Kathy Thrush’s clients sometimes will taste the dog treats her company sells before feeding them to their pets.
After all, Madison and Goliath’s Bow Wow Treats are all-natural, have no preservatives and contain ingredients such as peanut butter, honey, sweet potatoes and granola, she said.
She sells the treats at the Rocky Mount Farmers Market, online and from her home at 4610 Tharrington Road.
“Maybe once or twice a month I’ll go to the Farmers Market and sell the treats,” she said. “I’ll go to different holiday events and sell them.”
Her business originated in 2004 in Ohio.
“We had been baking for our dogs, Madison and Goliath, and decided to test the local market for interest in treats made with doggie-safe ingredients and without preservatives,” she said. “Our dogs had always loved them, and we soon discovered that we had a market for our product.”
She and her husband, Doug, moved in 2007 to Rocky Mount, and a year later, they reopened the business here.
“I still ship treats out of state to customers,” she said. “I’m originally from Ohio. I still have customers in Ohio that request treats.”
The treats are sold in quarter-, half-, 1- and 2-pound weights in cellophane bags tied with a ribbon. Wheat- and corn-free treats also are available for dogs with allergies.
She bakes the treats, which are approved by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, in her home’s garage.
“Our treats are made on order, not ahead of time, so your treats are fresh from the oven,” the company’s website states. “They look so good you might want to try one yourself.”
Among the treats are:
“Doggie Doodles,” a honey- and cinnamon-flavored treat made with oat flour.
- “Apple Cinnamon Drops,” which contain a variety of apples, honey, oatmeal with whole wheat flower.
- “Izzy Bones,” a peanut butter treat with whole wheat flour and corn meal.
- “Sweet Potato Paws,” made of out N.C.-grown potatoes, peanut butter, ginger and oat products.
- “Rocky Road Cones,” made of peanut butter, honey, granola, oatmeal and dry-roasted peanuts.
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: Kathy Thrush: Fresh, homemade, doggie-safe ingredient dog treats. We use ingredients such as apples, sweet potatoes, peanut butter. They are healthier. We use no preservatives, which is the big key. It’s not a treat that has any kind of meat products.
I’m registered with the Department of Agriculture. Every year, I have to submit my dog treats and all my treats have to be analyzed for fat, fiber protein and moisture. I am registered, just like Ames and Purina. All the dog food companies have to have their products analyzed with the state. If you don’t and they find out, it’s a felony.
At the end of the year here, I’ll be developing a new treat that is going to be totally grain-free that is very healthy with no preservatives.
I’ve tasted some (of the treats). I’ve had some people, because they are finicky about what they feed their dogs, taste them before giving them to their dog. They say they are good, not anything that is anything different than a human cookie. They are fresh and nutritious.
I started the business in Ohio in 2004. I was a director of nursing at a nursing home, and on occasion, the residents there would bake dog treats. I thought, “Maybe I could do that too.”
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Kathy Thrush: Myself and Isabelle, my black Lab, who is my official taste tester.
Q: How many people do you employ?
A: Kathy Thrush: Myself.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: Doug Thrush: Nutritiously supply all dogs with good treats and keep the dogs happy.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: Kathy Thrush: The fact we’re local. People don’t have to go all the way to Raleigh to get their homemade treats, and we can tell them exactly what is in the treats.
Q: How has your business grown?
A: Kathy Thrush: I’ve had growth in the company, especially during holiday seasons when I’m very busy.
Q: What growth do you expect in the coming years?
A: Kathy Thrush: We have talked that maybe we would do a storefront.
Doug Thrush: I expect our growth to rise. As a matter of fact, we’re to the point now that we would probably have to expand if we go any further. We have a separate room in a garage with ovens out there and a commercial mixer.