Spoil your mutt with healthy treats
Angela Chapman's trio of Spoil Me S'mo healthy dog treats have proven so flavorful that on occasion a few of her human friends wolfed them down so hastily that their pooches had to wait at the back of the chow line.
It seems Statesville's Willie Patton turns flips over the Apple Cheese Whirls, while Watertown artist Donna Delmas enjoys dunking the Peanut Butter Prints in her morning cup of coffee.
That's not exactly the picture Chapman had in mind when she whipped up those treats along with the Chicken Jerky.
They were concocted primarily for canine taste buds and metabolisms.
"It began with Tiny, my Great Dane. When I adopted him, he had allergies to chicken and pork," Chapman said, board president of New Leash on Life in Lebanon and organizer of Bark in the Park. "Most treats in pet stores had chicken and animal fat in them. So for training and for treats, I made them for him at home. I came up with different recipes and safe, healthy options.
"Then one Christmas I gave them out to family and co-workers for gifts, and they kept coming back for more. I had a co-worker with two dogs. She and her husband drove down to Chattanooga every other month to buy the treats. When she told me that her dogs liked mine better that got me to thinking."
Thus, Spoil Me S'mo Dog Treats began about 21 dogs years ago (that's three in human years).
"They are for people with dogs with diet and health issues," says the dog lover, who was also inspired to start her small business after friends inquired as to what they could do for their pets suffering from such ailments as pancreatitis and skin allergies.
"It's very important that you know what you're giving your dog," Chapman said. "These are all natural. There is no sugar, salt, oil, soy or corn syrup. Everything is locally grown so you know where the treats are coming from.
"I get my natural peanut butter, oats, oat bran, rice flour, whole wheat flour and flax from the Amish co-op in DeKalb County."
Fans come in all shapes, sizes and species
Among Spoil Me S'mo's biggest and tiniest fans are the clan of pooches belonging to Colette Lanham-Stoffel and family.
"I love that they are homemade, made from scratch and not highly processed," said Colette, who, with her husband Michael, operates Visionary Design Group on the Watertown square, about the doggy treats. "I have 11 dogs [ranging from big to tiny], and I get them the antler chews because they last forever."
As for the three types of munchies, she says that her dogs "love anything Angela brings. I gift them to my family and friends because I have so many dogs."
Chapman, who was born in Nashville, graduated from Pearl-Cohn High School and earned a special education degree at Tennessee Tech, says modestly, "It's not a complicated process. Anybody can make their own treats for their dogs."
Her doggy bakery resides at 108 N. Public Square in Alexandria, where she spends many weekends dishing up doggy delights. Please note the bakery shop has no set hours, so please call ahead before going. (You may order the treats online.)
Last Saturday she and assistant Debbie Ponder whipped up six batches of Apple Cheese Whirls, thus a warm, pleasant aroma filled the shop. Typically, Chapman bakes six to 12 batches a session. She rotates the baking of the treats from day to day.
Her kitchen boasts a commercial oven and dehydrator ("That impresses the deer hunters around here," she notes of the latter.) She bakes her goods for 15 minutes and then they spend 10 hours in the dehydrator.
Chapman, a jill of all trades, taught special education seven years, drove a truck five years and worked in mental health support for five years. Currently she works part time for Walker Creek Toffee in Watertown and at WKRN-Channel 2 as a receptionist.
Spoil Me S'mo products may be purchased locally at Walker Creek Toffee just off the Watertown square. In Nashville they are sold at Crossroads Pets, Batch Nashville at the Farmers' Market, Whole Foods in Green Hills and Happy reTales Pet Supply in Brentwood.
Chapman said that most customers learned of her products through word of mouth but she also displays them at fairs and festivals. She plans to be at Nashville's Earth Day Festival April 18, at the Tennessee Wine Festival May 2 at Nashville Shores and at Bark in the Park May 30 at the Wilson County Fairgrounds.
"This just started as a hobby and slowly grew," says Chapman of her treats fit mainly for dogs, not their masters.
Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at email@example.com.