Natalie von Teichman’s stuffy puppy love

Photo courtesy of Natalie Von Teichmann.
Photo courtesy of Natalie Von Teichmann.

Leaside entrepreneur and mother of four boys, Natalie von Teichman faced a very scary situation that resulted in a personal transformation. “In the early days of Covid when little was known about the disease, I was diagnosed and quarantined at home for 11 days,” she said. “I was worried sick. What if I infected my children or didn’t get better? What was I missing in my young sons’ lives, how long would this go on, and how was my family coping? The stress had me turn to meditation and mindfulness, which helped me recover and come to the realization that I was shortchanging my children. We dedicate time and attention to their education, their physical fitness, yet rarely consider their mental agility and mental fitness. How do kids handle failure, disappointment? We don’t tend to invest in building their mental fitness muscles. That is why mediTATE was created.”

Natalie’s invention, the TATE puppy, is a stuffy whose super power is guiding and empowering children to develop and apply practical skills, like mindful breathing, when they face stressful situations.

Aspiring entrepreneurs take note: Natalie’s credentials well equipped her to navigate the challenges of birthing her innovative idea. She’s a graduate of Western University’s Honours Bachelor of Health Science program, a trained Crisis Responder for Kids Help Phone Canada, and has a diploma in Children’s Mindfulness from the Centre of Excellence, plus she is a certified 200-hour Heart of Vinyasa Yoga instructor.

“My career started in the health field immediately after graduating,” she said. “I spent several years working in the medical fields of neuropathic pain, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, mental health, and urology and in my personal time learning and practising eastern systems such as yoga and meditation.”

Her brilliant entrepreneurial pairing of eastern and western medical philosophy sparked her eureka moment and mediTATE’s creation. “At every step of the process, my husband and children are enthusiastically cheering me on.”

As her business gained fans and orders increased, Covid lobbed another challenge as supply chain issues interfered with production plans. “My fabric supplier couldn’t source the same material used in previous orders. Luckily my staff felt confident enough to say, ‘Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe TATE should be in many colours representing children’s differences. After all, no two people are identical.’ I was thrilled with the question and thus multicoloured TATE was born and has been a hit. Children choose the one that best suits them.”

Research is important to Natalie. “We are working with Southlake Paediatric Complex Care to start a quality improvement project that will see every child who comes into the paediatric unit given a TATE puppy to keep along with a one-year subscription that includes playing meditations, calming music and unique stretching and breathing activities right from a preferred device to a tiny, child-approved, Bluetooth speaker inside TATE’s belly! We will be gathering data on how TATE helps children and their parents feel calm, resilient, and sleep better. We hope to be able to roll this out to other paediatric hospitals in Canada once the framework is in place. We also currently have TATE puppies in every Ronald McDonald House in Canada except in Quebec because TATE is not yet bilingual.”

Asked if adults benefit from TATE, Natalie confirmed, “Many parents express their appreciation that TATE has them calmer and more present when cuddling with their child.”

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About Suzanne Park 59 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.