A local entrepreneur is turning her days off into a bustling homemade dog treat business that is giving Pueblo pooch owners a chance to thoroughly spoil their pets.
Des Vigil is a full-time respiratory therapist at Parkview Hospital where she works three 12-hour shifts a week. Baking Des’s Delightful Dog Treats is something she started doing on her days off.
At first, she was making the treats as a hobby to pamper her own pooches. It turned into a side business spurred by positive feedback from family and friends who shared the yummies with their furry family members.
The mainstay treat comes in a typical dog bone shape featuring whole wheat flour, all-natural peanut butter and cinnamon. Vigil’s golden retriever, whom she said “likes everything,” prefers the large size, but she has several smaller sizes to cater to tinier dogs like her Pomeranian and Shih Tzu.
She also is making mini birthday cakes, cupcakes and doughnuts featuring whole wheat flour, unsweetened natural apple sauce and cinnamon. For frosting, she uses melted yogurt which she can color with natural food dye.
Topped with carob — a chocolate substitute that is safe for dogs — or crushed peanuts, the treats resemble those meant for humans.
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“I dehydrate the treats for a harder texture so they last longer,” she said. “They can last about three weeks without being refrigerated or frozen.”
She launched the business on March 9.
“I got about 30 orders in the first couple of weeks. I’ve made five cakes for doggie birthdays and I made mini cupcakes for one family so their dogs could help celebrate their 2-year-old child’s birthday,” Vigil said.
With each order often comes a story. The most touching was from a dog’s family that wanted to give one last special treat to their best friend in his last days of life.
One of Vigil’s clients, Bailey Humphrey of Pueblo West, said she decided to get the treats for her 2-year-old German Shepherd, Ares.
“He has a very sensitive stomach but with these treats he has no (adverse) reaction,” Humphrey said. “He likes the cupcakes and the doughnuts but he loves the larger dog bones.”
Ares will sit and gently take the treat before quickly devouring it, Humphrey said with a laugh.
Vigil takes orders Monday through Friday and makes the treats over the weekends so they are fresh. Customers pick up the treats from her home.
“Eventually, I’d like to open an Etsy shop. I am experimenting with shipping treats to see how to get them delivered without breaking,” she said.
Vigil also is looking into selling her treats at Pueblo farmers markets this summer. To find out more, visit facebook.com/dessdelightfuldogtreats.
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