Dogs Deserve Better: Why I started a healthy dog food delivery company
My name is Colin Buckley, and I want to tell you a short story about me and my best friend.
Where it all began: a happy, blue-eyed husky pup with a sad, sick belly
Rocky and I became true, unconditional companions when I was in my second year at Temple University in Philadelphia. My handsome boy – a blue-eyed purebred Siberian husky – was 10 weeks old and in need of a home. At the time I was a young, overly ambitious yet immature 20-year-old who had no idea what I was getting into.
During our early days together, I once went back to my apartment after class to find that Rocky had dragged his cage across the floor in my bedroom...while he was inside of it! Rocky also somehow procured my extra toilet paper stash and proceeded to shred it to a million little pieces. It looked like a giant snow globe exploded in my room. (He clearly didn’t realize how valuable that toilet paper would become during Covid-19.)
This guy was the cutest little puppy though. And we grew up together. Some people look at their dog as just that: their dog. Some look at their dog like their child and treat it as such. I looked at Rocky (and still do) like a brother. But not too long after I brought Rocky home, heartbreaking health issues began to arise out of the blue.
The first signs that something was wrong with my pup
The poor boy had the worst stomach on the planet. I’m talking terrible diarrhea and vomiting DAILY. This went on for days, weeks, months, and years. So many vet visits with so many different vets, so many diets, and thousands in expenses. At the recommendation of many different vets, I tried all the different food suggestions you’d expect. Different proportions of dry to wet. Different times of day. The vets would ask, “is he eating too late?”, “are you feeding him too much?”, or they’d assume there was something I was missing. It got to a point where I could barely stand to leave his side – of course I wasn’t missing anything.
- Hill’s ID Prescription Diet
- Taste of the Wild novel protein
- Canidae’s grain-free
- Wellness sensitive stomachs
- Purina’s vegetarian
- Blue Buffalo’s food intolerance
- NonNomNow’s fresh to frozen all natural dog food
I used to look at Rocky's “prescription” or “premium all-natural” food and think “$250 a month for this?!” This food that I can’t tolerate to look at or even let touch my hand. And god forbid I breathe through my nose when I’m opening it…
Blame it on my generation, blame it on me for being picky and having high expectations. I just knew there had to be something better for my best friend.
But after looking everywhere and trying everything, we still had no such luck. I wanted real human-grade, healthy food. And I wanted this food to be cooked fresh.
How we ditched over-the-counter dog food and got cooking
If you can’t count on others to do something, it’s time to do it yourself.
So I did just that. I conducted hours of online research. I spoke with vets, pet nutritionists, and even called the dog food companies listed above posing as an “academic researcher.” I spoke with anyone and everyone that I could to find a better way.
Then we started cooking. And after our 36th recipe iteration as of January 2020, we were ready to share our knowledge and our food with the world.
The birth of a new breed of dog food: Happy Howl™
Rocky has been on his customized Happy Howl dog food diet/plan for almost 2 years now. He hasn’t thrown up in over 18 months. He is at his ideal, healthy weight. And at 7 years old, he is logging our best times to date on our 3-mile daily morning runs. He’s energetic, happy, and excited to eat every meal. His howls have never been happier.
Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing our story and journey with other dog owners, to reveal everything we’ve learned so they can make educated decisions when buying their best friend’s food too. Even in a time when the consumer is more informed than ever, the lack of transparency in this industry category is frightening. We will be changing that. Not only will we be arming our readers with knowledge that other dog food companies seek to hide, but you’ll understand why we’ve made the decisions we’ve made. Even if you never give the Happy Howl recipes a try, we want nothing more than to help make dogs as happy and healthy as we can.
Have you ever wondered why the age-old adage of “don’t feed your dog people food” exists? Or what these claims on the food labels actually mean and why companies use them? Or the different processing methods used for cooking the food? Do these matter? Why is there “feed grade” and “human grade”? Do different types of packaging really make that much of an impact on our environment?
Come along for the Happy Howl journey and we promise you will learn things that will impact the life of you and your furever friend – forever – and make you rethink dog food completely.
Colin & Rocky
Start your journey and discover healthier food for happier dogs at thehappyhowl.com