If you’ve read the Our Story page on our website, then you might remember that growing up I was terrified of dogs because I had been bitten by one as a child. When I moved from Georgia to Virginia after the loss of one of my best friends to a car accident, I had to really face my fears and push past that fear. So today I thought I would share with you the longer version of how I went from having a massive fear of dogs to not only loving dogs, but starting Iconic Paws natural products based on my passion for helping dog parents have access to affordable products that can truly make a difference in their lives.
When I moved in with my best friend and her dogs Calli and Jefe, I was going through a really hard period of depression. Those dogs pretty much showed me unconditional love right away and we had an instant connection. I never thought that I would have this sort of love and friendship with an animal, let alone a dog after being attacked by my neighbor’s dog when I was growing up. But Calli and Jefe gave me a new reason to live and were there for me when other people were not there, including people who I had helped through their own struggles.
With dogs, I’ve learned that you find an ear that is always ready to listen. I now truly understand why they say that dogs are man’s best friend. Calli is a rescue dog, and she has become my therapist. If something is wrong, she knows it. She can sense if I am upset and she will sit on my lap and give me high fives. Jefe is more like the protector. He will watch the house and let us know if someone is here, but he also loves to be petted and cuddled.
The dogs are inseparable from each other, too. Calli is the diva of the house and Jefe is more of the elder statesman. I think he loves her more than she loves him, he’s the big brother and she really loves whoever is petting her or giving her food. They are both super well trained and know our daily routine. Of course, I still put my treat shipments out of their reach, because I know one day they would decide to just go for it and eat all of our products!
So, after watching how my friend cooks for the dogs and after doing a lot of research, I decided to create my own treats and open a dog business. My motivation is not so much about making money, I want to put a great product out there that lets me make a true difference in the lives of dogs and their parents. Right now you have animals who are suffering from health issues, you have pet parents who cannot really afford an expensive vet bill, so I wanted to help provide something that can be affordable, that they can purchase and know it’s a good product and that they can see results in real time.
The reason I started with my hemp chicken sweet potato jerky dog treat is that there is a lack of knowledge about the hemp industry. When you say hemp, a lot of people don’t really know all of the powerful benefits that it can provide. people always get it mixed up with marijuana, and they don’t really understand all about the plant and how it is processed. When I first started there were not that many hemp products out there and not a lot of information about the benefits of hemp. In fact, you can read more about hemp on this webpage: https://iconicpaws.com/differences-hemp-regular-thc-may-just-surprise/
To create the treat, I started doing lots and lots of research, I’ve talked to other business owners, I’ve asked questions and done my homework. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management and as a member of the military, I have benefitted from knowledge in a wide variety of areas.
Now that the treats are for sale, people are starting to become a bit more receptive to learning about the health benefits of hemp. We are starting slowly by introducing them to something that they can easily get and I have had people contact me to tell me that their senior dogs are showing the benefits of the hemp. I’ve also been able to sponsor events and send products.
My own senior dog Jefe is getting around a lot better, he is not as tired on walks, he is more energetic and moves a bit more. Of course, Calli eats them because she loves them, and they both know the bag and instantly sit and wait when we get a bag out for them.
I never thought I would be in this position in my life or have this type of love that I share with them, two years after moving into the home that we all share today. It is a very beautiful friendship that came from a heartbreaking tragedy, and I am happy that I am also able to make a product like our hemp treats that are already helping dogs enjoy better health.
Watch for our next blog when I share with you how we decided to create a Probiotic, new products coming soon, and our thoughts on finding a manufacturer.