Bill Helman, known by many as WooFDriver, is an animal advocate and outdoorsman who has devoted his life to dogs. Bill has owned huskies for two decades and has developed his own brand of Urban Mushing, incorporating specialized equipment, one-of-a-kind bikes, and his own sense of fun. He calls this “WooFDriving.”
A serial optimist, Bill is on a quest to help people make positive changes in their lives (and their animals’ lives).In addition to dogs, he is passionate about martial arts and its teachings, technology, nature, health, and history. He hopes that by sharing his experiences and knowledge, he will encourage others to find their sense of adventure.
In addition to urban mushing, Bill raises money for animal welfare organizations. He is dedicated to helping animals in need and uses attention gained via WooFDriving to do so.
This desire to honor animals led Bill to become director of the Presidential Pet Museum. This position allows him to combine his love of history with his desire to shine a spotlight on the animals who enrich our lives.
Advocating For a Better Life for YOU and YOUR DOGS
Bill is on a quest to help people make positive changes in their lives (and their dogs’ lives) by finding their senses of joy, awe, and adventure. He has built his online presence so he can share his knowledge and passion for the martial arts and its teachings, technology, nature, history, and animals with as many people as possible.
Learning New Things
Bill believes deeply that learning new things is what keeps life interesting and he likes to fuse all the things he loves best into adventures that keep his passion for life ignited.
Optimism & Creativity
With his serial optimism and creativity, he is rarely at a loss for coming up with new things to try, and he wants to share his knowledge and passions with other people in the hopes that they, too, will get outside more and seek adventures of their own.
Bill has a background in Tae Kwon Do. One of the utmost tenets of the martial arts is the respect for all life, and his commitment to this tenet is best illustrated by his dedication to his dogs. Bill believes that just like people, all living creatures on the planet should have the opportunity to live up to their potential.
Bill has spent many years learning and living the principles of Yin and Yang. It is Bill’s belief that balance is one of the most important aspects of living a good and contented life. He incorporates balance into his own life, and also into the lives of his dogs.
Sense of Adventure
As an extreme type of guy whose passion (and compassion) run deep, Bill is limitlessly dedicated to protecting and promoting the welfare of animals, and he has a genuine desire to teach and share with others.
Bill believes in collecting moments rather than materials. Like the logo on this website says, Bill is Living Clean and Running Wild.
The World As Classroom
Bill treats the whole world as a classroom and he is always looking for learning opportunities. As a child, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. He found out at an early age that traditional schooling was not the best match for him because it didn’t serve his unique learning style well. Rather, it was his diverse life and work experiences, which have given him the vital skills he still uses daily. Bill’s search for knowledge is ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated. Some might even say his different learning style has helped make him become the successful self-taught man he is today.
The following is a list of some of Bill’s experiences, skills, and background:
- High level of Computer knowledge from networking to major Graphic program competency
- Skilled forklift operator for both carpet and loaded pallets
- Tractor Trailer Class A CDL Licensed and Certified
- Teaching and Student Management In Martial Arts
- Retail & wholesale distribution, warehousing, and logistics coordinating
- Retail and Wholesale management and knowledge
- Trade show display, assembly, and exhibiting understanding
- Real Estate Commercial & Residential management
Always an entrepreneur, Bill began working at the young age of thirteen as a laborer in the warehouse at his family’s flooring business. At fourteen started his first of many businesses owning and operating a snowball stand (a well-known Maryland phenomenon).
Bill has always had a creative and active imagination and the desire to move. In his career, Bill has done a little bit of everything. From laboring with a construction company to working in interior design; to owning his own car washing business where he earned the reputation of being friendly, fair, and trustworthy (which garnered him the opportunity to drive some fancy cars including Jaguars, Cadillacs, and even a Rolls Royce); from carpet sales to real estate; teaching TaeKwonDo to driving a tractor trailer; to owning and operating his own pet shop (which included a HUGE remodel of the existing store); owning and operating a large format printing business, and owning and operating a pet supply wholesale business, which is still in operation today, Bill has had a truly rich and rewarding career.
In addition to his pet supply business, which he owns with his wife, Bill manages his family’s commercial real estate holdings, and he is a partner in the Walk for a Dog charity-driven app, which he helped design, implement, and produce.
All of these experiences have shaped Bill into the man he is today and he employs knowledge from all these different facets of his career into his work with his dogs and his adventuring lifestyle.
Bill’s WooFDriver website chronicles his life as an Urban Musher. It’s a culmination of his twenty plus years of experience as a dog enthusiast, videographer and photographer, and outdoor adventurer. WooFDriver provides something for anyone who is interested in dogs, adventuring, urban mushing, and more.
Officially opened in 1999 by Claire McClean, the former groomer for President Reagan’s dog, Lucky, Bill saved The Presidential Pet Museum from almost certain demise. He assumed curatorship of the museum and all its holdings, including the official Presidential Pet Museum website in 2017. The site serves as the virtual collection of presidential pet artifacts, history, and information leading right up to today.
Bill’s WooFTek website compiles news, reviews, and technical information from the field on everything from cameras, computers, night gear, dog gear, vehicles (many of them designed or modified by Bill), equipment mounts, and event technology. Bill has researched, developed, tested, assembled, and explored a stunning amount of technology. You don’t need to know anything about dogs to appreciate and be intrigued by the equipment and systems he’s developed and used.
Bill’s passion for dogs and adventures runs deep and he is always looking for new ways to share his knowledge. The AllWoof website has something for everyone. There you will find links to stories for all ages, music about dogs (including live streaming radio available for free 24/7), dog training information, photography, videography, equipment information, and so much more.
WikiWooF is the comprehensive source for these and all the many projects Bill has undertaken.
Bill tries to go out with his dogs as often as possible. He’s traveled extensively around Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic searching for trails that are dog-friendly and fun for him and his team.
From week to week whether he’s on a new trail, or exploring trails that he already knows and loves, Bill collects rich information to share with anyone who is interested. You can find new places to hit the trails yourself, or submit the trails you already know about at Dog-Friendly Trails.
Technology & The Natural World
Bill is as passionate about exploring technology as he is the natural world. From a young age, he tinkered with and took apart his toys and household gadgets trying to figure out how they worked. (Much to his parents’ dismay he was only sometimes able to put them back together).
As he grew up, Bill turned from toys to automobiles, and later computers and computer programming. He found the possibilities they offered inspiring and quickly began looking at ways of incorporating the technology into his daily life. He was at the cutting age of printing technology when he and a partner purchased one of the first Hewlett-Packard large format plotters and went into the print business. While in the printing business, design technology was evolving swiftly. In order to keep up and so he could provide top quality products for his clients, Bill taught himself the most sophisticated design, photo, and illustration programs available at the time, and learned how to manage the operation’s entire network.
Bill’s adventuring spirit and creative mind have been the catalyst for his many tech adventures, and it was only a matter of time before he linked technology and the WoofPak. For instance, today his house is fully automated with programs operating everything from lights, which go on if the dogs should get up in the night, to automatic dog doors, and even a notification system that tells Bill where the dogs are on the grounds.
It may not seem obvious just what running wild in nature with the WooFPak would have to do with technology, but it actually plays a huge part in Bill’s all-dog lifestyle. He has spent an extraordinary amount of time researching, developing, and using various products to make the WooFPak’s adventures both safe for the dogs (always Bill’s first and foremost concern) and enjoyable for all.
You can read all about the products Bill has designed and uses on one of his main project sites, WooFTek. Check out the misting system he built to keep his dogs cool in warmer months, and don’t miss the WooFDriver fleet of vehicles and equipment!
In as many ways as possible, I want to inspire people in all walks of life to get out of their comfort zones and treat themselves and their dogs better in order to heighten their overall quality of life.
Throughout my life, I have found that the more you respect your surroundings–friends, neighbors, family, fellow human beings, mother nature and all her creatures–the easier it is to respect yourself and appreciate life. I wish this for everyone, that they can enjoy and appreciate their life and everything it has to offer.
I live by my motto: Live Clean and Run Wild. But how did I wind up here? My dogs and the dog-powered lifestyle have helped me find a more fulfilling life.
I am not a very religious person, but I am a respectful person, and this is an important value in my life. If I respect my surroundings, I can respect myself. Respect is the mechanism that enables me to appreciate life. It inspires interest, compassion, understanding, and curiosity. I am not only the leader of the WooFPak, but I am in control of my destiny. I have never been a follower. My drive and passion are to live my life in harmony with nature, fellow humans, and all of my surroundings, and to never have any regrets.
I love technology and use it to assist with my lifestyle – but not to control it. Additionally, I have an extensive background in the martial arts. This has helped me learn that true power can only be achieved through relaxation and striving to perform in an effortless way. This is the essence of martial arts and the foundation for a balanced life. Tension and wasted movements drain our energy. Animals hunt, play and sleep without any tension. We can learn a lot from them.
Now that you know a little about my values – to live clean; I want to tell you a little about my fun – to run wild. I love TaeKwonDo, a martial art that uses a lot of kicks. Some of my favorite TaeKwonDo moves include breaking wood with Speed Breaks. That is where a piece or pieces of wood are dangled and you break them with the technique of speed. I also practice Gumdo, a martial art that uses a sword, I love to slice newspapers and cut bamboo.
Another one of my love affairs is with American muscle cars such as my ’79 Trans Am. I have a class A Tractor Trailer License, and like big trucks as well. One of my favorite rides besides the dog carts, of course, is my Can-Am Motorcycle. It is a three-wheel Trike, with two wheels in the Front and one in the Back. I have an occasional cigar or smoke a pipe for relaxation. Good concerts and music are also important in my life.
Music reminds me of my past and my journey and encounters with friends and family. I live in the present but always cherish the past. As mentioned before, it is important to have no regrets in life and I really try to live by that rule. This has resulted in most of my memories being warm and positive. There are episodes in life that are out of our control–losing a loved one can be the most devastating–but as long as we respected our loved ones and always treated them the way we wanted them to treat us, then the memories we hold of them will be good ones.
You can read much more about the dogs on WooFDriver, so I will keep it brief, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention them here. My dogs have taught me so much. They are devoted, loyal, energetic, and passionate–just like me! They inspire, energize, and motivate me to live my best life every day.
I am sometimes called “The Wild Man.” I live to enjoy life, and while I do get a little extreme or over-the-top with my passions, my passion gives me a vehicle in which to explore my creativity. And I’ll never apologize for that!
In the News
- The Owings Mills Patch, September 12, 2011, Owings Mills Resident is the ‘WoofDriver’
- The Owings Mills Patch, September 19, 2011, Caring for Dogs, Calming People as the ‘WoofDriver’
- The Owings Mills Patch, September 26, 2011, Owings Mills’ Helman Tames the ‘WoofPak’
- The Owings Mills Patch, February 15, 2017, Owings Mills Man to Curate Presidential Pet Museum
A Minor Celebrity
Bill’s father named his carpet business after Bill who was the baby of the family. Bill grew up in the family business doing everything from driving a tractor-trailer to appearing in commercials in the 1980s. For those who were in the Baltimore, MD area at that time, Bill’s Carpet commercials are a bit of nostalgia!
“Rock Bottom Prices”
Just for Fun
Bill draws inspiration from all sorts of people and places. These are his account of some of the people he has been fortunate to meet over the years.
Dan Inosanto is a true Martial Arts Legend. He is one of only three people who was appointed by the late great Bruce Lee (that’s right, I said Bruce Lee) to teach at Jun Fan Gung Fu Institutes (Bruce Lee’s Schools). Dan Inosanto has a storied Martial Arts History which of course includes being one of Bruce Lee’s students and close friends.
Through my study and interest in the Martial Arts, I had heard much about Dan Inosanto and seen him in numerous films and documentaries. Dan Inosanto’s name was mentioned in almost anything I read or saw about Bruce Lee. A longtime mentor and close friend of mine is also a highly acclaimed Martial Artist and has, in more recent years, worked and studied with Mr.Inosanto. In about 2003, my friend invited me on a west coast trip to California to test one of his students for a Black Belt in Bando (another Martial Art.) I was most honored and excited to go.
On this trip, we visited Mr.Inosanto’s Martial Arts School and actually had dinner with Mr.Inosanto. This to me, a longtime Martial Artist and fan of Bruce Lee, was truly over the top. There, of course, was one caveat: my friend asked me to please not ask Mr.Inosanto any questions about Bruce Lee as he has spent a great deal of time doing interviews and sharing his Bruce Lee stories and this was supposed to be a more casual time with friends. I happily respected my friend’s request.
We had a wonderful Chinese dinner, and lo and behold, Mr.Inosanto talked about Bruce Lee on his own, sharing some personal and fond memories. WOW, this was an epic dinner and still brings a smile to my face today when I recall this incredible evening. Thanks so much again to my close friend Jon and to Dan Inosanto.
The late, Great, Richie Havens was so talented with his own signature sounds he could make any song he sang sound different and incredible. He was one of the original Woodstock performers and is legendary in the music industry. I had the extreme pleasure to see him perform in Annapolis, Maryland and I met him after the show. A true gentleman and talented artist who is and will continue to be missed.
I was raised in the 1970s with three older sisters who just loved rock & roll. They were each eight or more years older than me and I learned to love music vicariously through them, which is why today my favorite music is from the 1970s.
Fleetwood Mac was my first real introduction to rock and roll and in 1978, when I was eleven, my sister took me to a Fleetwood Mac Concert. She was a huge Fleetwood Mac fan and even managed to get us backstage. I was in awe, and from that day on Fleetwood Mac became my favorite all time band. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Fleetwood Mac perform quite a few times and in about 2005 I was able to get tickets to another concert in Philadelphia where my wife and I got to go on stage before the show. We met drummer, Mick Fleetwood, one of the legendary founders of Fleetwood Mac. I was wearing a Fleetwood Mac shirt with the cover of their most famous album Rumors printed on it. We were in awe of the stage set, and my wife sang a little into the mic where Stevie Nicks would soon sing!
I got to meet the legendary Kenny Rogers and his band a show here in Maryland through my great friend and WooFPlay Band member and music collaborator, Bucky Harris in about 2014. Bucky was one of Kenny’s former band members and some of his friends are still in the band. They’ve performed on some of my WooFTunes collection, even playing the WooF-AXX (my custom created and crafted WOOF Guitar).
When I met Kenny he told me my WooFDriver shirt was cool. We were treated to an incredible performance from Kenny & his band. One of the band members who had done some WooFTunes stuff for me, actually commented on a Facebook post I made as he was playing keyboard during the show, telling me to enjoy myself! What an AWESOME time & experience!
Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten was a true gentleman. I got the great pleasure to meet him when he did a TV Commercial for my dad’s carpet and flooring business. Mr. Patten flew into Baltimore to shoot these advertisements and my family had dinner with him at a local favorite homestyle restaurant called Sabatino’s in Baltimore’s Little Italy.
Mr. Patten was very warm an interesting to talk to, I truly enjoyed spending some time with him and I know he enjoyed Sabatino’s. Many years later, in the early 2000s, I ran into him again a Pet Tradeshow in Chicago, Illinois. I am in the wholesale pet supply business, ad he was there because he was representing a large pet brand. I reminded him about when we met and he said, “Oh yeah–that great Italian restaurant we had dinner at!”
I remember my dad was just a bit concerned about Mr. Patten’s accent because he said ‘carpet’ different from how we say it here in Maryland, and my dad hoped people would understand what he was saying.
Being from Baltimore, my dad loved the Baltimore Colts, so they were my football team to cheer. My dad went to school with one of the Colt’s trainers and remained fairly close to him so I had the opportunity to go to many games and their summer training camp.
Bert Jones who was an excellent NFL Quarterback and was brought to the Colts to be the heir of Johnny Unitas, one of the Greatest Quarterbacks to ever play the game.
I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Ms. Jaclyn Smith when I was eleven years old while on a skiing vacation with my dad and his friends in Vail, Colorado over Christmas of about 1978. She was a filming a Charlie’s Angels Christma special, part of which was shot in our hotel.
It turned out Jaclyn Smith was staying across the hall from us, and we wound up running into her on the elevator. My dad told her what a big fan I was and she invited me to her room to see her Christmas Tree. I remember thinking, “Wow!! She has her very own Christmas Tree in her room!” When we saw her husband, actor Dennis Cole and she told him she was taking me to their hotel room to see the tree he did not look too pleased, but for me, it was a most incredible experience. The tree was beautiful, and she is a wonderful person for taking the time to spend with me.