Welcome to the dog days of summer

By Jacob Hoytema – 

Every dog owner has been there at some point: during a summer walk, you’ve stopped for ice cream or a popsicle and are trying to eat it before it melts. Your puppy friend is eager to share in the snacking, and you have to hoist your treat high in the air to prevent your pet from sneaking a bite. (Or maybe you don’t.)

Westboro business owners, Karen Gibson and Grazyna Szawlowski, say that they’ve come up with a solution to the problem with their line of pooch popsicles from their new startup, Flying Hound. Using locally sourced “human food” ingredients, they’ve crafted a series of cold treats made especially for dogs. They don’t sell in any stores, but instead visit several different locations throughout the week in the Westboro and Hintonburg area on their “treat trike,” a cargo bicycle fitted with an icebox from which they sell their wares.

Karen Gibson and Grazyna Szawlowski with their “treat trike.” Photos by Ellen Bond
Karen Gibson and Grazyna Szawlowski with their “treat trike.” Photos by Ellen Bond

Karen and Grazyna have come up with popsicles in a number of different flavours, such as bone broth, pumpkin and cottage cheese, liver, and raspberry. Although the popsicles are made of ingredients that are edible for both dogs and people, Grazyna notes “the flavour combinations might not be to [a human’s] liking.”

Before becoming business partners, Karen and Grazyna lived on the same street and had the mutual hobby of cooking for their dogs. They had discussed the idea of a mobile dog treat vendor, and after discovering they could take a cargo bike with an icebox, decided to go the frozen route.

“Everybody loves to have a popsicle or an ice cream cone in the summer, and then sometimes people will share it with their dog, and that’s not the best practice because some dogs have dietary issues,” says Grazyna. In response, the two neighbours decided to create a treat that was both enjoyable and nutritious for dogs.

The popsicles themselves are made on an edible sweet potato stick and come in biodegradable packaging, meaning no waste is left behind.

Flying Hound recently started collaborating with the summer’s other new local ice cream vendor: every Tuesday night, the Flying Hound treat trike stops at Cardinal Ice Cream (see our cover story) to host an “Ice Cream Social” for pooches and their owners.

“We’re really quite enjoying this whole experience of having people share treats with their dogs, and we’re hoping that maybe it’s creating some summer memories too,” Grazyna says of the Tuesday night events.

It’s all fun and games until your tongue sticks to the popsicle. (Or should it be PUP-sicle?)
Petunia is enjoying one of the frozen treats from Flying Hound. They’re made from healthy ingredients dogs will appreciate (liver, kefir and blueberries anyone?) on an edible sweet potato stick.
The Flying Hound “treat trike.” (If you see this rolling your way, don’t expect human food.)

Aside from being sold in-person at the treat trike, Flying Hound’s products can also be ordered online to be hand-delivered within Ottawa, and shipped in an insulated package everywhere else.

For the moment, Flying Hound has no plans to move into a store or permanent location. Grazyna says that even after being open since June, the mobile business model has attracted a lot of repeat customers.

For more information about their products – and to find out where they’re stopping next – go to flyinghound.ca.



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