By Anne Eickstadt

Lauren Randall, owner of Bark About It, wields the massive scissors for the ribbon cutting at her new store. With her are her family, friends, Belvidere Chamber of Commerce members, Poplar Grove Village Clerk Karri Anderberg and representatives of Farley Properties (landlords).

A new shop has opened at 13534 Julie Dr. in Poplar Grove that is sure to delight not just pets, but their owner companions as well. Bark About It is a place that offers premium all-natural, hand-crafted treats for your fur kids.

“Bark About It has been in business for three years” said owner Lauren Randall. “The business has outgrown our house. We are really excited about our new store. I really love animals. We have a treat for any kind of animal for dogs, cats, sugar gliders, ferrets, birds, horses, and more. My next project is creating shelf stable, dehydrated pet food. You just need to add water and let it soak for a few minutes, then feed it to your pet. It can even be customizable to your pet.

“Food doesn’t naturally come in hard little pellets. So why do we feed that to our pets? That’s weird. Animals eat food as it grows and as they find it. They do not require spices so I find it bland when I taste-test it but animals love it. Dogs have very little sense of taste but a highly developed sense of smell. My trials with dehydrating food smell like a delicious chicken dinner.

“I am also looking into a custom blend of bird food/treats. I am always wanting to try something new once I have become satisfied with what I am currently working on. I always want to experiment with something else and keep mastering new foods and treats for animals.”

Bark About It also sells cold-smoked beef bones for your dog to chew on. “Heat alters the composition of bones and makes them more susceptible to splintering,” Lauren said. “Cold smoked bones still have their original structural integrity and are less likely to splinter. We have smaller bones up to entire femurs for dogs to chew on. My customers call the large ones ‘dino bones.’ They are great for larger dogs and heavy chewers. I have looked for larger dog bones online and the only ones that are comparable in size are from Australia

“We also carry T-shirts that can be customizable to you and your pet. We have treat jars, pillows, and signs that can also be customizable for you. The store is pet friendly, just please don’t allow your animals to eat the treats in the store before you actually purchase them.

“I make a lot of the pet food we sell. Most of the other items are purchased from small business owners in northern Illinois. We have pet toys that are from Montana, but they are made of recycled materials from items made in the USA and I just love them.”

Lauren and Eddie (her husband) are both Veterans. Lauren was deployed all over the place by the Navy and the Army stationed Eddie in Iraq.

The new hours of Bark About It are: Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday: Closed; Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information and photos of the store’s grand opening, visit the Bark About It page on Facebook.

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