Dawn and Kali Wags: A Woman Finds Her Joy
Kali, a Golden Labrador, came into my life in 2003 and right away, I sought treats that were as healthy as the foods which I fed her. Finding a healthy treat that she would love posed a real challenge. There were no treats where the first ingredient listed was real meat. Almost every dog treat contained mostly carbohydrates (flour or rice) and far too little protein.
For the first year of Kali’s life, I researched and experimented with baking treats for her. Soon I began to share prototypes with my friends’ dogs. My list of willing taste testers began to expand, and I was encouraged to market my treats. Soon my treats were displayed in two stores on the North Shore. I was “in business”, but I had to learn everything about sales and marketing. My early business tutors were helpful retailers who kept Kali Wags stocked on their shelves.
I sent my emerging treat recipe to the scientists at the Guelph Food and Technology Center to ensure that my product was truly well-balanced. With their consultation, I tweaked my recipe to approximate the standards for dog food, not just dog treats. I retained a marketing firm and we branded the product with a logo, labels and the tag line, “Even fussy dogs love them!”. Naming the treats was easy. Every time Kali came near the treats, her tail began to wag so it was just natural to call them Kali Wags – The Healthy Dog Treat.
Kali was my official treat tester, but she was a Yellow Lab (they’ll eat anything). I tried to find fussy dogs and today, many owners tell me that Kali Wags is the only treat which their dogs will eat. One woman wrote me and said that she could teach her dog to drive with Kali Wags!
Today Kali Wags are made from one third protein and egg, one third vegetables, and one third whole grains in three flavours: organic beef, natural peanut butter, and wild Alaskan salmon. I try to locally source my Kali Wags ingredients whenever possible. Since Kali’s passing in 2013, our Goldendoodle (Teaka) has become the official taste-tester.
Kali Wags is about aligning my passion for dogs with a home-based business. It’s about finding the joy which healthy dogs can bring into our lives.
Founder – Kali Wags