Law Goes to the Dogs

Annvi Utter loves dogs. We mean, loves them. And that’s a funny story because, at first, she wasn’t a big fan. She didn’t grow up with them. She wasn’t comfortable with them. She just didn’t understand the appeal of them. But now, she’s more than a friend to canines — the Houston attorney is a proud dog mom (to Rocky and Zeus) and dog treat baker who’s out to help dogs of all kinds.

For every Barkin’ Doggie Biscuit that's sold, Annvi gives one to a shelter dog (Barkin’ Doggie’s slogan: “You buy one. We give one.”). She wanted to do something similar to TOMS Shoes — they donate a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold — but for dogs. And so, she and her husband tested dog treat recipes and researched ways to keep their product all natural and safe. A couple of burnt batches of dog treats later, she came up with Barkin’ Doggie Biscuits in three different flavors. Best of all, the dog treats have ingredients such as all-natural peanut butter, whole wheat, mint, and flaxseed, which help keep doggie joints jointy, doggie breath not-so-breathy, and dogs oh-so-happy. Sound too healthy for you? That’s cool, but your pup will love them, since, you know, dogs are less concerned with ingredients than with simply getting a tasty treat.

Barkin' Doggie Biscuits are available at three Houston stores (Heights Urban Dog and Cooper Animal Clinic, and One Green Street), as well as Fur-Get-Me-Not in Arlington, Va., and the DC Dog Shop in Washington D.C. Annvi hopes to expand to more cities soon. Barkin' Doggie Biscuits currently partners with nine shelters, from Atlanta, Ga., to Seguin. She says donating the biscuits to the dogs is just one way to help shelter animals who are waiting for homes. After working at the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care in Houston, Annvi saw how stressful shelter life can be for animals.

And, after working in the corporate world as a tax attorney, Annvi found she longed for a different way to apply her law degree. So, she launched the gourmet dog treat company in January with her husband. “I just fell in love with dogs — I wanted to put my law degree to work for the betterment of (dogs),” she says.