If you didn’t already know, Dan Rosen is a major player in the thriving tech industry of the
Voted “Best Connected” by Seattle Business in 2009, Dan invests in the area’s most promising startup companies’ entrepreneurs and serves as the chair of the Alliance of Angels—the preeminent early-stage technology-investing group.
But navigating uncharted territory is never easy.
When things get tense at the negotiation table, Dan often turns to his most trusted adviser—Shugie, a very business-minded Maltese.
“Her favorite thing is to go to meetings,” he says. While most canines are limited to off-leash dog corrals, Shugie—short for Sugar—prefers boardrooms.
“She’s not interested in going for a walk, but she starts barking and dancing when she knows she’s going to a meeting,” Dan says.
With her own seat at the table and a water dish, Shugie’s presence has paid off. Dan recalls a time when she diffused a particularly delicate multiday negotiation.
“Negotiations were not going well, and the guy across the table became emotional and shouted. Shugie barked and he calmed right down and we finished the deal,” he says.
“My lawyer originally thought I was nuts bringing a dog, but later admitted that was the best thing that could have happened.
“Dogs don’t filter. They know what’s right and what’s not. In many ways a dog brings out the human side in humans,” he says.
As excited as he gets about innovative technology with the Alliance of Angels, Dan is equally excited about his role on the board at the Humane Society of Seattle and King County.
“My friend kept trying to get me to join and I initially said no, but he eventually convinced me to take a tour of the facility and meet the people,” Dan says. “The staff and volunteers do so much there with very few resources.”
With Shugie’s approval, Dan serves as chair of the Humane Society’s strategic planning committee and is passionate about the group’s mission.
“No animals in our care ever run out of time,” he says. “We’ll take animals that are older or in distress, when other shelters would put them down.”
Growing up among the dairy farms of rural New Jersey, Dan always gravitated toward small dogs.
“My first pet was a Boston terrier,” he says. Nowadays, Dan is unashamed about his love for his Maltese.
“If you look under the dictionary for companion, you’d find a Maltese,” he says. “Their only goal in life is to be a great companion. Maltese is my favorite, but I’m also very fond of shelter dogs of mixed breed.”
As someone who grew up in a farming community, Dan reflects on the progression of society’s view of dogs.
“One of the changes over the last generation is that dogs used to be considered synonymous with farm animals, but we’ve incorporated them into our family lives—and they respond,” he says. “I grew up thinking dogs don’t do associative thinking, but Shugie learns something and then applies it for some different situation.”
Not just limited to the home office, Shugie often accompanies Dan on business trips.
“I tend to work at a lot of different offices and she’s a very good traveler,” he says.
While Dan prefers a low-key role out of the spotlight except when business demands it, Shugie is his polar opposite.
“She loves the attention,” he says.
As a business partner, Dan wouldn’t reveal Shugie’s salary package only letting on that she is “very pampered.” However, the life lessons he’s learned from this little 13-year-old Maltese are priceless.
“So often we have to posture and play roles that we don’t want to. But dogs don’t play roles. They want to live every moment to the absolute fullest,” he says.