Former FOX 9 crime reporter Beth McDonough admits that her life "has kind of gone to the dogs," but that could be a good thing for her new business venture.
Two DUIs in under two years brought an unfortunate end to McDonough's stellar TV career. Crime reporters just can't repeatedly turn up on the police blotter like this.
She takes full responsibility for what she did to her TV career, where she was known for her fair yet hard-hitting style. In Part 2 of an interview, viewable at startribune.com/video with my Sunday column, an emotional McDonough says getting fired was the wake-up call she needed.
Since losing her job earlier this year, McDonough has gone through rehab at Hazelden; spent her month of house arrest writing the first draft of a memoir with a message; and developed a plan to support herself by doing something she loves.
She's starting a company called Hot Dog Walking (hotdogwalking.com) in honor of "my hot dog, my little dachshund Saylor," McDonough said.
"My life has kind of gone to the dogs. In light of all of that, this would be an appropriate name for a company. I've always thought that whenever I got done with TV that I would start some sort of a business that has to do with animals, 'cause I just love dogs so much."
Saylor was a regular at FOX 9 until all non-working dogs got banned when somebody's pooch pooped in an anchor's shoes.
Much as McDonough loves taking care of other people's dogs she's decided to stop doing it for free. "I need to make a living and Hot Dog Walking is up and running for business," she said. Her business plan calls for a transition from dog walking to dog daycare.
"At one point I will have my own building and established kennel/ daycare in the Minnetonka area," she said. She has a permit, license, is insured and bonded. She has studied the five doggie daycare operations she considers the metro's best: "I've talked to all of the owners and I've asked them, 'Why would you talk to me,' and they said, We have more business than we can handle."Word for other women
McDonough has managed to do something productive with nearly every aspect of confronting alcoholism.
"You might recall that I was on house arrest for a month," she said. "I'm a can-do kind of girl, so while I had an ankle bracelet on I said, 'Well, I can't leave my home, what should I do with my time?' So I sat down and hammered out a book in one month."
Tentatively titled "Standby," McDonough said, "Here's the rough draft, I have 46 chapters [and a publisher]. It's done. I need to go back, tweak and do some editing. It starts from the night of my second arrest for DUI, then backtracks to how I got to this point."
In 2008, McDonough learned from family members that she was genetically predisposed to alcoholism. Her biological dad, who died when she was a small child, was an alcoholic.
"I just didn't want anyone else to go through what I did to myself. I wanted to help other alcoholics, in particular women, because there is such a stigma attached to it. It's embarrassing, it's humiliating. ... It hits hard in women because our body fat absorbs 30 percent more alcohol than men," she said.
McDonough said that FOX 9 news director Bill Dallman offered her help after her first DUI. She didn't take it because she couldn't accept a sentence that included her name and the word alcoholic. "You had asked me what lessons I learned," McDonough said. "If someone gives a hand, take it and get the help."TV job news 'premature'
In June, Philly.com gossip Marnie Hall video-blogged about a Twin Cities station being ready to hire McDonough.
It was premature, she said. "I did have discussions with a couple of TV stations in town [nothing materialized] because of the economic situation. Everyone is having more layoffs than hiring right now. "
While talks with KSTP-TV were more substantive, McDonough said she's never been inside the KSTP building.
McDonough landed a job at "a top 10 market [in the South], but that would require me to leave. I'm not leaving Minnesota. This is home. I have a boyfriend, I have a life, I have a business now."
McDonough looks fabulous. She thinks that's got something to do with not working long hours and having more time to workout. She's lost a lot of weight but she's not depriving herself -- she offered me homemade cheesecake.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or email@example.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings and Twitter.com as DishCentral by C.J.