Mum, Wife & Lead Nutrition Specialist at Bugsy’s
It all started when I was at the Vet’s saying goodbye forever to my beautiful dog Barney, who was dying of cancer.
Then came the words that are every loving dog owner’s nightmare. The Vet frowned, looked at me and said, “There’s nothing more we can do for him now.”
The tears rolled down my cheeks and blotted on the paper on the Vet’s examination table. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I remembered having breakfast that morning but in that moment, my stomach felt totally empty.
As I felt Barney slip away in my arms, my heart broke into a million pieces.
I wasn’t just sad. I was upset that this was happening… again.
You see, it wasn’t the first time that this had happened to me or to my dogs. I’ve had several dogs over many years - 31 to be exact - and each of them were completely unique and totally wonderful… but looking back at how upset I was about Barney, I realise that it was this time in particular that I felt the most sad and powerless about it.
At the time, I was a mum and an aspiring young lawyer trying to figure out why I never felt good enough about what I was doing, even though I was making my parents proud, providing a good life for my kids and protecting innocent people from some really ugly and unfair realities in the world.
Deep down inside, I knew I had a different calling, I just didn’t know what it was then. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a lawyer, I loved helping people fight the injustices that happens to them - but what about our dogs? Those dogs we had to bring to the veterinary clinic only to say goodbye far too soon?
Our dogs never went hungry. They had the best walks and enjoyed ridiculous amounts of love - so where were we going wrong?
Why is cancer so prevalent and why as pet owners are we only reacting to it rather than trying to prevent it from happening in the first place? Where were we going wrong?
It really, really bothered me.
For days on end, between working my butt off at my job and doing everything I could to be a supermum at home, these questions kept following me everywhere I went - just like Barney used to.
It was one Friday night when I was cooking up a storm for my family, I started as I always do, with a lovingly made bone broth and exactly the right amount of carefully selected traditional Chinese herbs using the secret family recipes passed down to me over the years from mother to daughter, from auntie to niece. Nothing crazy, just really nutritious meals that have seen my family members live to ripe old ages.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. Yes, the recipes are magic - but they didn’t make the kids more obedient or anyone’s uncle less annoying - they simply kept everyone healthy, even maintaining a youthful appearance that defied their age for many years.
But it was that Friday night, as if by chance, something amazing happened: we ran out of dog food.
So I did the only thing I could, which was to feed our dogs from the basics of what I had in front of me on the kitchen bench. Super clean food that consisted of the specific herbs and antioxidants you’d often see in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The dogs loved it. I’d never seen them eat so quickly - it was hilarious - but remarkable. I cried.
It was from that point forward that I made the decision to stop feeding them the typical biscuits, treats and kibble that had been on my shopping list forever - and instead, use the same ancient detoxifying ingredients in my family’s secret recipes, to make them dog treats and meals myself.
I became obsessed. I was researching through stacks of vet journals and cross referencing the latest and best in holistic health like I was studying for the Bar exam again.
The more I learned and the further I journeyed down this path, the more changes I saw in my dogs. They became happier, healthier and more energetic versions of themselves.
They were thriving. It became crystal clear to me how important it was to not only feed them well, but #TreatThemRight.
So I kept at it faithfully and had a number of incredible breakthroughs collaborating with Vets, a PhD Nutritionist and certified Herbalist who saw what I was doing and joined me on my journey.
I no longer felt alone and it gave me the unrelenting momentum to source the best human grade proteins from the cleanest, most sustainable sources on land and sea. We even formulated nutritional supplements to reset and fix the microbiome in every dog’s gut and then expanded the range of treats further to maintain the holistic balance of the reformed, healthy animal.
I started making extra for my friends who had dogs and they saw the same changes in their dogs too; changes that made other people ask what the secret was to their dogs having healthier, shinier coats and age defying energy.
But there was still a problem.
It wasn’t long before the secret was out and I got busy… very busy… making the treats that everyone was hearing about. However, I still had an uphill battle trying to figure out how to educate people about the specific reasons why it seems that, more often than not, dogs that are fed conventional commercial diets and treated with over the counter flea treatments keep getting the same cancers over and over again… and why dogs who eat kibble have such sensitive tummies.
I’ve had to think about how I was going to break it to people that what they’ve been feeding and treating their dogs contain high levels of carcinogens (cancer causing agents), as well as some really weird toxic ingredients, fillers and other nasties that you might only otherwise read on labels for human hair products, makeup and window cleaning.
I know. It’s a lot to swallow.
I’ll tell you this. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked to put dubious fillers in my products. Crazy right? Asked by people who are absolutely supposed to care about you and your dog but instead turned out only to be interested in the few cents more they could make by selling my treats if I were evil enough to bulk out my products with cheap and harmful fillers.
Remember that young aspiring lawyer I started out as? Well, I’m eager to see how the class action lawsuits against some of the biggest names in the Petcare industry will pan out.
Imagine a fast food company telling you it’s perfectly normal to eat french fries and cheeseburgers every day of the week. But you know a junk food diet will make you sick, right? Now imagine you get sick and you go to the hospital and you discover that the hospital itself is sponsored by the same fast food company!
This is essentially what’s happening to you and to your dog. How will these dog food manufacturers be able to justify operating this way in the 'Petcare' category while at the same time stripping the word ‘care’ out of it completely? What kinds of scary things do you think the FDA has discovered?
The good news is you now have options!
Bugsy’s now passed its fifth year going all-in on delivering our vision of the happier and healthier dog for the most caring Doggy mums and dads - just like you.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it again with my whole heart. We are going to make the world better one dog at a time and I couldn’t do what I’m doing without your support.
As a special thanks for joining me on this journey, please accept my invitation of 15% off your first purchase using the code AUNTIEJO15 at checkout.
Simply fill your online basket on TheBugsyShop.com with all the goodies you want and then enter the code. Easy! Then tag your dog with @TheBugsyShop on Instagram and give us your feedback.