About Jeremy Shantz A.K.A. Farmer Jer of Dog House Times

Jeremy Shantz is an internet entrepreneur and founder of Farm 6 Media. You can see some of his work on his 2 YouTube channels Dog House Times and Farmer Jer. This page is about Jeremy Shantz, his history, experiences both professional and in life, and about Jeremy’s mission to make the planet and internet a better place.

My Experiences from a young age

At a very young age, my mom got one of the first computers in our neighborhood. I remember the machine clearly to this day. We got a computer that had 64k memory and this was a HUGE deal at the time. We hooked the computer up to a black and white television and a tape deck (yes, we loaded programs via cassette tape). And there was no internet. There were the very beginnings of BBS dial-ups. The “pre-internet era”, if you will.

Programming

My mom knew the value of learning new technology. She went out and picked up some DOS programming books and gave me the books to learn how to write DOS code. And I did. I made several extremely primitive video games, the first was just like a version of Pac-man but with an arrow for the player icon as the code did not yet support any kind of complex graphics. I think I was around 8 or maybe ten years old at the time, but it’s a little hazy. This embedded code deep into my mind and I would be very happy for it later in life as you can see.

Work

I started working at a very young age. When I was 13, I started working as a door-to-door salesperson. I sold desk supplies and small gifts for a year. Then I was able to swing a job at a local ski resort (not that it was initially my idea). When I was 15, my job at the ski resort became official. I worked there for another 6 years, moving my way up from server to cook to bartender and kitchen supervisor.

During that time working at the resort, I had to take full advantage of the free lift ticket I got because I worked there. Not a day went by in the winters that I wasn’t on the hills snowboarding. Snowboarding became a big thing for me and I competed for many years riding half-pipe.

Influence And Family Support

During these years working at the resort, I also was still living at home with my parents. My dad was a huge influence on me during those years, despite the fact that I didn’t necessarily know it at the time. My father, Dr. Willard Shantz, was a veterinarian for the Federal Government of Canada. He specialized in working with diseases such as rabies, tuberculosis and mad cow disease. He was an integral part of keeping Canadians safe from these diseases and developed protocols to deal with disease. It was my dad’s savvy scientific mind that pushed me to think in a similar, scientific and analytical fashion.

My dad also had a huge passion for birds. We had a heated greenhouse in the back yard where we kept exotic birds year-round. As well, most of our basement was filled to the ceiling with birdcages and aviaries. I think we had somewhere around 200 exotic birds. My father was an avid member of multiple bird societies and an avid breeder of these exotic birds.

He taught me the value of learning how to breed exotic pets in captivity. Why do I consider this valuable? Well, when a species is listed as endangered and people poach them from the wild, this hurts the species chances of rebounding from human activity. But, if the endangered species are bred in captivity, then the pressure is taken off of wild populations as the species can be then purchased from a breeder instead of a poacher.

More From Dad

My dad also taught me how to carve and work with wood. One of his hobbies was carving and he was very, very good at it. We even went down to Maryland, the United States so my dad could compete in an international woodworking competition. And he won the best in the show one year. Here is a picture of one of his carvings I’ve got in my home:

A carving by Dr. Willard Shantz
A carving by Dr. Willard Shantz

I was allowed to use an entire room of my parents’ house to keep reptiles. Herpetology has always been a huge interest of mine so this was an amazing opportunity for me. And to have my dad fully support me and teach me what I needed to know was an incredible experience. He pushed me to research everything I could and I spent many hours reading. I even went to visit my sister who was at the University of Guelph, so I could sneak into the veterinary college library and read more about animals. I was borderline obsessed with learning everything I could about Herpetology and became a bit of a self-made expert on the subject.

Herpetology

Small Female Jackson's Chameleon.
Small Female Jackson’s Chameleon.

I kept multiple species of reptiles over those years, including many species of geckos, chameleons, tree frogs, and various other reptiles and amphibians. When I was 17 years old, I successfully bred Veiled Chameleons in captivity and had a 98% success rate for egg incubation. At the time, I spoke with leading members of the Canadian Association of Herpetologists (CAH) who confirmed that I was the first to successfully breed this species in captivity in Canada to their knowledge. Although I never received any real official recognition for this, I am proud to this day of my achievement in advancing reptile care and incubation techniques here in Canada.

At 16 I discovered that I really enjoyed playing music and singing and started playing in bands. When I moved out at 21 to go to college, I continued playing guitar and multiple other instruments and have done so to this day.

Electro-Mechanical Engineering

I wound up going to Humber College for Electro-Mechanical Engineering. This was, in hindsight, foolish on my part. Due to the fact that although I’ve always had a unique ability to understand mechanical and electrical systems, I really had no interest in working in the manufacturing industries which the college was steering the students towards. Not when I was so passionate about so many other things as well.

As fate would have it, I ran out of money during my first year of college and had no choice but to drop out of school and start working full time. I’d canvassed around the college for a job but had zero luck. And landlords don’t care for excuses. Neither do grocery stores. I was destitute and defeated. So, I would up meeting a young entrepreneur and fellow musician who suggested I work with him in a service company. I couldn’t afford to eat, so said ‘What the hell, let’s give it a go.’

My first business

Enter my first business. I was in my 20’s, living on a sofa at my buddy’s place. I had nothing and felt like a failure. So, I started assembling bicycles. I did it for piecework for my buddy, at first. Then, as time went on I went out and got my own store contracts. I hired a bunch of guys to work for me as contractors, the same way I started in the business myself. I had tool kits I sold them, and the lot of us worked like slaves, for 16 hours a day from March until October. It was hard work but I did alright for myself.

Not Just Entrepreneurship

During this time, I was also building computers for myself and friends. Call it a hobby. And while I had my bike business, I was still playing in bands and was even working on building a Theramin with the same buddy that got me into bikes in the first place. I even wound up working for a year with him and his dad building AC Flux Vector Drives for the oil industry. Those are basically the controllers for oil pumps, in case you were wondering.

Music And Entertainment

I also worked in the music and entertainment industries for a number of years, along with the various bands I played professionally. I worked as both an audio tech for concerts, but also as a live-to-air radio technician. I’ve worked with countless bands and have attended more shows than most people could dream of going to in a whole lifetime. I also worked in staging for a few years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, downtown Toronto.

More Animals…

A tank of mixed African cichlids.
A tank of mixed African cichlids.

More About Jeremy Shantz

All this time I was slowly building my breeding groups of African Cichlids. This was an extension of my passion for reptiles, I also like fish. I wound up having quite an abundance of baby cichlids and sold them to local pet stores. Then I had far too many for even small pet stores, so I started selling them to wholesalers. All this while I was running my bike company. I was dating a girl at the time who was having issues holding down a decent job, but she seemed to like working at a pet store. I had all these extra fish, so I decided to open a pet shop.

The Pet Store

Working in my pet shop, The Fish 'N' Lizard.
Working in my pet shop, The Fish ‘N’ Lizard. Jan. 2006

Enter my next business. I started a company called The Fish ‘N’ Lizard. This started in the basement of another petshop, whom I had befriended the owners thereof. I built racking, set up fish tanks, set up wholesale accounts, brought in fish (many from my own breeding groups at home) and basically built a petshop from the ground up that focussed on reptiles, amphibians, and fish. I ran this business for just under a year before I was able to ‘break-even’. This was unheard of accomplishment in my particular industry at the time, but then disaster struck.

Just…like…that…

My bike business collapsed due to a corporate giant deciding not to pay me. And it happened almost overnight. I had no choice but to shut down my bike business, sell my pet shop and try to figure out what to do next. So, that’s what I did. I discovered a new low point. All the while, I was in a band (lead singer, hard rock) and we were doing great, playing a lot of shows, growing a following and BAM. The band broke up. Just like that.

‘And that’s the way she goes.’

Ray Flower, Trailer Park Boys

If it’s one thing I’ve learned, its that life is a series of crap hitting you in the face. You get to take breaks, just long enough to wash off, get a few good breaths of clean air, then BAM. More crap hits you in the face. Okay, I’m going off the deep end but hey, it sure feels that way sometimes. But it isn’t how much crap you take, it’s how you react to it and rise above it.

Band, Business, Or Bust…

When my band broke up and my businesses were done, I just gave up. Again, I found myself living on the financial edge. A friend said he was working as a helper at a door company and that he could get me a job. I was like, alright, what the hell. So, I went to work as a helper in a new industry, that of the commercial garage and overhead doors. And of course loading equipment. I worked my way up to lead hand within a year and was in my own truck making good money again within two years of entering the industry. It helps when you have a natural affinity with mechanical and electrical systems, let me tell you.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

I worked my way up the ranks, worked for a few door companies and eventually got into a training and technical advisor role in the office. My health wasn’t so great, so an office job wasn’t the end of the world. I continued to work my way up the ropes, changed companies once or twice to better my position and am currently working in management in the industry with a variety of responsibilities from managing multiple teams and jobs, to quoting and account management.

Good things come to those who wait.

In 2009, after a long time waiting for the right one, I finally met the love of my life, Christine Valitutti. The two of us hit it off fabulously after meeting online on a dating site. We were married in 2012 and have been ridiculously happy since. We bought a house in Hamilton, Ontario in 2018 and that’s when I started urban farming as well as boating.

All the while, I have kept dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, plants, plants, and more plants. I’ve continued my self-education in herpetology, gardening, hydroponics, woodworking, carpentry, and computers. I have also graduated from Sheridan College with my certificate in Web Development. I’ve read tons of books on HTML, CSS, Javascript, Internet Marketing and have built multiple websites for friends, businesses, bands and now for myself.

Continued Education

I have continued studying and caring for dogs, cats, reptiles, and fish. I even have a 6′ jungle carpet python who I’ve kept since my pet store days 15 years ago now. I’ve had an online paintball store called Ark Mountain Paintball. I’ve built numerous websites. I’m working on writing 2 books currently, both should be out in late 2020. I still play, produce and master music. I’m just learning the fine art of editing and mastering video, as my very young YouTube channels will attest to.

One of my organic tomatoes ripening on the plant.
One of my organic tomatoes ripening on the plant.

I have also found my passion for gardening and growing my own food. I’ve had plenty of experience with plants, mostly in relation to keeping tropicals for my reptiles and amphibians, but also aquatic plants for my fish. A few years back, when my health started to decline, I turned to organics and gardening. I’ve been growing my own food, as much as possible, ever since.

About Jeremy Shantz – Current Goals

Currently, I am working full time in the door industry and also working at building my websites. These websites include Dog House Times of course, but also include my gardening site, Farmerjer.com and my boating site boating.guide.

Why do I do it? I love it. I love to research and write. It gives me a really good feeling to write an article for people to read that gives them valuable information. That information should be from a trusted source and writers should be upfront about where they get their information. Too many blogs are fluffy crap that does not seem to ever cite sources and are barely credible enough to provide information in the first place. I don’t want to ever be one of those.

I want to give good, real, researched information and to provide it in a readable format that is delivered to not only entertain but maybe even inspire or teach. If I can give you a good read that teaches you something and you enjoy it, then my work here is done. I hope you enjoy my work.

Jeremy Shantz

Other Sites By Jeremy Shantz

Farm 6 Media
Farm 6 Media
Farmer Jer
Farmer Jer
Boating Guide Magazine
Boating Guide Magazine

Farmsix.com is Jeremy’s media company. Farm 6 Media is an internet marketing company that not only builds websites, but also does branding, copyrighting, and graphic design services for businesses.


Farmer Jer is Jeremy’s pseudonym or a pen name if you will. The site farmerjer.com is Jeremy’s site dedicated to urban farming, gardening, and hydroponics. Jeremy is an avid gardener with over 30 years of growing and caring for plants and animals.


Boating.guide is Jeremy’s website all about boating. Jeremy started canoeing and kayaking at a young age and always had a passion for boating. In 2018, Jeremy started taking this interest more seriously, getting his boating license and beginning research of all aspects of boating. The site is meant to be a guide to help new boaters.

Jeremy’s YouTube Channels

The Dog House Times YouTube Channel
The Dog House Times YouTube Channel
Farmer Jer YouTube Channel
Farmer Jer YouTube Channel

Some of Jeremy’s Articles

Contact Jeremy Shantz

Jeremy Shantz, October 2019
Jeremy Shantz, October 2019

Email: jeremy@farm6.net

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