Lured in by a blackboard sign on the street in Davia’s neighborhood announcing “Spotlight on Black Entrepreneurs,” we enter the creative and growing world of Black-Owned Pet Businesses.
Lick You Silly dog treats, Trill Paws enamel ID Tags, The Dog Father of Harlem's Doggie Day Spa, gorgeous rainbow beaded Dog Collars from The Kenya Collection, Sir Dogwood luxurious modern dog-wear.
“The dog training world—it’s a white dominated space. It’s kind of male dominated, too,” says Taylor Barconey of Smart Bitch Dog Training in New Orleans. “On our profile on Instagram we have Black Lives Matter, it’s been there for a year now. Before 2020, we would have not felt comfortable putting that up at risk of losing our business because people would have blacklisted us. But now, we feel like we can finally breathe and be open about things that really matter to us—speaking out against racism and not feeling shy about it.”
Chaz Olajide of Sir Dogwood wasn’t finding communities of pet owners or pet businesses owned by people of color. “I did a deep dive into the statistics —I just wanted to see if maybe I was an outlier, like maybe the reason why I’m not seeing more diversity in these companies is because maybe the demand isn’t out there. Actually, you know, that’s not really the case.”
Brian Taylor, owner of Harlem’s Doggy Day Care lost both his uncle and long time mentor to Covid. During the pandemic his business slumped by 80%. So with some help from his pet parents and supporters he decided to hit the road with “The Pup Relief Tour offering grooming services to anyone going through rough times and in need. “All together we had about 63 African American dog groomers that went on tour with us across the country and we groomed over 829 dogs.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Black-owned pet business entrepreneurs. There are tons more across America and you can support their businesses and services. House Dogge in LA — artisanal dog tees, hoodies, toys — committed to helping unwanted, neglected and abused dogs. Dr. Kwane Stewart, an African American veterinarian who walks skid row in downtown LA tending the unhoused dogs of unhoused people. Fresh Paws Grooming in Brooklyn. The animal advocates at Iconic Paws, a customized pet portrait gallery with flare. Pardo Paws in Georgia, an all natural company with a lotion bar in the shape of a dog paw for dogs with dry noses and paws made of cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, calendula. Precious Paws Dog Grooming in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Little L’s Pet Bakery and Boutique in Brooklyn. Scotch and Tea — stylish and durable dog accessories. Bark and Tumble, a luxury and contemporary brand of hand made dog garments in Britain. Pets in Mind a Holistic Pet Supply Store in Coconut Creek, Florida. Beaux & Paws in Newark, Pet Plate — an online black owned pet food delivery service. Duke the Groomer in Chicago, Ava’s Pet Palace started by Ava Dorsey, age 13.
Most all of these businesses are giving back in some way to their communities working with at-risk youth, taking them in with mentorships and internships that hopefully lead to jobs, and donating generously to shelters and rescues and neighborhood food banks.