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Nicole fetches up gourmet dog food

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Nicole Simons gives her dog Zander a taste of her Fetch dog food (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Nicole Simons gives her dog Zander a taste of her Fetch dog food (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Zander the dog tries out the latest batch of Fetch dog food (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

For many dogs, dinner consists of whatever slides out of a can at the end of the day.

But dog lover Nicole Simons believes our canine companions deserve better than that.

She runs her own doggy catering business, Fetch, providing canine clients with healthy, home-cooked meals that include fresh, locally sourced beef and chicken with ingredients such as pumpkin, blueberries, spinach and kale.

“The concept is very farm to table,” she said. “We’re passionate about helping pet parents island-wide treat their pups to fresh, finger-licking-good meals.”

And Fetch dog food really does not smell like the commercial dog food that comes out of a tin. It looks a lot like the stew your grandmother made.

“I could eat this container of food confidentially,” Ms Simons said. “It is just very bland because it is not seasoned.”

Once, she dropped off a container for a friend’s dog.

“Her husband thought it was a casserole,” she said.

She got the idea for the business two years ago when a friend asked her to make a birthday cake for her dog Lala.

“My friend asked me because I’m always baking and coming up with new baked goods and treats for humans and I’d previously made a cake for a Yorkie named Marley,” she said.

Lala had some dietary challenges and could not eat grain.

“I found a grain-free recipe for the cake which included apple sauce,” she said. “It’s quite similar to making gluten-free or grain-free food for humans.”

Ms Simons, who works full-time as a teacher, liked cooking for Lala so much that she started experimenting.

“I just saw the benefits of feeding your dog fresh food,” she said.

Depending on what you put in the food, the pluses can include a shinier coat, healthier poops and cleaner teeth.

Now catering to 25 canine customers, she has discovered that dogs can be as picky as humans.

“We had one dog who just hated kale,” she said. “We could chop it up tiny or whatever, but he would not eat it. So we had to use spinach or a substitute green for that.”

One per cent of every sale goes to help the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And if a client buys a couple of containers of food and then does not like the food, she donates the unopened food to the animal shelter.

Her work with the SPCA turned out to be more rewarding than expected. One day, visiting the facility in Valley Road, Paget,, she noticed a ten-month old black and white pitbull cross sitting quietly in his cage.

“He gave me this look like ‘please pick me’,” she said.

So she took him home and called him Zander.

“Dog trainer Eileen Thorne had been doing some work with him,” she said. “So he already knew all these commands and was housebroken. It was us Elieen had to train.”

It turned out that Zander had some dietary issues of his own.

“These type of dogs have very sensitive skin,” she said. “He needs to be on a grain-free beef diet. I found that when I give him chicken or things with rice in it, he breaks out in a rash. It is interesting how dogs are so similar to humans. They have food allergies and sensitivities just like us.”

Zander is now living his best life.

“I want my dog to eat as well as I do,” Ms Simons said. “Sometimes I will heat his food up, or add sardines on the top, to make it really nice for him. He goes crazy for sardines. Fetch food is really soft because we hand mix it to make sure there are no bones. I enjoy it and I enjoy making the food for him. I see such a huge difference with his coat and his energy level.”

Zander also gets special treats made from tuna and flour, based on a recipe from Ms Thorne, the trainer.

Ms Simons is now looking at adding treats to her product offerings.

“Some people have asked me to do cat food but I am not sure about that,” she said. “That involves a lot of fish.”

A large container of Fetch food is $18 and a small container is $9.

For more information see www.fetchbda.com or check them out on Facebook and Instagram

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Published October 29, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated October 29, 2021 at 8:03 am)

Nicole fetches up gourmet dog food

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