Black History Month - The Impact of Dogs in the African-American Community

By: Stephanie Stone
Edited by: Tandy Tiramai

During the month of February, we highlight and reflect on the importance of the contributions and successes of Black Americans. Here at West Coast Wag Company, we promise to foster an inclusive and supportive community for all. In this post, we showcase three Black-owned pet businesses: Little L’s Pet Bakery, House Dogge, and Trill Paws. 

Black pet bakery owner Lenny Forde
Lenny Forde, Owner of Little L's Pet Bakery with his pups, Lilly and Lulu
Source: @littlelspetbakery IG 

Little L’s Pet Bakery became the first pet bakery in Brooklyn, New York in 2020.

“I opened Little L’s Pet Bakery during the pandemic because I found that our pets have really been the ones that had helped us through this terrible time providing emotional support with just pure and simple love,” owner Lenny Forde said.“So making treats to give as a reward that really says ‘I love you’ was my mission, as well as, creating a bit of whimsy and good during a somewhat bleak period.”

While starting this business, Forde said the bakery has exceeded his intentions in every avenue.

“We have brought back that person-to-person communication and boutique shopping that was slowly dying in the midst of big box mail order sales,” Forde said. “Creating a bond and a relationship with the community, while living the dream of entrepreneurship.

House Dogge owner Angela Medlin
Angela Medlin, owner of House Dogge with her bulldogge, Wubbi
Source: Schoolhouse

House Dogge owner and designer, Angela Medlin started her artisanal dog product and lifestyle brand in 2017. She prides herself on the brand’s sustainable products and has extensive design experience in multiple global brands. She is the founder of the FAAS DESIGN COLLAB, which provides creative and professional development to underrepresented creatives desiring to enter the product creation industry. 

Trill paws owner rachel jones
Rachel Jones, owner of Trill Paws, with her pup, Kevin
Source: Trill Paws

Trill Paws is based in Los Angeles, California. Founder of Trill Paws, Rachel Jones, said the company was created out of her over-the-top obsession for dogs and her love of pop-culture.

“A couple of years ago, I dreamt up a concept for a pet accessories company that would  appeal to fun and trendy pet owners who love dogs and design,” Jones said. “So many pet ID tags on the market are dull and can be a bit boring, so we design tags and accessories that are unique, refreshingly fun and totally on trend.”

When starting her company, Jones initial goal was to create an ID tag that millennials would be excited to put on their dogs. Now, she said her goal has been met and went beyond that.

“Fast forward to three years later, not only have I successfully created super cool dog tags, but I have established a brand that many in the dog community recognize” Jones said. “To say I have exceeded my initial goals and expectations is an understatement.”

In addition to showcasing Black-owned pet businesses, we wanted to recognize an increase in Black and multicultural dog owners in the past years.

According to a study by research firm Packaged Facts, the number of African- American pet owners increased at a healthy rate of 24% from 2008-2018. 

black pet owner holding her dog
Crescent Muhummad with pandemic pup, Coco

Crescent Muhammad is a new dog owner, who was curious if there was a correlation between African-American pet ownership and economic growth. 

“I did a quick search and found two articles seeming to support that theory,” she said. “One noted that despite a rise in income inequality overall, Black households did experience a measure of economic progress in recent years. Apparently, there was a noticeable increase in incomes for Black households.”

Muhammad recently got her puppy during the COVID-19 pandemic since she had more time at home and more income as alluded in her previous statement. Getting her dog, Coco Isabella Chanel, was the best decision she made in 2020. 

“My inner circle would all say that I make friends very easily, but as a full grown adult my schedule didn't really allow for that, and then I got Cokes and now I have lots o' new friends! More relevant is the diversity of my new dog owner group, which I absolutely love. She 100% helped make last year feel less isolating. She's a smart, super sweet AND a super spoiled diva princess, and I absolutely love her to pieces."

Be sure to visit, Little L's Pet Bakery, House Dogge, and Trill Paws for your dog's necessities.