Gourmet goes to the dogsStephanie Kendrick
At a time when proponents of the Waianae Diet, as well as Hawaii farmers and restaurateurs, are extolling the virtues of taro and other fresh local ingredients, a pair of local entrepreneurs has decided all that goodness should be shared with those who love us best, our dogs.
Sisters Jen Kanoe Kunishima and Trudi Mahelona opened the Hawai'i Doggie Bakery Nov. 20; the grand opening celebration will take place Sunday.
Items like Surfdog Sushi and Fish 'N' Poi Pup Treats are baked on site. Kunishima uses local produce and sells products by local designers, including Janet Kagimoto's "Proud to be Poi" T-shirt, which lists characteristics of a poi dog in Hawaiian and English.
An attorney by training, Kunishima's career as dog baker began more than a year ago when her Golden Retriever, Ipo, was pregnant with nine puppies. "When they have a large litter like that, (the puppies) usually don't all survive," she said.
HAWAI'I DOGGIE BAKERYWhat: Grand opening
Where: 2038 S. King St.
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Veterinarian Arlene Skillman of the University Pet Hospital encouraged Kunishima to cook for Ipo because fresh food has a higher fat content than dry dog food and dogs need fat to heal, said Skillman.
In addition, eliminating salt, sugar and preservatives from the mother's diet reduces the risk of allergic reactions in new-born pups, said Skillman.
So Kunishima and her sister began creating recipes, resulting in a diet that kept all the puppies healthy.
Convinced they had hit an idea with commercial potential, the sisters initially sold products at Native Books and Beautiful Things, where Kunishima is a partner. But they wanted to do more.
"We needed to find a spot where we could let the dogs come in as well," Kunishima said. She has found it at 2038 S. King St. near McCully.
Sunday's grand opening will feature a dog massage therapist, puppy training expert and pet photographer. The first 50 dogs to arrive will receive a gift from Hawai'i Doggie Bakery.
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