Our story begins quite sometime before the launch of our first product, The Sydney Sleep Mattress. It begins with a love of animals, being a magnet for sick animals, a chronic illness and a realization of a blatant lack of integrity of products and marketing especially in the pet industry.
I used to be a consumer blind to marketing. I purchased what I thought was the best in health and didn't think too much about the impact anything had on our environment. I thought more about the immediate cost to me than I did about something being an investment.
I had a dog that was diagnosed with Addison's disease. My quest started with finding better food for him, largely, because the medication to keep him alive was very expensive. I was in college at the time and didn't have a lot of room in my budget.
When I changed his diet from the typical commercial pet food to food with real ingredients from a smaller company with integrity, not only did his health change but, so did his disposition. He felt better, he was happier and his medication dosage was cut in half!
Then, after years of suffering, I was diagnosed with a chronic "incurable" disease. It took years to get a diagnosis and an invasive surgery that made the surgery worse. I will spare you the details, but, my doctors were not optimistic and the options they gave me were terrible.
After seeing how my dog with Addison's life changed, I decided to do my own research and look outside the traditional medical community. I worked with many holistic practitioners. I did a lot of my own research and experimenting. I decided to add to my physical therapy education and received a certification in holistic health coaching.
I changed my diet. I removed toxins from my environment (cleaning products, personal care items, etc). I slowly replaced as many of the fabrics and household items with organic and natural fibers.
When I did all of this, the debilitating symptoms that I had been living with not only became manageable, I felt like a completely new person.
I was told I would never live a normal, productive life and that diet and other things were not going to help. This isn't just how it goes in human medical care. This is how it goes in veterinary care too.
The story doesn't end there. I had adopted another dog...Jackson. My beautiful, loving and challenging rescue dog. You can read a little about him here.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor after attacking me in my sleep one night. He came to me with lots of health and behavioral challenges. He was a bloody, mangy mess. Once he was diagnosed, I was told that he wouldn't live long. I knew better. We used the holistic approach with diet and supplementation and Jackson lived 8 years past what I was told.
In the middle of all of this, I studied up on the things we have in our environment and made some discoveries that seem like they should be common knowledge, but, they obviously aren't.
One very big concern for me was how many more toxins our pets are exposed to than we are just because they are low to the ground. Carpeting, furniture, lawns sprayed with toxins, fluids that leak on the ground from vehicles and other machinery among many other things that are absorbed through the skin and lungs into the bloodstream and these things can cause cancer and other diseases.
Our pets already don't live long enough!
Knowing what I knew, I was on a mission to find beds for the dogs and toys that were made of natural materials that did not off-gas possible toxins.
Guess what? I could find a bed that was made of recycled material that was called "green" that was marketed to make it sound like it was better for your dog. It was better for the environment, but the cover was not a natural fiber and I wanted the parts of the bed that my dog would lay on to be natural fiber with no chance of off-gassing or having them absorb toxins from the bed through their skin.
I found a bed that was made of natural fibers. But, guess what? It was not supportive at all. I also found plenty that were labeled orthopedic simply because they were made with memory foam. Memory foam does not support the skeletal system well and it is TOXIC!
This quest was frustrating, to say the least. This is where it all started.
I used my biomechanics background and my passion for changing the way the industry makes pet products and I could not be happier with the outcome. There have been many iterations because I also hated that you could never wash the inside of the bed and putting the cover back on was always a challenge.
I am excited for dogs and pets everywhere to experience the difference. I have a dream to make many more pet products to replace the toxic garbage out there. Our pets deserve a comfortable, healthy environment.
About Rachel: Rachel's education is in Physical Therapy and she has a business focused on training for pain-free movement. You can read more about her here.
About Sydney: Sydney is an 8 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. She was born in South Dakota and moved to Michigan to live with Rachel at eight weeks old. She is a big fan of food, squirrels, skunks and she loved a rabbit too much once, but, swears that probably won't happen again.