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Greensburg company bakes treats for cats and dogs

Mary Pickels
| Monday, May 14, 2012, 6:22 a.m.

The aroma inside Canine Confections is enough to make one drool. Many of its customers do just that.

The shelves are lined with bone-shaped biscuits, enormous, heart-shaped "cookies" and various bagged treats flavored with such delicacies as carob, honey and peanut butter.

And dogs used to steady diets of commercially produced dog food snapped to attention. Ears rose, tails wagged and small whimpers - sounding like pleas - escaped their mouths.

The business, located in Craftique at the old Davis Center in Greensburg, began two years ago in the respective homes of Georgann Saylor of Johnstown and her daughter, Tricia Brown of Latrobe.

By last September, they thought their business was ready to stand on its own.

Saylor, 57, a schoolteacher before retiring, and Brown, 32, who recently left her job as a legal secretary, jokingly pointed fingers at each other when asked who came up with the idea.

Both dog lovers - Saylor has had as many as seven at a time - they decided to take their craft-show business full time.

"We thought this would be a lot of fun," Saylor said.

They had seen the television show "Providence," in which one character operates a similar business, named The Barkry.

"We thought, 'We could do that,'" Brown said.

The two started working on recipes, staying away from the chocolate, salt and sugar that dogs should not have. They tried ingredients like carob, honey, molasses and yogurt in their line of more than a dozen baked treats.

And they had an inside team of taste testers - Brown's 5-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, Hanna, and Saylor's golden retriever, Sadie, and English springer spaniel, Maggie.

"If something fails with the three of them," Brown said, "it goes no further."

The biggest, paws down, vote so far went to a banana treat.

In September they moved into Craftique, selling the treats along with gifts for cats and dogs and their owners.

Although some of their products are in gift shops from New York to South Carolina, they concentrate on producing their biggest batches for the Greensburg outlet. They also take specialty orders. "I have my first order for a birthday cake next week," Saylor said.

To celebrate their recent grand opening, the two baked cakes for their customers (and their owners).

"Our dream really was to do this," said Saylor on the day before the big event. "We wanted to have a bakery and a gift shop, not be another Purina. This really suits us."

"And pets are welcome here," Brown said.

As leashed pets, their noses leading the way, entered the shop for its official debut, owners looked both delighted and nervous. They knew this visit was likely to cost them.

Pumpkin-shaped cookies, doggie biscotti, muttwiches - paw-, heart- and bone-shaped sandwich cookies - and "puppy-kakes" beckoned from bakery cases.

Munchkin, a caramel-colored Pekinese who lives in Jeannette, took a few dainty nibbles of complimentary cake, then headed off to explore the rest of the shop. She went straight to her favorites - a shelf full of hard, crunchy biscuits, packaged by the barker's dozen.

If you go

Canine Confections is located in Craftique at the old Davis Center in Greensburg. They can be reached at 724-850-9663.

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