Business goes to the dogs â and that's a good thing

Staff reporter

For the love of her dogs, Trisha Williamson has become a dog cookie baker.

It started as a way to provide healthy snacks to her two dogs and has turned into a fun hobby that supplements the family income.

Since the beginning of this year, the friendly, upbeat woman, with assistance from her husband Bob, has managed to produce, package, and sell the doggie treats from her home.

The couple and their two dogs, who are treated more like children than pets, Trish said, live in Hillsboro. The ingredients for the doggie treats are purchased locally because Trisha likes to support local businesses.

After researching recipes, the pair decided on one that includes flour, oatmeal, wheat germ, honey, vegetable oil, baking powder, and peanut butter. The dough is rolled out like traditional cookie dough, cut with a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter (of course), and baked for an hour.

With those kinds of ingredients, what do they taste like?

"My girlfriend and I tasted them," Trisha said with a laugh. "They taste pretty good — like a dry cookie."

More importantly, the Williamsons' two dogs, Nadie and Ruby Jean, have given their seals, or wags, of approval.

While Trisha did her baking, the dogs would anxiously lay on the kitchen floor, waiting for rejects or mishaps.

Just recently, sadly the couple had to put their beloved Nadie, a St. Bernard, to sleep. Their other dog, a St. Bernard and coon dog mix, continues to enjoy the baking, typically on Sundays.

Trisha makes about four dozen cookies per week which are bagged in groups of six and distributed to Little Pleasures in Hillsboro and PLANTations in Marion.

She is able to freeze surplus inventory that can be thawed and distributed as needed.

Bob assists with the labels and Trisha uses her "artsy-craftsy" skills, as she calls them, in packaging the delectable treats.

The cookies are called "D.O.G." What is "D.O.G.?" Nothing other than the spelling of the reason for Trisha and Bob to make and sell these products, Trisha said.

"I just got tired of buying treats that weren't healthy and typically made outside of the U.S.," Trisha said, and, most importantly, her dogs loved them.

Before she packaged the treats, she had a local veterinarian approve the ingredients and has the ingredient contents printed on the packages, just in case dogs may have allergies to an ingredient.

Even though Nadie has died, Trisha will continue to make the treats in her memory.

For now, there are no plans to sell on the Internet or to expand production. However, having a booth this spring at Hillsboro's Farmer's Market may be an option.

"I plan to keep my business small," Trisha said. "I like doing it in my kitchen with my dog."