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In Seattle you can take your dog to a doggy yoga class. Your dog can get acupuncture. It can go to a dog-friendly pub and you can spend your life savings on daily doggy daycare. So I was surprised to learn that The Seattle Barkery only recently became the city’s first food truck for dogs.
“They’re all made fresh daily,” says co-owner and dog treat chef, Dawn Ford. “The peanut butter banana bones, we sell out of these every day. All of our treats are soft, breakable, no preservatives, they’re not dried to rock hard. That was my number one complaint, having two dogs with missing teeth; they want the soft, chewy treat.”
Ford said she started making treats and meals for her own dogs years ago, after pet food recalls started popping up. You can find her, and husband Ben and their stylish turquoise and red truck at dog parks, farmer’s markets and dogcentric events.
“Our very first event was last spring. We stayed up all night. I was in tears on the way out there thinking, ‘What have I done with my life? This was such a mistake! Our whole life savings have gone into this mess,'” Ford said. “We got there, it was a beautiful day, it was packed. There was a line 20-deep the whole day and everyone was really excited about it. It was just what I needed at that time to think that we weren’t completely nuts.”
The peanut butter and pumpkin pretzels, cheddar biscuits and beefy carrot sticks The Barkery sells are beautifully displayed, like you’re at a fine Parisian bakery for pups. And they even do birthday cakes.
“It’s a bacon encrusted peanut butter banana cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting, we call it a Hound Dog Cake. When the humans order them, they’ll try it, a lot of them will eat a slice with their dog, they say it’s good. I would like to think it’s good. The dog gets a party hat and we’ll probably throw in some treats too.”
They’ll even come on down to your dog’s backyard birthday bash and cater the party. I wondered if the folks throwing dog birthday parties, and splurging on treats have human children as well.
“Um, I would say probably 75 percent of our customers don’t have kids, they have dogs,” Ford said. “I would be our number 1 customer if it wasn’t my truck, that’s for sure.”
Dawn and Ben have two dogs of their own. There’s Sherman, a 6-year-old rescue Pekinese mix, whose tongue is permanently hanging out the side of his mouth. And Marvin, a blind senior Pekinese. They adopted Marvin from Old Dog Haven, a non-profit that pays for all of his medical bills. So they decided to donate all of their tips back to ODH.
“I thought this would be a good way to give back to all that they have given to him. We just surpassed the $2,000 mark in 10 months time,” Ford said. “Anytime people see the tip jar and it says ‘Tips To Old Dog Haven’ it seems like they always throw in a little extra because everybody loves an old dog.”
And just when you think they’ve forgotten all about the cats.
“The catnip joints are from Stark Raving Cat in Austin, Texas. They’re rolled like joints, it’s 100 percent premium catnip,” Ford said. “They were delivered in a cardboard box and our cat tried to shred it open. Clawed it and had it in his mouth, it looked like he was smoking a joint. Pictures galore!”
The Barkery also serves coffee and various packaged treats for humans.