When picking up Hermes from doggie day care one afternoon, I saw the cutest doggie treats on the counter. When I asked about them, I found out that they were made right here in Sioux Falls! I've now met the artist and learned more about these treats, and I wanted to share with you guys.
Melissa Black says that after her husband's birthday present of two adorable puppies, she started noticing all the products coming out that make having pets even more fun (if that's even possible!). There are lots of new toys, and home and auto pet products that make living and traveling with a pet easier, but she thinks there's a lack of healthy alternatives when it comes to dog treats.
Melissa works for the Avera Institute for Human Genetics, and says she's a "scientist by nature" and never thought she had a creative side. But, she decided that just like we try and choose healthy options for our family, there should be healthy options for dog treats as well (and her's are so fun!).
Melissa named her business, Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and it's very fitting for her adorable treats. The gourmet treats are all natural with no artificial preservatives. They are made with quality human-grade organic, non-gmo ingredients. She even makes her own homemade chicken broth and a special frosting for dogs that doesn't contain lots of sugar. She jokes that if her family were in a position where they were snowed in for very long, that they would probably be just fine with their supply of dog treats. ;) The treats are made with healthy whole wheat flour, but Melissa is working with a local dog nutritionist and hopes to add a grain free option to her gourmet line next.
Five different flavors have been perfected so far at Paws & Enjoy. Every treat is packed with nutrients, but the dogs don't have to know that. All they care about is that they smell bacon! Or peanut butter!
There are different sized treats for all walks of dogs and the fun designs are endless. Each holiday has themed cookies and baskets, and Melissa designs new, whimsical treats monthly. My favorite so far... one of her woodland critters, the squirrel! :D
Melissa's bakery is in her kitchen. She has a duel oven with extra racks and a dehydrator, but says that she may soon have to convert her garage to support a larger oven.
Part of quality control is conducted in-home by her two puppies, Bandit and Bella and her grand-dog, Dallas. (It's very important that she has a mix of little dog and big dog opinions). Melissa's dogs have access to the treats on a regular basis so she has to help with distribution. She says they know when she is baking treats versus when she is cooking dinner and they sit patiently on the kitchen mat for her to give them a small taste. They sometimes even get to lick the spoon after all the mixing is done! (I don't know about you, but this sounds like a pretty cushy job to me.)
When I asked Melissa what she has planned for the future of her business she told me that she's excited to see where it takes her. She loves having a booth at craft fairs and fantasizes about getting an RV, taking the pups, and traveling around to all the fun fairs around the country. She would also like to open a shop outside of her home one day. For now, you can find her gourmet dog treats at local pet businesses such as Precious Pets, Mini-Critters, and Earthwise in Sioux Falls, and at Get Pinned in Mitchell and Alley Cat in Dell Rapids. You'll most likely find her at the craft fairs that will be popping up this summer, and of course you can always order on-line, too!
You can learn more about Melissa's local business at Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and if you are on Facebook give her page a like!
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I can't really get them to say "cheese," but I can almost always make them smile. -Kelly