TobyandBellas is the result of a long journey, one which resulted in being caught up in the rat race and needing off the proverbial treadmill.
Always wanting to begin my own business, experienced in everything from finance to insurance to administration to baking and chef training the long road brought me to doing what I love doing and for the right reasons; the health of our pets.
Toby is our very first family dog (we only ever had fish before) and a rescue; Bella came along about two years later. Each had been homed to elderly people who just couldn't handle the busyness of mid sized breed pups.
In 2020, we welcomed Eira (Eye-ra) to our home - yet another furry friend needing a new home.
We are sad for their original owners that Toby, Bella and Eira had to be re-homed; but so happy that they were re-homed to us.
Although they were "rescues" they were never treated poorly. In this sense, rescue simply meant that they needed new owners for one reason or another.
Toby came to us from Valley Animal Rescue, while Bella arrived from a family member and Eira from a friend from a local business. They have made such a wonderful addition to our family and our home.
TobyandBellas is our start up home-based business. We began our testing with, of course, Toby and Bella. All of our treats are made with human grade ingredients - simply meaning that they were purchased through a grocery store, wholesale store or grown ourselves, with quality intended for human consumption. We feel that our dogs should have food products made with the same care that our food is made with. It doesn't mean that they should eat the same things...but the same quality.
We are in the process of sourcing local ingredients to expand our line of products and we are committed to using, where at all possible - organic, antibiotic and herbicide free ingredients. When we need to order ingredients, they are purchased from sustainable, non GMO and ethically produced sources.
Our packaging is simple; using renewable products, going back to paper, cardboard, glass and aluminum. Our packaging is either recycled and/or recyclable. If at all possible, we have used bio-degradable.
Our venture into healthy, all natural dog treats began when I was off work with a little time on my hands. I began to do a little research into the contents of our dogs' food - we were feeding kibble. A review of the ingredients used in many sources of kibble was an eye opener. The long list of additives and the questionable definitions of "meal", "by-products" and "rendering" concerned us. We didn't want to feed those things to our dogs; and the more I learn, the more I know we made the right decisions.
At the same time, we began to notice that neither dog (Toby or Bella) was in a hurry to eat anymore. Often, kibble remained in their bowl long after meal time. My husband was frequently pouring some type of "topper", usually leftovers from cooking meats for us, just so they would eat the store bought product.
We were always careful about reading the ingredient list and watching what our dogs were fed, what we hadn't done was investigate each ingredient. This of course led to additional information concerning quality control standards, questionable additives and the kibble vs. raw debate. One of the statements that I read stuck with me "pet food companies are not in the dog food business, they're in the marketing business".
After our education, we soon started making home made food for Toby and Bella.
After the first meal, they were obviously impressed with the change. Bella started waking me just after daylight; and me, thinking she needed to relieve herself got up out of bed to let her out. But she didn't go. She stood looking at her bowl.
I wasn't setting that precedent - I went back to bed and she was fed an hour or so later.
It has been very much the same since; with she and Toby both eating every last morsel and being very content, circling whomever wakes up earliest to ensure that their food is first on the to do list for the day.
They are both healthy, happy and once again look forward to meal time.
At the same time; I began to question the content of the dried bones we were feeding Toby and Bella as treats as well. I did an investigation of the ingredient list and was frightened again - so many additives, so many artificial colours and flavours. I immediately began to research treats that I could make myself, that were not only without the additives and chemicals but also included ingredients which were beneficial in some way to the dogs.
I learned a significant amount about the ingredients we have chosen to use, and their effects on dogs.
I located and adapted recipes to come up with something that we know our dogs love, and will also be beneficial to them.
Questioning a return to work after an illness, I decided that it was time that I put the effort I did into my full time job into a home based business.
TobyandBellas was born.
We are just starting out. We are hoping to build our business into one where our dogs are benefiting from our treats and yours are too.
We invite you to come along with us on our journey, to see where and what we will explore next.
We have big plans; come along for the ride.
January 2022 Update
Wow, what ride we've been on. We are still making all natural, healthy treats for our pets and yours but our small home based business has morphed into a brick and mortar retail location as well.
Our store contains products for all types of animals with a focus on natural wholesome ingredients, freeze dried, raw, and made in Canada. We do carry a 'vet recommended' line but it's not normally recommended by us. We invite customers to educate themselves and make their own educated decisions but are always happy to answer questions and to provide third party data to support our statements and conclusions.
Our dogs, now three, remain healthy and happy and now enjoy a variety of premium dog foods. We do focus on wet, freeze dried raw and made in Canada. As we are employed more than full time, unfortunately we have had to stop making their food ourselves. We are careful with what we do feed them; and fully believe that a variety of foods will provide them with the benefits of each type of food.
We are happy to discuss your questions and concerns if you wish and always share timely information on our social media pages.
Treat them like family; naturally.
The ingredients used in some pet foods - kibble specifically - were disturbing to me. We did some research and created food for our dogs, and treats for ours and yours which are healthy, wholesome and natural.
As with humans, eating healthy is important for our pets. Do you know what is in your dogs' treats?