The pet industry is the perfect place to embrace diversity. We’re all here because we share a passion for pets, so why should the color of your skin, your religion, or who you love make a difference? I can tell you right now, none of that makes a difference to the dogs!
Unfortunately, diversity is lacking in the pet industry. For one thing, it’s male-dominated. It’s also primarily white. As I researched many black women in the pet industry for this post, the thing that stuck out to me the most were the key terms found on their homepages and bios.
Holistic. Diverse. Sustainable. Inclusive.
Not only are these women people who you should know, but they’re also the people who should be leading the trends in our industry.
Another reason the pet industry is a great place to embrace diversity is that we’ve already seen shifting attitudes towards long-held beliefs. In the last 20 years, people have dramatically changed how they consider their dogs to be part of the family. Additionally, old dog training methods have been discredited and replaced with positive reinforcement and rehabilitation.
So we know pet lovers have the ability to change and make a difference.
How can you be an ally for black women in the pet industry?
I’m well aware that I am a white woman writing this post. I’m not trying to speak for anyone you’ll meet below, I just want to introduce you to them so you can get to know their stories yourself.
There are many resources available that give examples of how to be an ally for the black community. I read this one (among many others). You can be an ally by checking out the black women of the pet industry who I’ve included in this post. Follow them on Instagram, visit their websites and reach out to get to know them.
Most importantly, listen to what they have to say.
Black Woman Run Pet Businesses
This list is by no means comprehensive! In fact, I keep discovering more accounts and businesses and have added some to the end of this post (because done is better than perfect). If you know a black woman in the pet industry who I’ve missed, please add their links to the comments.
You can expect to hear many of their voices on the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Nana at Homescape Pets
Homescape Pets creates hemp & CBD-based wellness supplements for pets. Founders Nana and Marcus, AKA the humans, along with their pups Beau, Quinn, and Minnie are a family just like yours. They were inspired by a medical emergency with Beau in 2016 to get into holistic pet care. Now, each of the products they make is geared towards making your pets’ lives a little better and most of all… a lot healthier. Follow @homescapepets.
Vanessa at Leela Ryan
Leela Ryan is a line of plant-based Vegan dog biscuits made from limited ingredients and no artificial flavors. They’re made in NYC with oats and fresh fruits, locally sourced when available. Vanessa and her brand have been featured in O Magazine, Health Magazine, and more! Follow @leelaryan. Photo by Real Happy Dogs.
Chaz at Sir Dogwood
Based in Chicago, Sir Dogwood was founded in 2016 as an inclusive community for swank pups and their sartorially-minded owners. Sir Dogwood features a highly curated selection of quality dog wear and accessories from the freshest and most innovative designers in the US and abroad. From the tiniest teacup to the largest lab, they offer ready-to-wear clothing for dogs up to 130 lbs. Follow @sirdogwood.
>> Get to know Chaz on Episode 160 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Deana at Barks First Avenue
Diversity and inclusivity are at the core of Barks First Avenue. It’s a brand who thrives on ensuring every pet, regardless of size, can enjoy their collections. “My dogs mean everything to me. I’m the proud mom of 3 pit bulls and a toy poodle, ranging from 9 to 17 years old! It has always been easy finding fun clothes for my toy poodle Jordan. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for my larger pups. This is what inspired me to create my brand. I wanted a line that caters to pups of all sizes.” Follow @barksfirstavenue.
Angela at House Dogge
House Dogge Owner and Designer, Angela Medlin wasn’t able to find quality, sustainably designed dog products for her Olde English BullDOGGE, Wubbi. So she used her inspiration from years of world travel and her experience as Former Nike Design Director to create her modern eco dog accessory brand. As seen in O Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Dog Milk and many more! Follow @housedogge.
Chloe at Simply Sage Dog Treats
Simply Sage Dog Treats makes Paw Balms & Salves for dogs with allergies & skin issues. These lick safe balms are powerful enough to heal rough, dry, and cracked paws, yet gentle enough for sensitive pups. Follow @simplysagedogtreats.
>> Shop for Simply Sage paw balm in the Wear Wag Repeat Shop!
Desh at Chase & Papi
Chase & Papi specializes in making typical “human-only” events pet friendly. They are an innovative pet event planning company that hosts unique, pet-centric events that will make you say bow-WOW. It is through their events and services that they achieve their ultimate mission: to foster and inspire a community of pet lovers. Follow @chasepapi1.
>> Get to know Desh on Episode 120 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Ava of Ava’s Pet Palace
Ava’s Pet Palace is a company based in greater Chicago that focuses on organic, non-GMO pet treats for dogs and cats. Ava’s Pet Palace was started by Ava Dorsey, a 12-year-old kidpreneur, at just 8 years old! Unlike most of the dog and cat treats in stores, Ava’s Pet Palace treats are made in small batches and are 100% organic. Follow @avaspetpalace.
Elyssa of BrockNBone
Rachel of Trill Paws
Black Women Dog Trainers + Behaviorists
Jio + Taylor of Smart Bitch Dog Training
Jio and Taylor are Smart Bitch Dog Training, a team of Certified Professional Dog Trainers based in New Orleans. They bring their awesome personalities to fun, force-free dog training sessions with their clients. They’ve been known to take their training sessions to the park, the French Quarter, dog-friendly stores, coffee shops, and an occasional bar. And now they offer online classes! Follow @smartbitchdogtraining.
>> Get to know Jio and Taylor on Episode 121 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Ashley of All American Team
Ashley at All American Team is all about dog performing, dog sports, and training. From her Instagram account, I can see that she has some very talented border collies! Follow @all_american_team. Photo, True Colors Photography.
Laurie of Pup ‘N Iron AKA The Canine Diva
Pup ‘N Iron™ Canine Fitness & Learning Center is the Fredericksburg, Virginia area’s premier dog activity, behavior training, social learning, fitness and wellness center. With virtually everything you’d want to do with your dog under one roof, their 11,000 square foot, climate-controlled for all seasons, state of the art facility is the LARGEST full-service canine training and fitness facility of it’s kind in Northern Virginia. Follow @thecaninediva. Photo, Jim Poor.
Kelli of Bully Brigade Training
Kelli is passionate about keeping ALL dogs in their homes and out of shelters. As a dog trainer at Bully Brigade Training, her focus is on the safety of the community, dogs and educating dog owners of their responsibility. Kelli is an advocate for Pit Bulls and stepped up to the challenge of repealing the Pit Bull ban in Charles & Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. Follow @chicwithpits. Photo Dirty Paw Photography.
>> Get to know Kelly on Episode 123 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Black Women Pet Bloggers + Influencers
Kimberly of Keep the Tail Wagging
Keep the Tail Wagging® is a personal blog where Kimberly Gaulthier raises awareness of the value of feeding a fresh diet to our pets. She is Pet Food Nutrition Certification and in line to earn a certification in raw feeding and herbal remedies. If you’re curious about raw feeding, Kimberly’s blog is the place to start. Follow @keepthetailwagging_kimg.
Cathy of Groovy Goldendoodles
Read the blog Groovy Goldendoodles to learn, laugh and fall in love with Goldendoodles. Cathy blogs about doodle fun, health & wellness, product reviews and groovy hidden treasures for pet families in the beautiful city of Charleston SC. Her two Goldendoodles Jax and Harley both work as Therapy Dogs at the Medical University of South Carolina. Follow @groovygoldendoodles. Photo Low Country Paws Magazine.
Kia of Come Wag Along
Kia Chambers is a North Carolina native who started her blog ComeWagAlong.com in 2012 to share her experiences as a new dog owner. Her blog has now expanded to include her experiences as a new working mommy and wife as well. In addition to blogging, Kia also has a family vlog on YouTube called MeetTheChambers. “My husband and I are told all of the time that we are an inspiring young black family and I hope to continue to inspire and inform with the use of my blog and vlog.” Follow @rawrsimba, @comewagalong and @meetthechambers.
Taylor Brione and Sparkle the Posh Pup
Taylor Brione is a self-described, “pink obsessed millennial sharing everything about fashion, affordable luxuries, events, travel, and raising a posh pup.” She’s an event planner by trade and alongside her Maltese, Sparkle, she hosts the Houston Doggies Who Brunch event series and plans Posh Pet Parties. Follow @sparkleposhpup.
>> Get to know Taylor on Episode 137 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Tay of Gus and Tay Take NYC
Meet Tay, who is a Lawyer, and her goldendoodle Gus who are fashionably navigating NYC life. Follow @gusandtaytakenyc.
Black Women Veterinarians
Dr. Arielle of Healing Tails Chicago
Dr. Arielle Herndobler has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 10 years. At her holistic practice, Healing Tails, the goal is to help pets live happier and healthier lives. She believes that healing best happens in a calm, relaxed environment and greets new pet patients with soothing sounds, mood lighting, and aromatherapy. There are no cold exam tables, but plenty of healthy treats! Follow @healingtailschicago.
Tierra of Black DVM Network
The BlackDVM Network is connecting black veterinarians, nurses, technicians, and clients across the nation. Founder Tierra Price created the online community when she was a student at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “Originally, I started an Instagram page to showcase the African-American veterinary students at my school. Doing this made me wonder about students at other schools.” Follow @blackdvmnetwork.
Black Women Run Pet Care Businesses
Regina of Outward Bound Hounds
Regina is a dog walker and pet sitter in Montgomery County, Maryland. She and her team take a holistic approach, offering quality care for pets’ minds, bodies and spirits to make pet parenthood worry-free. Follow @outwardboundhounds.
Melissa of The Bark Shoppe
Melissa Mitchner owns Harlem’s first and only 24-hour dog care facility, The Bark Shoppe. At her state of the art space, she and her staff offer daycare, boarding, and grooming. She even offers sound and aromatherapy to make dogs’ time at The Bark Shoppe as enjoyable as possible. Follow @thebarkshoppe.
>> Get to know Melissa on Episode 127 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Natasha of Walk with Renzo and Ruby
Natasha and her team at Walk with Renzo and Ruby offer premium dog walking services in the Washington, D.C. area (and now Texas!). As pet owners, lovers and providers, they believe it’s not only their job to love, care, feed and protect your pets, but it’s also their job to keep them healthy. They use midday walks to creating stronger and healthier furry family members. Follow @renzo.ruby.
>> Get to know Natasha on Episode 122 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Maria of East New York Dog Lovers
Maria, who was crowned Miss Dog Mom 2019, also runs East New York Dog Lovers. Her mission is to help families and individuals diagnosed with an illness, facing homelessness, or hardship to avoid permanent separation from their pets. She aims to provide a positive experience on a challenging journey and keep pets and their people together. Follow @enydoglovers_1.
>> Get to know Maria on Episode 125 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast!
Renea at Instantaneous Pet Service
Renea started Instantaneous Pet Service in Los Angles to cater to pet parents on the go. She and her team offer a unique all-inclusive pet care service that caters to your pet by giving them the perfect daycare lounge experience with fluffy pillows, luxurious rides, comforting walks, and wonderful overnight adventure. Follow @instantaneous_pet.
Rahanna of Stylish Pooch
Stylish Pooch offers full service mobile grooming to the Greater Philadelphia area. Rahanna was featured on season 5 of Queer Eye during which the guys helped her to stage a doggie fashion show showing off her creative grooming. Follow @_stylishpooch_.
More women + accounts I’ve discovered since originally compiling this post:
Ri at Redemption Dog Education – Follow @redemptiondogeducation
Janeé at Snaggle Foot Pet Sitting – Follow @snagglefootgp
Aja at Always Aja H Dog Walking and Pet Sitting – Follow @always.aja.h
Tara of Pupstars Pet Care – Follow @pupstarspetcare
Lauren of Puppuccino Boutique Dog Bakery (and ice cream) in Pittsburgh, PA – Follow @puppuccinoboutique
Michelle Millett and her mother, Arlene Young of Diamonds & Dutch Dog Pet Bath and Spa – Follow @diamondsanddutch
What about Black Men in the Pet industry? I usually focus everything at Wear Wag Repeat on amplifying women’s voices, but in all my research this week I also found some awesome guys that you should check out!
Dr. Owens of @enjoyabowl_products
Renaldo Wedd, founder of @petplate
Shane Mathis of @barkypawsco
Lenny Forde, Co-Founder & Doggy Daddy at Little L’s All Natural Artisan Dog Treats
Da’Quan O’Neal & Anthony Blagmond of Fancy & Kaboom Pawtique
Jarrett N. Wansley of Cool Canines Pet Care Services @coolcaninepcs
Did you enjoy this post? Check out these other resources and blogs:
Why mentors matter – especially for black veterinarians: One doctor’s story
How dogs help keep multiracial neighborhoods socially segregated
Black-Owned Dog Businesses in the United States
How to Support your BIPOC Dog Training and Dog Sport Friends