Home-baked, gourmet dog biscuits are being touted as the perfect gift for the canine that already has everything else it wants.
"We sort of hope to become the See's Candies or Mrs. Field's Cookies of the dog-food industry," deadpanned Sharon Andreason, a member of Las Amigas Guild of Valley Childrens Hospital in Fresno, which plans to market its homemade dog biscuits to local retail outlets this summer.
The group's first batch of 2,000 home-baked canine treats--ranging from buttermilk bones to schnauzer-shaped crumpets--went on sale recently at a dog show. The treats sold out within hours.
"This is going to be as big as we want it to get," Andreason said.
Homemade dog biscuits are made from bone meal, brewer's yeast, wheat germ and flour, she said. Dog delicacies such as liver, buttermilk, peanut butter, garlic and tofu can be added.
Baking homemade treats and meals for dogs is known tongue-in-cheek by dog-food cooks as "Bone Appetit Cuisine."
So far, charities in about half a dozen cities from Atlantic City to Phoenix are believed to have used the idea, said Ken Johnson, a Los Angeles kennel club operator who travels the nationwide dog show circuit.
"It's touched a nerve with dog lovers," he said.
In Arizona, two women have expanded the idea and produced a canine cookbook titled, "Butch's Biscuit Book: From Scraps to Scrumptious."
"There's people out there who love it, and then there are people who couldn't be bothered to cook their own kids cookies, much less their dog," Donna Thalheimer of Flagstaff, the book's co-author, said in a telephone interview.
She said the idea has become the latest craze in some places. Thalheimer and co-author Sharon Anderson recently got 250 orders in just two weeks from San Antonio.