By Jeff Louderback
Xenia – For many Americans, our dogs are our best friends. We love them and spoil them like they are our children. It makes sense that a survey from the American Pet Products Association shows that 7 percent of dog owners hold holiday or birthday parties for their dogs, and 28 percent buy their dogs birthday gifts. No wonder Rebekah Dean has bright aspirations for Bark Day Kits, which provide pet owners with birthday parties in a kit.
“Most people I know buy their dogs birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. I know I do,” said Rebekah, whose canine family includes a dachshund named Scooby, and a Doberman named Eva James. “We love to celebrate our dogs, and Bark Day Kits is designed to make throwing a party easy.”
The original Bark Day Kits birthday kit includes a dog-friendly cake mix, a toy, party decorations, and a reusable bone-shaped cake pan. Rebekah plans to expand the line to include themed party kits. She donates a portion of each kit to 4 Paws For Ability, a national nonprofit based in Xenia that provides service dogs to children.
A Xenia native, Rebekah was born into a family of entrepreneurs. Her dad, Bill Dean, stated Dean’s Plumbing, which is still in the family. There’s also Dean’s Eco Green, Wash It Dean car washes, and Dean’s Landscaping. She worked in management for an ambulance company but the entrepreneurial urge became too enticing to resist.
“I’m confident I picked the right industry, and an idea that has tremendous potential,” Rebekah said. “It’s rewarding to have a business, and a product, that celebrates dogs.”
Numbers support Rebekah’s instincts for launching Bark Day Kits. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 38.4 percent (or 48,255,413) of the households in the United States own at least one dog. Around 18 percent of Americans are spending more than usual this year on pets, according to a a Harris Poll conducted earlier this year on behalf of TD Ameritrade.
The TD Ameritrade study also discovered that, on average, dog owners spent almost twice as much on their furry friends as did cat people – $1,201 on dogs, compared with $687 in spending on cats.
Rebekah has introduced Bark Day Kits at destinations like Art on Vine in Cincinnati, Front Street in Dayton and North Market in Columbus. She sells the kits at www.barkdaykits.com, and she is searching for retail locations to carry the product.
“Some people might think that throwing your dog a birthday party is silly, but chances are, those are not dog owners,” Rebekah said with a grin. “Dogs bring joy to our lives year-round, year after year. Celebrating their birthday is fun for us and for them.”