Growing Companies

When she was a child, Melinda Kirk was bitten by a dog which led to painful rabies shots and a fear and dislike of animals.

As a young adult, however, she was bitten figuratively, when she and her partner obtained two Weimaraners. She became infatuated with the royal hunting dog, and like any new convert, her love grew to know no bounds.

She started cooking treats and holding parties for dogs. The indulgences became popular with her friends, who started asking her to make some for their pets.

Out of such a scenario was born Lucky Paws, a Covington-based company that provides kits to allow pet lovers to make the "first ever, all-natural, organic, microwavable treat" for cats and dogs.

Yep, you can not only hold a birthday party for Fido or Fluffy, you can provide the favored animal his own cake in a special bowl - shaped like a bone for dogs and like a fish for cats. Not only that, but you can add a special ingredient to the mix - say a tablespoon of tuna or salmon for that loveable kitty in your home.

"Basically, you just add water," said Kirk, the CEO of Lucky Paws. "It's like a Duncan Hines mix, Easy Bake oven for your pet." But she's soon coming out with a decorating kit that will allow you to icpetse that special treat. And as a treat, Kirk said, it truly is unique.

Kirk started the Lucky Paws in December 2008, and in March 2010, introduced her new pet treat, PetCakes. It's taken off beyond her wildest dreams. Her products are available online, as well as in pet boutiques and some local pet food chains. PetCakes was named the best new product of the year at the 2010 Global Pet Expo.

PetCakes contains two packets of organic mix, available in three flavors for dogs: original carob, three cheese, and pizza. For cats, the flavor is cheese nip. Also available are re-useable microwave pans. Kirk said the PetCakes currently can be decorated with peanut butter, low-fat cream cheese or applesauce for extra enjoyment.

"Most treats for pets are pre-made, and cold and hard," she said. "This is a moist, warm treat."

It's also a popular media story, having been a recent feature on The Early Show on CBS.

Locally produced, PetCakes are mixed in Lexington, KY and boxed in Blue Ash, but available across the country. Kirk said she's been talking to distributors that will open up markets in Asia and Canada for her soon.

Writer: Paul Long
Source: Melinda Kirk, CEO, Lucky Paws
Lucky Paws
Covington, KY