Guest Spotlight

Janie Heinrich

We have the coolest guests! An adventure isn’t just about the itinerary–it’s also about who you share it with. We want to turn the spotlight on some of our guests and what they’re passionate about.

We were blessed to meet Janie Heinrich on our 2019 “Walking with the Buddha” Tricycle magazine pilgrimage in India & Nepal. It was actually a fantastic three-for-one deal: we got to spend time with Janie, her husband Bob, and her sister-in-law Tere! BJ was even lucky enough to catch up with Janie & Bob in Southern California this summer.

Janie is, without a doubt, one of the brightest rays of sunshine we’ve had the good fortune to encounter in our travels (and our tours typically overflow in the sunshine department anyways!)  We’re so happy to share more about the organization Janie founded, just in time for their 3rd Poodle Palooza fundraiser.

Mobility Service Dog‘s goal is to fill a desperate need: many people living with disabilities aren’t able to receive a mobility service dog because there aren’t enough of these trained dogs and they are too expensive. Our goal is to provide a service dog to all those who qualify.

Janie and her fabulous service dog, Beckett

Tell us a bit about what’s dear to your heart!

Grandchildren are my heartbeat, and their parental units, and dear friends!

In January of 2018, I founded MobilityDog advances FUNctional independence for the disabled community through service dogs, education, and empowerment. While balancing with the reality and challenges of equality, tolerance, community, and integrity, the joy and silver linings make each step forward an intentional action moving us towards living and loving more.

The Poodle Palooza is my interpretation of a grand gala event! We raise awareness and funds for our Service Dogs and educational programs! We celebrate our Service Dogs, Puppy Meet Ups, and our Educational Programs—PAWS that Empower and WAG.

Last year we took Poodle Palooza online, and we were gifted with a supporting crew from around the globe. We will be doing the same this year. We will be cooking together with Chef James from Bistro 41 in Pasadena, CA, being entertained by amazing musicians between our service dog handlers, raisers, volunteers, and board members sharing how MobilityDog has made a difference in their lives–all emceed by my favorite soprano, Laura Pedersen! The Silent Auction starts at 3:33 pm on Friday, November 12, and ends Sunday, November 14 at 11:59 pm. The virtual EVENT will be Sunday, November 14th 4:30 to 6:30!

Click here to learn more about Poodle Palooza and here for tickets to the virtual events.


How does travel inspire you?

Travel inspires me to live bolder, brighter, and bigger with no boundaries. Travel is what keeps the mind open to all of life, be it local as during the pandemic or around the world in 2023! To walk alongside the locals, breathing in their energy, lifestyle, spices, culture, and listening to their stories as we learn, laugh, and embrace each moment.


Do you have any favorite ‘travel gear’?

Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack, all I need for a trip, be it 5 days or 60!

Christy Rupp in her studio

Janie and her husband Bob on a boat in the Ganges River in Varanasi on our 2019 “Walking with the Buddha” journey

Christy Rupp in her studio

Janie meets a resident sadhu, or Hindu holy man, on the ghats of Varanasi

“We must be defined by our hearts, vision, and dreams on this earth walk; grateful to be part of an interactive group of magically humans that I met in India on a BJ & Lauren trip in October 2019; they continue being part of my circle of life in present time. Deep bows of gratitude to RetreaTours, a magnificent couple! “

Learn more about Janie Heinrich and

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