These Gourmet Dog Treats Turn Your Custom Message Into a Treat for All!
Today’s gourmet dog treats often look just like fancy pastries at a traditional French bakery (for people).
But I think the ultimate treat is the custom dog treats made by
Shake a Paw Greetings.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Wendy Wall of Shake a Paw Greeting about her life as a gourmet dog treat baker.
Shake a Paw is not only fun to say (can you not smile when you say it?) but it’s also fun for your dog!
What dog doesn’t appreciate fresh treats?
You can listen to our interview here.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. In the fall of 2010 we decided to test market doggie biscuit greeting cards locally.
At that time we didn't have custom packaging or even the Shake A Paw Greetings name. We just made up a bunch of greetings and delivered them to lots people we know who have dogs. The idea was a hit and we started getting orders right away.
Q. What got you started in the pet food business?
A. Sometimes life pushes us into things. My partner Mason was looking for a new career and we started brainstorming for ideas. We tried to think about what our interests were and the subject just kept coming back to dogs.
Our Boston Terrier, Norman, died of a brain tumour over 3 years ago but we still tell his stories over and over. He was a real goofball and we adored him.
The idea of spelling out a message with dog biscuits started as a joke. It seemed like a hair-brained idea at the time - the greeting is sent to the dog, not the person.
But we just kept thinking how great it is when somebody acknowledges that incredibly special relationship between you and your dog.
It's a fun gift and we can spell out just about anything you want it to say, but it also has an underlying message.
When it arrives in the mail, it's a surprise and I think it conveys the thought that "I get it. I understand how important this dog is to you." Norman really is the inspiration behind that.
Q. What keeps you motivated?
A. Dogs of course but people too.
Meeting 'dog people' on my walks really reinforces my belief behind these greetings. Every day I see how much these dogs are loved.
I know that our biscuit greetings celebrate the bonds between people and their dogs. I think the greetings reflect the joy of those relationships.
Q. What is the best compliment you’ve received from your customers?
A. That's hard to answer. There have been so many Tweets and Facebook comments where people say how unique gift these are. And some nice emails and blog posts.
Here are some:
"the impact of giving such a thoughtful gift is priceless". The Pet Book Lady
"It is very hard for me to find biscuits that I can eat. I have so many allergies. These are perfect! I give this a big 4 Paws up!!!!" - Kona's Corner
"Hi, I just wanted to let you know that both recipients received their package, and both were absolutely delighted! Thank you so much for helping me make their Christmas a bit more fun!! I'm sure I will order from you again." Janice, South Carolina
But MY favourite is "If a guy proposed to me (and my dog) with a biscuit greeting, then I'd know he was the perfect guy for me"- Sarah, BC
Q. Can you describe a typical baking day?
A. Making the biscuits is an exercise in patience.
If we run out of even one letter of the alphabet, there are some messages that can't be completed. So almost every day, we have to do an inventory of the letters and make a list of what's needed.
We make the doughs, hand cut all of the letters, bake them slowly for hours until they are completely dried out, and sort them alphabetically for storage. Then we're ready to make greetings.
Q. What’s in your treats?
A. The goal was to come up with recipes that were tasty, nutritious, easy to digest, and low in cholesterol, calories and glycemic load.
It was also extremely important to avoid as many food allergens as possible so that most dogs can eat them safely.
So our biscuits are wheat, corn and soy free.
Locally Sourced Protein
When it came to deciding on a protein we chose lamb (chicken and beef are more common allergens among the animal proteins.)
Also the lamb raised on Vancouver Island (Canada) is of very good quality.
It's important to us to know where our ingredients come from. It's also nice to support local farmers and have a lower carbon footprint.
Little Grain, No Salt or Sugar
We use as little grain as possible. We also feel that there is no need to add salt or sweeteners.
Experts have differing opinions about the benefit/harm of yeast and garlic so we don't use those either.
After about a year of research and recipe testing, we decided that pumpkin would be an important ingredient. It's very low in calories and yet it's loaded with Vitamin A, is a good source of iron and Vitamins C, K, and E. And because it's high in fiber, it acts as a natural digestive aid.
I could go on and on but people can go to our website to learn more about our five flavors of biscuits.
Thanks so much Wendy!! If you'd like to learn more about how you can order a gourmet dog treats greeting for that special dog in your life,
please visit Shake a Paw Greetings.