As I mentioned yesterday, the Great KC Pet Expo was chock-full of vendors selling their products that were made in the U-S-A. Of course, Crystal and I, being the die-hard, hippie, liberals we are, gravitated towards the all-natural products made by local businesspeople. One of my favorites was the Rupert’s Simply Smoochable booth, run by Brad & Jami Ansley (shown below) of Kansas City.

Brad & Jami graciously gave both Crystal and me some of their Rupert’s Simply Smoochable Doggie & Kitty Mouth Spray to try out. I was so smitten with their product (Rufus’ heavy breathing in my face at night is no longer like constantly smelling a butt!) that I begged Jami to tell me more about how their business got started, and Jami graciously agreed. She even offered to tell me all about Otis, their rescue pooch, who inspired the Rupert’s label art. Here is their story…

We adopted Otis in January of 2007. After several visits to Wayside Waifs, we finally found a dog whose personality just seemed to fit us. He was pretty timid, wild wiry hair and skinny, skinny. We had no idea Otis had the beautiful brindle until we got him groomed!

When we brought him home, he wasn’t eating well and would vomit clear liquid every day. We tried wet food, scrambled eggs with beef and rice; he couldn’t really keep anything down. We took him to our vet and the only equipment they had was an ultrasound machine, and it didn’t tell us anything. One day, my husband Brad came home from work and found him lying on the cool bathroom floor, looking miserable and very sick. He rushed him to Mission Med Vet (amazing place!) and the doctor did an X-ray. They told us he had a diaphragmatic hernia (caused by either a kick or a car accident) and all his internal organs were shoved up into his chest. The cost would be $8,000 (yes that’s eight THOUSAND dollars) and he probably wouldn’t make it off the operating table. I asked the vet if we could have a moment to discuss. We both agreed; we had to do it. We’d had Otis less than a month, but he was already our baby and we loved him dearly.

We put the plastic on the table and Otis made a full recovery! You know about rescue dogs – they are the BEST pets. He’s such a wonderful dog, we are glad we found him.

So, on to how we wound up starting a pet products company. Brad’s dad, Dan Ansley, passed away in January of 2005. We met later that month and have always attributed our meeting to him, in some way. Dan was apparently an amazing father and a brilliant inventor. He was a chemist by trade and invented several pet products – one of them we found in a file cabinet entitled “Canine Oral Spray.” In the spring of 2009, we were helping Brad’s mom go through some of Dan’s things and Brad told me to keep this recipe. Brad had a clear vision of what he wanted the label to look like and he commissioned the brilliant Charlie Podrebarac (of the Cowtown series) to design the label for us.

Some might wonder why they would even need mouth spray for their dog or cat. Well, proper pet dental hygiene is something that most pet owners take for granted, because let’s face it: there are a lot of things easier and more pleasant to do than brushing your pet’s teeth. On average, pets have their teeth cleaned twice per year and yet many pet owners still say that their dog or cat has bad breath. There are many hard or chewable treats on the market that do a great job keeping plaque and tartar under control between dental visits, but they really don’t “freshen” your pet’s breath. Enter Rupert’s Simply Smoochable Doggie and Kitty Mouth Spray: the daily use breath treatment that provides the missing link between brushing and treats. The Mouth Spray is different from other products because it contains no Xylitol or dyes of any kind. One feature that is unique to this product is the addition of clove oil. Clove oil has long been used as a topical pain reliever, especially for tooth pain. While providing a pleasant scent, you will also see the benefits of providing your pet relief from discomfort associated with tooth and gum pain.

We also recently added an unscented shampoo that we are really excited about. The shampoo is cool because it’s completely free of fragrance, dyes, perfumes. We didn’t like it when we’d take Otis to the groomer and he would come back smelling all perfume-y. Yuck. We wanted him to smell like him, just cleaner. We LOVE this formula because it makes him clean and makes his coat fluffy and shiny. The Rupert’s shampoo is awesome for dogs with hot spots, allergies or any other skins issues because it’s such a mild formula.

A secret recipe for Mouth Spray hidden away in a filing cabinet?! A rescue dog who survived against impossible odds?! Seriously, could Brad & Jami’s story be any cooler? Oh yes, it can…because Brad & Jami graciously offered to giveaway combo packs of the Simply Smoochable Doggie & Kitty Mouth Spray AND Simply Smoochable Doggie Shampoo to not one, but TWO lucky readers! Pretty sweet, huh?
* Also, if you would like to purchase any products off the Smoochable Rupert store website, enter “Waldo” at checkout to receive 15% off your ENTIRE order! *
Contest rules listed below:
  • PRIZE: See above
  • TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the phrase “KISS ME!” or “BATHE ME!” and tell me, does your dog (or cat) suffer from “poop breath syndrome” or “stinky dog (or cat) syndrome?” For us, Turk tends to suffer more from stinky dog syndrome, while Rufus has the poop breath from H-E-L-L. You can also get a second entry by “liking” Rupert’s Simply Smoochable’s Facebook page and leaving a comment on their wall saying that Our Waldo Bungie sent you!
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 at Midnight CST.
  • PRIZE VALID FOR: Anyone living within the 50 (nifty) United States.
  • USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday, April 19th as an update to this post. I will also email the winners on the 19th to obtain mailing information to send their prizes.