By Mitchell Clute
More than once I’ve been out walking with the family dog, only to realize mid-hike that I hadn’t brought any treat along for him. Usually, this realization strikes me as he longingly gazes at the energy bar I’m wolfing down, then looks at me with his big, sad eyes. OK, I admit it—I feel guilty every time.
Now, in my experience, dogs will happily eat
just about anything; so the real question was,
how would humans feel about YaffBars?
So when I heard about Mudd+Wyeth’s YaffBars, I knew I had to get my hands on some. The company’s tag line is “You + Your Dog. Happiness Shared,” and their bars are billed as the world’s first energy bar created for humans to share with their dogs. They’re vet approved, with a straightforward ingredients list made up entirely of things I don’t mind eating.
Now, in my experience, dogs will happily eat just about anything; so the real question was, how would humans feel about YaffBars? Before answering the question, I decided to talk to the company president and YaffBar inventor, Mark Brooks.
Brooks, an Englishman who now lives with his family in rural Vermont, quickly echoed my own thoughts about what would make a good dog/human snack. “Dogs are not that discerning,” he admits. “I wanted to create something that we humans would really like and want to eat. When hiking, very few people remember to bring a snack for a dog.”
Yes, guilty as charged. Brooks points out that having a snack on hand is one of the best ways to get a dog to respond to you; but it’s important that whatever treat you’re waving in front of Fido is actually healthy for him as well as appealing for you.
Luckily, Brooks has the right background for the job. His first career was as a classically trained chef in Europe and England. So he set about formulating something that everyone would love. It took time; the first 83 recipes, Brooks says, were barking up the wrong tree. “My daughter said, ‘I’m sick of your dog treats!’ At that moment I realized all 83 recipes were wrong,” Brooks marvels. “I was catering to a dog instead of a person. If you spend your hard-earned money on a bar, you should open it and say, ‘Wow, this in incredible!’”
A few days later, Brooks awoke with the new recipe in his head and began testing in earnest. Launched three years ago, YaffBars come in three flavors: banana peanut butter, honey almond cranberry, and blueberry crunch.
So, the moment of truth . . . Holding the blueberry flavor in my hand, I ripped open the packaging: Smells good. Looks good. Alerted by the noise, or maybe the scent, our year-old shepherd mix, Baca, sat at my feet, staring at the food in my hand. I took a first nibble. The texture was chewy and crunchy, not too sweet, full of blueberry flavor. I took another bite. Baca whined and pawed my leg. All right, all right; I broke off a chunk for him too. For a moment, the house was quiet but for the sound of happy chewing.
I’ll be throwing a YaffBar or two in the backpack next time I head into the hills. After sampling all the flavors, I only had one more question: What does yaff mean anyway? Turns out it’s an old English word meaning “to bark.” And every bar sold helps fund canine rescue organizations—yet another reason for you and your best friend to share.
To learn more about YaffBars, as well as the company’s TuffToys and Spot the Dog! reflective outerwear for pets, visit www.muddandwyeth.com