Hello my animal-loving friends!
Remember the post where I said that pet adoption is good parenting? How it is a great way to teach kids pro-social values such as the importance of making a contribution to the greater good? Well, this week I have a great story to illustrate just that. It involves a rescued black lab-pit bull mix called Margo, root beer, science class, and a seven-year-old boy named Oscar.
As part of a science fair project in the spring of 2008, Oscar and his dad, Tim, were exploring how yeast and sugar combine to create carbonation. The father-son activity brought back fond memories for Tim: As a child, he and his grandfather made homemade root beer together from the very same ingredients. So naturally Tim suggested making root beer. Oscar loved the idea, and thus em-"barked" upon what would soon become a life-saving project.
Proud of the results, Oscar decided to name the root beer after the dog he was equally proud of, who stood by his side during his hard work. And so Margo's Bark Root Beer was born.
Oscar served up his homegrown concoction at his school science fair, where a score of people suggested he market this new taste treat. Following a family meeting, the Youds decided not only to make a go of it, but also to contribute 100% of the profits to help dogs in shelters -- one of this family's passions. The new company's motto? "Root beer for people. Profits for dogs."
"My wife and I wanted it to be a good family experience and build on something Oscar was enthusiastic about, which was our family dog, Margo," Tim told me. An "only dog" at the time, Margo has since been joined by two shelter dogs (Bella and Harry Potter), three rescued cats (Oreo, Snickers and Bosco) and a rescued bunny named Citrus, in addition to her five human siblings. (I actually forgot to ask the names of the human family members!) Having a rapidly growing animal family is nothing new to Tim, who grew up with beloved shelter-dog siblings of his own.
Only months after their idea was hatched, Oscar's brew can be found in several stores, including Whole Foods locations in four states!
The glowing father enjoys watching the process unfold, "Oscar wants to be an inventor. He now sees that he can make something happen. He can see an idea through -- and with a little thinking, make a dream in to a constructive reality." Tim's wish to give Oscar an unforgettable experience -- one he might one day tell his own kids about -- seems to have come true as well.
It all gives me chills! I'm not quite sure who to thank most for that: the seven-year-old who loves his dog enough to honor her with a beverage in her name, the parents who raised a kid to see the inherent value in that dog -- enough to want help other like him -- or the dog who's zest for life and endurance through lonely times without a home taught a whole family the value of helping others.
Truth be told, I am not a great cook, but I'm learning that combining simple ingredients like cane sugar and yeast can create something much greater than the sum of its parts. I suspect the addition of a father's love, multi-generational concern for our furry friends and the belief in one's ability to make a difference were key ingredients in this recipe for a job well done!
Dr. Pia Salk
PS: Does anyone have a similar heartwarming adoption related story they wish to share? We'd love to hear about it!