Sunday, January 7, 2018

This Is Only The Beginning Of Great Stuff And New Adventures

I have avoided writing and publishing this blog column. I have plugged away at the draft night after night. With each sentence, it tugs at my heartstrings. At the same time, and I hate admitting this, it brings me a sense of relief and excitement. Sure, with making any big change, it's sometimes painful, but change is often times a remarkable rite of passage. Like this.

What tugs at my heartstrings is that for a little over 4 years we've been baking Bodacious Biscuit Love in our kitchen every week. We have used our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats as a means to spread biscuit love to shelter and rescue pups and to help fundraising events for our local animal shelters. We were able to do this because we offered our biscuits to the public for a small fee per bag. The funds acquired were used to purchase ingredients, supplies, and to cover shipping costs so we could bake and spread biscuit love.

As of January 1st, we will no longer be offering our biscuits to the public. Today, we pulled our last and only display. 

The relief in writing and publishing this blog column stems from knowing that we have exhausted the route of utilizing our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats and why. We've known it for some time. We spent all of 2017 brainstorming new ideas and transforming those ideas into reality. It worked. We were able to utilize our handcrafted products (aka DIY Dog Mom Projects), Bodacious Patchwork Doggy Quilts, and more to assist with the cost of our Bodacious Love Care Packages. In addition, my homemade dog treat recipes inspired pet parents to bake treats for the pups.

To better explain all of this, in 2013, when we launched Bodacious Biscuit Love, we quickly learned that Connecticut had very strict laws on pet treat distribution. In the eyes of the law, "In State Statute for Commercial Feed, the word distribute means to offer for sale, sell, exchange or barter, or to supply, furnish or otherwise provide. Donating would fall under furnish or otherwise provide."

As quoted in the Bodacious Biscuit Love 'There Are Laws To Follow If You Want To Distribute Homemade Dog Treats' blog column...

"In order for us to offer our Peanut Butter Dog Treats to the public and be able to legally donate them to shelters, we had to send a few biscuits to a Feed Lab. The fee for that was $35.

After the results were determined (Guaranteed Analysis for crude protein by % Min., crude fat by % Min., crude fiber by % Max. and moisture by % Max), we had to send a label to the Department of Agriculture that included all criteria, mentioned above, along with a check for $80."

The fee for determining the guaranteed analysis for crude protein by % Min., crude fat by % Min., crude fiber by % Max. and moisture by % Max for EACH flavor is $35. That's a one time fee. However, the $80 per flavor, per label, is not a one time fee. You have to fork over that amount for a single flavor every year in December to renew your license.

For example, if we wanted to add 3 more flavors right now to our Bodacious Biscuit Love selection, that would cost us $105 for the testing lab, and another $240 for licensing through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Tack on another $80 for our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats label to get renewed, that would be a total of $425. To renew our license for all 4 Bodacious Biscuit Love Flavors, it would cost us $320 a year.

This is the reason why we haven't pursued offering other flavors to the public.

As it stands right now, we're forking out $80 a year to renew our single license for the original Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats. That may not seem like a lot of money, however, in May of 2016, we decided to share the recipe for our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats. By this time, we had received a lot of requests for the recipe. Most of these requests were accompanied by, "My pups love your dog treats, but we can't afford to buy bags every week." It was more important to us that dog parents had the recipe than making a few bucks.

When we shared the recipe, the response was overwhelming. People sent messages of gratitude and photos of their homemade dog treats. I still get the occasional message. These messages and photos make me smile.

In addition to sharing our recipe, we pulled all of our displays except for one due to the distance of various locations. Between Lisa's work hours getting longer and our family getting bigger, restocking our displays and spending over 2 hours traveling after Lisa got out of work was becoming more difficult. Finally, we pulled down our displays except for one that was 5 minutes down the road.

The last change we made that affected our Bodacious Biscuit Love funds is we stopped participating in events and we didn't host our Summer and Fall Bodacious Yard & Bake Sales. Again, with changing and lengthier work schedules and our family getting bigger, we weren't able to dedicate 3 days to prep for an event or an entire day to participate in events.

Since day one, we've always run out of pocket. However, since sharing our recipe, pulling our displays, and not participating in events, the little money coming in to defer our costs was now next to nothing. In December of 2016, we forked out $80 out of our own pocket to renew our license. It took us almost 4 months to replace that.

Amid all of that, and since October of 2013, we lived, we learned, we got through some growing pains, we made changes, we expanded, we found inspiration in all areas based on requests from pet parents, etc. We also realized there was a demand for tried and true resources for dog parents. This would include recipes for homemade dog treats, Dog Mom bloggers, DIY Dog Mom Projects, repurposing, etc.

It's been an incredible journey and it will continue to go forth with new adventures. Our journey is not ending. Not in the least bit. It's only beginning.

We will continue to make Bodacious Love Care Packages for pet parents in need, minus our homemade dog treats, and use a portion of our proceeds from DIY Dog Mom Projects and other stuff to purchase these items. And we'll be greatly utilizing the treats and toys and apparel people pass down to us.

In addition, I will be creating new, homemade dog treat recipes again starting this month to share with our audience. By the end of this year, I'm hoping to publish my first dog treat recipe book. I have my notebook with recipe ideas and drafts sitting on the kitchen counter. My goal is to encourage pet parents to make homemade treats for their furry kids.

I also have a bunch of other DIY Dog Mom Project goals that include custom-made dog apparel, doggy beds, doggy themed items, and holiday stuff that extends beyond our Bodacious Holiday Ornaments, etc.

My ultimate goal is to be a reliable and trusted resource in the area of encouraging pet parents to make homemade treats, toys, beds, apparel, and repurposing items into cool DIY Dog Mom Projects. And, if you're not able to do that, or don't have the time, I want to provide you with information and reviews on the treats and products out there along with deals and coupons for pet products.

And also, to share our life with you, in depth, about our Bodacious Dog Mom Life.

We are Dog Moms of 4 rescue pups. They're our kids. They're our world. We ARE real Moms. It doesn't matter if our kids have fur and paws.

I'm a Work at Home Dog Mom. Lisa works outside of the home. Our life is crazy, busy, and there is never a dull moment. Being a Work at Home Dog Mom presents its own challenges.

This blog is our way of sharing our life. The ups. The downs. The good stuff. The messes. The misconceptions. The funny stuff. All of it.

It's also our way of being proactive and still provide assistance for pet parents in need at the same time. It's about being economical and utilizing our funds and time in the best way possible.

Bodacious Biscuit Love will still exist. It'll just shift to providing recipes for scrumptious new, homemade dog treats that I create in our kitchen. These recipes are simple and don't require a lot of time or money.

By the end of this month, I'll be creating a new Facebook page dedicated to our DIY Dog Mom Projects. And, Our Bodacious Dog Mom Life Facebook page will explode with great stuff.

I know all of this goes against a recent blog post that I published titled 'You Can't Build A Reputation On What You Are Going To Do. Wise Words From Henry Ford.'  However, in some cases, there are exceptions.

The process has already started. 

We now have a full wood shop in the basement. Over the summer we cleared out most of the stuff we had in boxes and totes, had a quick yard sale, and donated the rest of the items. The woodshop is organized and stocked with all the tools needed. The only thing left to do is paint the workbench.

A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned and organized the biscuit/craft room. It's now set up to accommodate our new adventures.

I have taken inventory of my dwindling amount of fabric. It's definitely time for a fabric shopping spree.

This week, I'll be making a list of ingredients I need to start creating new, homemade dog treat recipes. I'm dedicating a single cupboard just for these ingredients.

We raise our glasses...

We are tremendously grateful to our Bodacious Community that has grown in the past 4 years. We couldn't have done it without you.

I know some will be disappointed that we won't be offering our biscuits to the public any longer, however, the recipe for our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats is right here.

I hope that we continue to have your support as we begin our new adventures. Of course, I'll keep you updated on on this blog and our Facebook pages that I'll be updating soon.

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