking industry began one fall day when she accompanied Graig to work.
“She was quite curious about the new adventure with Daddy and his work truck. From that day forward, Lily looked forward to each morning, knowing that when Daddy’s alarm went off, she was traveling somewhere new with him,” according to the Brown Dog website.
As Lily continues to travel with Graig, she has made many friends, human and animal alike, bringing smiles to customers. In fact, many customers shower her with treats whenever she visits.
Today, as Graig and Christine’s family has grown, Lily finds joy in playing with her three two-legged brothers and playing catch in the backyard.