April 04, 2020
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At Portland bakery, ‘dogs eat more healthfully than some people’

PORTLAND, Maine — There are yappetizers, barkscotti and peamutt butter cups.

Snowmen cookies, white truffles and iced doughnuts tempt from a tiered tray.

If the brightly colored treats at The Gourmutt Beastro & Barkery look good enough to eat, go ahead and feed your inner Fido.

This is a bakery for dogs, with humans in mind.

Karen Greenleaf-Smith, a Raymond nurse-turned-entrepreneur, opened the Exchange Street barkery last month for pets. Through an assortment of treats made with human-grade ingredients such as yogurt, peanut butter and spelt flour, she is doing her part to help hounds stay healthy.

Though the status of canines continues to rise as doting owners spend more and more on their furry friends, their diet, says Greenleaf-Smith, has not kept pace.

“[For decades] dogs were an afterthought, something you fed after you fed your kids and husband,” says the petrepreneur.

But like humans, what dogs ingest makes a difference. And navigating ingredients in commercial dog food can be cumbersome.

“You have to be a chemist to understand what’s on the back” of a dog food can, she said.

Not here.

Everything in Greenleaf-Smith’s shop, from yogurt-iced doughnuts to brownies made with carob and sugar-free coconut, is safe enough for owners to nibble, too.

“There are no fillers, no byproducts, no preservatives. In some ways these dogs eat more healthfully than some people,” said Greenleaf-Smith of the array of treats in her underground boutique.

She bakes in the back and displays her creations — such as frosted bones that say “bitch” and “ruff life” — on tables and shelves.

A yappetizer bar has all the fixings for a killer dog cocktail party. Cheesy goldfish, made with spelt flour, four different kinds of cheese and baking powder will “get the dog’s appetite going.”

Bins of handmade snacks, such as bacon cheeseburger barkscotti, have a shelf life of six to 12 weeks.

There are wheat-free, vegetarian bones for the gluten-free pup in your life and chicken liver chews made with vegetable broth and spelt flour for old-school hounds.

“The fact that it is human means that the dogs are protected by the same rules and regulations that human beings are protected by,” she said, adding that dehydrated organic, sweet potatoes are an excellent chew that’s much better than rawhide.

But the surest way to get tails wagging is with a yappy meal. That’s a peanut butter treat in the shape of a hamburger and french fries with a rope toy in a box.

“I couldn’t resist spoofing McDonalds,” she said.

In the future, Greenleaf-Smith plans to roll out a line of dog food.

Up next? Muttloaf.

The Gourmutt Beastro & Barkery is located at 8 Exchange St. in Portland. Visit the website at gourmuttbeastro.com.

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