This company — K9 Salute — caught my eye because beyond making yummy treats for dogs, its goal is to honor those hero dogs who gave their lives in service, plus donate a portion of all sales to help veterans get service dogs and to help police K9s from all across the country get protective vests. On each treat bag, you’ll see a tribute to a dog killed in the line of duty. The dogs are from all different states.
“I contact the K9 unit and handler directly to tell them about K9 Salute and my mission and to see if they’d like to have their fallen K9 featured on a treat bag as a tribute,” explains founder Jessica Harris. “They provide me with the photo they’d like to use and a brief description that is provided on the bag. I’ve never had a handler say no. They are all so very grateful that someone even knows their dog was killed in the line of duty.”
Jessica, a retired combat medic from the Washington Army National Guard, founded K9 Salute in 2016 after eight different K9 officers were killed in about a month. All the treats are created with ingredients sourced in the USA from local veteran-owned farms. And of course, Jessica’s Bullmastiff, Tilly, serves as VP of quality control. This small company — it’s just her right now, but she’ll be building a small team in early 2019 — has garnered a lot of attention, chosen by SCORE as a North Carolina 2018 American Small Business Champion in a contest sponsored by Sam’s Club and one of the 2018 winners of the Bob Evans Farms’ Heroes to CEOs contest.
“I want people to understand the important mission behind the company and not only feel confident about the products they feed to their dogs but also feel good that they’re a big part of helping protect K9s around the country,” Jessica says. “Over the next few years, I hope to have developed long-term relationships with farmers for sourcing ingredients to continue to offer innovative and new products for consumers and their dogs. The pet industry is very exciting right now and it’s hard to say exactly where K9 Salute will be in a few years, but it’s important to stay at the forefront of developing trends while staying true to the mission. One of my big goals is to be in a position where we can sponsor one K9 each month around the country to provide a protective vest and allow customers to be involved in the process by submitting K9s in their area that need help.” Follow K9 Salute at k9salute.com and @K9salute.
Thumbnail: Photography ©In Between the Blinks Photography.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!