When Key Wagner was working in the mental health field, she never thought that one day her dream job would be making dog treats.
"I started making these treats and, two hours later, I realized this is what I wanted to do," she says. "I fell in love with it right away."
So, back in 1997, Wagner became the owner of Baltimore Dog Bakery in Halethorpe. This fall, her dog treats started being sold at the souvenir shop for the White House.
"It's been 14 years, but it's still pretty cool to see my product in stores," she says. "And this is really a thrill."
The product, called "Bo-Bama Dog Treats," was also packaged locally, by party favor company themintbox.com in Eldersburg.
"I have a rep that sells to the White House," says themintbox.com co-owner Lenny Rosenthal. "And I've been working with Key for years, so I thought of the dog Bo, and it seemed like the perfect fit."
Rosenthal, who has a background in marketing and graphic design, used a photo of Bo, the Obamas's dog, on the White House lawn with a patriotic border for the package.
The treats are all-natural, no preservative, whole-wheat products that come in four flavors: original, carrot, apple-cinnamon, and peanut. The White House shop sells the original flavor.
"Some people treat their animals almost better than themselves," Wagner says. "So they'll put a lot of thought into what they're giving them—even if it's treats."
The dog treats—which can also be found at Wegmans and Whole Foods—are apparently doing well at the White House location. Rosenthal's rep said that he's already getting requests for reorders. He also predicts that next spring will see an increase in orders, as the tourist season really picks up from February to June.
"I feel so lucky and proud that my product is down there," Wagner says. "I know Obama and his politics can be controversial, but I think all people love his dog."