Most people with dogs enjoy indulging the pooch every now and then. Some of us buy big rawhide chews for our pets, others take their dogs to puppy parks around town and some people enroll their pets in doggie day care for play dates with other canines.
But some of us know about PawNosh, a local company making healthy, fun-named dog treats such as Pea-Mutt Butter Biscuits and Muddy Paws. We know we can purchase these special snacks for our pets when we want to give them a special treat.
Paula Thomas, a dog-lover herself, developed the treats in partnership with her friend and Tigard neighbor, Mary Hansen.
'We started this about a year ago,' Thomas recently told me, 'but it was not a business at first.' She and her friend made dog biscuits for their friends and family, and they realized that the pet industry would be a good one to get into, she explains.
This summer the pair is selling the treats at the Tigard Farmers Market on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. They said they are finding the steady interest in the treats is making them bake dog biscuits nearly every day to meet the demand. The Iron Mutt Coffee Company in West Beaverton recently offered the treats as an experiment and found that the circle of people who know about and want to buy the biscuits broadened even wider.
'Thinking of the names for the dog treats was a lot of the fun,' Thomas confesses. With names like Cheese Louise, Beastro Biscuit, and the Kung Fu Flea Fighter (made with brewer's yeast to fight fleas), these treats make fun gifts for dog owners.
Thomas said when she and Hansen are at the Tigard Market, dogs often lead their human companions to the PawNosh table, as if they know they'll get a sample and some love when they reach their destination.
'The treats are made with all-natural, really high-quality ingredients. In fact, people could eat everything that is in the dog biscuits. They're not exactly what you should feed your dog all the time … that's why they're called treats!' she said.
Because so many dogs have allergies, the bakers at PawNosh (that would also be Hansen and Thomas because, for now at least, it is a two-woman operation) have developed their recipes to suit a wide variety of dogs' needs. Some biscuits have no corn, or no wheat, for example.
Thomas, who is a Red Cross nurse by day, shares that she did not really imagine herself doing this, but now that she is in the thick of it, it is a lot of fun. The pair has a grand time developing new dog treats, such as the Canine Quiches (made with baby food) and the Weiner Wraps that really look like the pigs in a blanket appetizers that many of us make as human appetizers.
'This is a side job that's kind of growing,' Thomas said. 'Right now we're just measuring interest in the treats, but they are not outrageously priced and a lot of people seem pretty excited about them.' And a lot of dogs, including my own, are pretty excited about them, too.
Though she is originally from southern California, Thomas said she is almost a native Oregonian by now.
'As soon as I came here, I knew I wanted to stay,' she said. 'It is so green … and you really do appreciate the sun when it comes out. It is beautiful here all year, and I love living in Oregon,' she said with a smile.