Army vet launches company to help K-9s, service members

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Jessica Harris decided to go into business for herself making and selling all-natural dog treats (WTVD)

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As a retired Army medic with 20 years in the military, Jessica Harris was suddenly laid off from a top level job with UNC.

She'd just moved across the country to Durham from Washington and bought a house when her position with her company was eliminated. She tried looking for another job but was told time and time again she was "over-qualified."

Frustrated and unsure of what to do next, inspiration struck. She decided to go into business for herself making and selling all-natural dog treats.

"These will be the pumpkin peanut butter," Harris explained as she pilled out a treat-filled container. "There's a couple in here, I'm trying to develop some grain-free options as well."

While Harris admits she's not the first to create her own dog treats, she believes she is the first in the area to use her product to benefit several causes that are near and dear to her heart.

"The idea came from just wanting to help the police and K-9 community. Also, to help wounded warriors get service dogs," she explained.

Jessica Harris

Having worked alongside both military and police K-9's in the past, she plans to donate a portion of her proceeds to organizations that help buy protective vests for the dogs.

"Ballistic vests can cost upward of $2,500 and that generally isn't something that's part of a police department's budget," she explains.

So, to help raise that money and start a new career for herself, she's founded the company K9 Salute, LLC.

"All the herbs that go in the treats are local. All the carrots, sweet potatoes, everything is from local farms in the state right now," she proudly shared.

As an added bonus, the ingredients come from farms that are owned and run by veterans, which brings her production full-circle.

To make her dream a reality, she's hoping to get a boost from a local business competition. The organization "The Support Center" is offering a $50,000 small business loan to the company who gets the most votes by Friday evening.


"The $50,000 would help me be able to buy actual equipment for production. I can only produce so many treats out of my kitchen."

But, for now that's exactly what she's doing, gearing up to start selling her products. All treats have been tested and approved by her Chief of Quality Control, her own dog, Tilley. Those treats will be ready to be sold within the next few weeks.

You can read more about the company and the mission here

Visit K9 Salute on Facebook

Follow K9 Salute on Twitter

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