2013-06-05 / Columnists
Pets pets pets
Here’s the scoop: It’s the dog days of summer and you’re a parched pooch residing on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. You just galumphed around the dog park. You sniff a whiff, and spy a pushcart that sells all natural frozen yogurt made especially for dogs. Is the cart a mirage, or is it real?
You’re not dreaming. It’s the real deal. Dogfroyo™, an artisanal canine-friendly ice cream treat, is the creation of Laura Diaz, a NYC dog-lover, chef and caterer who unveiled her colorful Yappy Treats Cart™ at Central Park and Riverside Park over Memorial Day weekend. The debut of Dogfroyo™ got lots of neighborhood media coverage. Cups are already for sale at 18 pet specialty stores in NYC and one in NJ, available online at www.yappytreatscart.com and at tastings at charity events during the spring-summer season. Currently Dogfroyo™ comes in two dog-delectable flavors: peanut butter/ banana/carob or tuna/carrot. Each 3¼-ounce container size makes for easy licking, and the packaging contains words of wisdom geared for the dog guardian’s eyes.
Why Dogfroyo™? Frozen yogurt is best as a doggy dessert when it doesn’t add to your pup’s waistline. Devoted to her own two dogs, “Sisu” and “Merlin,” Laura is concerned about healthy ingredients and the dangers of pet obesity. According to a 2007 study done by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, half of our dogs and cats were classified as obese by veterinarians.
“The current food revolution trend is also changing how pet owners choose treats for their dogs,” says Yappy Treats Cart™ founder Laura Diaz. “Pet owners know that low-quality additives and fake ingredients in many treats can undermine their dog’s overall healthy diet. Savvy consumers opt for wholesome treats containing all-natural, high-grade and organic ingredients as a way to prevent illness, premature death and pet obesity.”
Laura’s new company hand crafts its brand of frozen yogurt dog treats in small batches using only high-quality, human-grade and lactose-intolerant-safe ingredients, with no added preservatives, sodium, sugar or fat. Made with locally sourced fresh organic ingredients and Greek yogurt, Dogfroyo™ treats contain live active probiotic cultures, which help increase a pet’s digestive and immune systems, and promote a healthy skin and coat. The treats are certified by the NYS Department of Agriculture with ingredients and analysis listed on the label. Doesn’t this process remind you of Ben & Jerry’s during the early days? Were Pavlov’s dogs drooling outside the garage in Vermont too?
Yappy Dogma™: Laura’s double mission to serve the well-being of dogs and their humans starts with packaging. She believes a dog’s purpose in life is to try to teach us how to become better human beings. With that in mind, the cover of each cup includes a Yappy Dogma™ message (from the dog to the human). These are like fortune cookies in essay form. Here is a sample: “Don’t bark when a simple growl will do. Give dawgs your feedback and a chance to correct the issue. If they don’t, move on. There are better bones to sink your teeth into.”
Yappy Treats Cart™: Laura has the first-ever frozen yogurt dog treat sold from a cart. The NYC Parks Department gave her a 29-day permit which she can use every Saturday and Sunday in the summer. She hopes that if the trial goes well, the city will issue her a permanent permit. She pushes the 130-pound cart herself to the varying locations in her Upper West Side neighborhood. Those curious can see where the cart will be by following Laura on Twitter, Facebook or her website. She already has some hungry hound repeat customers.
The Inspiration for Dogfroyo™: Laura happens to be the dog mom of “Merlin,” a Weimaraner and “Sisu,” an Afghan Hound therapy dog who has been featured in “Pets” twice. (See Post and Record “Pets” online 1/30/13 & 2/13/13.) You may recall that right before the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show, Sisu won the 2013 New Yorkie Runway Fashion Show that benefits the WKC Angel on a Leash therapy dog program after our fierce voting campaign. It surely helped when he sang opera on cue during the audition.
“Sisu,” now eight, was born in Helsinki as part of a litter of 12. His name means “determination, never to give up” in Finnish. He does work as a therapy dog for Angel on a Leash. (Black & tan Afghan Hounds have won at the fashion show two years in a row. Our pal Jin Jin, also a multi-talented therapy dog from Tom’s River, was crowned in 2012.) “Sisu” is amazing, hard-working and determined like his creative mom Laura. That’s why they make such a great marketing team for such a novel product.
Laura credits “Sisu,” who always pulled toward ice cream trucks, for inspiring her to develop frozen yogurt for dogs. Sisu is her spokesdog for Dogfroyo™, while his younger Weim brother “Merlin,” who just had his first modeling job, is the VP in charge of taste-testing and quality control.
For Adoption: Our poster pups would love some Dogfroyo ™ but first they would like to find a loving home. At Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270), “Kisses” #13-292 is a blind male Cocker Spaniel found in Amityville. His microchip says he is nine years old. Meanwhile, “Koala” is at Last Hope in Wantagh (516-783-0030). “Koala,” a shy but super-sweet seven-year-old Chihuahua, was put outside and forgotten by folks in West Virginia when he didn’t breed with their female.