Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lisa Had A Brilliant Idea And I May Just Run With It

In October of 2013 Lisa and I started Bodacious Biscuit Love. You can check out that blog site here. In short, we bake homemade biscuits throughout the week to offer our Bodacious Community and we donate our biscuits to local Connecticut animal shelters. We also use our biscuits to raise money so we can purchase much needed supplies for these animal shelters and to assist with medical expenses. Several times a month, during the busy event season, we donate Bodacious Raffle Baskets to shelters, rescue groups and various organizations who are raising money for the animals in need.

The inspiration behind Bodacious Biscuit Love stemmed from various things, however, the biggest was when we adopted Coco. He was about a year old and spent the first year of his life in a basement confined to a crate. His eating habits, and unwillingness to eat store bought food and treats, indicated he was probably fed table scraps for the first year of his life. Regardless of the details, when we adopted Coco, he wouldn't eat store-bought anything. He's also exceptionally picky.

Making his meals with a variety of food was complete trial and error, but we eventually figured out what he liked and didn't. Treats were a whole other ballgame. We searched locally, and not so local, for homemade treats. We found a handful of places and purchased various flavors in hopes to find something he'd enjoy snacking on. No such luck. The biscuits were either too hard, had a weird odor or he didn't care for the flavor. The more "boutique" style biscuits were slathered with too much royal icing and sugary fillings.

This process went on for quite sometime. 

Right around the same time, I took on a couple of clients who had just opened a local business that catered to dogs. They did it all from grooming to scheduled walks. At one point, to spice up their Facebook page and blog site, I planned a contest. I reached out to a local business that made homemade dog treats. The biscuits are very boutique-ish and on the high-end price range. I sent the owner a message asking if she'd be willing to donate a bag of biscuits or gift certificate as a prize. In exchange, I'd promote their business to give them some exposure.

No reply. I sent another message. No reply. The owners of the business I was providing services for reached out. Again, no reply.

While all of this was going on, Lisa and I had, over that past year, become involved with rescue dogs and our circle of like-minded people was growing. Often times, the discussion of "big hearts, empty wallets" came up. Several times it was mentioned that shelters and people who rescue and foster can't afford the luxury of homemade treats. Simpy put, they're too expensive.

My inquiring mind explored this. They were right. The biscuits we had purchased for Coco in the past were expensive and ranged anywhere between $1 and $3.50 PER biscuit. At those prices, it excluded a lot of pups especially the rescues and those sitting at our local animal shelters.

The light bulb went off and for the next month or so, I took my 30+ years of baking experience and experimented with dough. I didn't use a recipe from Pinterest or from any dog treat book. After quite a few trial and error batches, I came up with a dough that worked. The final product was a 4-ingredient biscuits that was crunchy, but not too crunchy. And, it passed the pup AND human taste test.

The rest, you could say, is history.

It was then we made the decision to spread biscuit love to shelter and rescue pups. If people wanted to donate our suggested amount for a bag, that money would be used to buy ingredients, supplies and to cover shipping costs so we could spread more biscuit love.

Our motto is that no pup should go without fresh made biscuits.

In the beginning, we offered a variety of flavors. However, when we decided to update our labels, we realized in order to be licensed and registered with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, our label had to include certain information. There was a cost to obtain this information per flavor and a cost to register each label. You can read all about that here. It's expensive. Due to the cost, we decided to go with the biscuit that withstood all 4 seasons and was the most sought after.

Our plain peanut butter biscuit.

I still bake some of our other flavors and I continue to experiment with new biscuit flavors and textures. We just don't offer them to the public or donate them.

For the past several months, I've been itchin' to do something with that. The other night, while eating dinner, the topic of my homemade dog treats came up in discussion.

"You should create a new page on the dog Mom blog site for all of your recipes and maybe, down the road, publish a book."

Lisa is a woman of very few words, but when she speaks, at times, it has the effect of the palm of my hand smacking my forehead.

Duh. Why didn't I think of this?

Every week, I have people who send me emails and message me on Facebook asking for tips and advice on making homemade meals and treats for their fur-kids. They ask for recipes and tasty combinations for meals. I don't have meal recipes, but I have lots of treat recipes. These recipes are ones I created.

We have quite a few taste testers too who have given the paws up or down. Pups and humans.

Why not. Lisa had a brilliant idea and there's a pretty good chance I'm going to run with it...

Stay tuned...

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