It’s Bone-a fide

Bone-a-Fido takes home the doggy bag

By Paula Johnson

There’s nothing like hitting up a bakery or neighborhood bistro when you’re in the mood for a little treat or a light snack. Maybe something savory with cheese? Or, maybe something sweet and crunchy? How about frozen yogurt? But did you ever stop and wonder if your pooch might just enjoy that experience, too? According to Karen Heskett, founder of Bone-a-fido Bakery in Springfield, your pooch would enjoy it. A whole lot. She sees the evidence every day on the happy faces and slurping tongues of the dogs who visit the bakery.

Bone-a-fido is a licensed bakery for dogs, opened by Heskett in 2001. I asked how she got started in the bowser baking business. “I started baking for my dogs. At Christmas, I began giving the cookie treats as gifts; and my friends just kept asking for them. The next step was farmers’ markets. It went so well I decided to give the business a try. She moved to Springfield from her original location in Urbana seven years ago,” she says.

A peek in the back room, where the treats are made, revealed host of professional baking equipment, including a large machine that rolls the dough into thin sheets. “I used to do it all by hand. It’s much easier now that I have that,” Heskett explains. The machine enables Heskett to focus on the artistic designs and decoration of the treats. The display cases out front showcase her handiwork: row after row of clever, whimsical cookies in the shape of squirrels, dinosaurs, sheep, bones, and paws, some topped with nuts, white chocolate, dried fruits, and even icing. They looked, well, delicious. “They are!” exclaims Heskett. “Everything is absolutely fresh. And made with natural organic ingredients. I use real butter, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. We grind our own peanuts.” I asked if people could eat them. She laughed,” Well I’m not licensed for that. But there’s nothing in these treats you couldn’t eat!” What’s the paws-down favorite, I wanted to know. The peanut butter cookies and the cheese squares are the most popular Heskett tells me. I added those to the growing pile of cookies I planned to take home for a taste test. “We have a Barker’s Dozen special. Buy 12 and get one free,” Heskett points out. The cookies range in price from $0.45 to $1.50 each

However, Bone-a-fido’s business isn’t just baked goods. It’s a full-service grooming salon, as well. When we visited, one of her groomers was giving a class to doggie parents on home grooming basics, including nail and dental care. Heskett’s got a wide selection of all-natural health oriented foods, American-made toys, and stylish accessories for the fashionable fido, including Velcro-on bows and flowers, bow ties, and little, tiny poochie party hats. “They’re made by a local woman,” Heskett explains. “I like supporting local vendors whenever I can.” I liked the idea of my miniature pinscher, Stormin’ Norman, wearing a party hat and bought one immediately.

But what about the kitties? As the mom to five felines (as well as Stormin’ Norman), I had to ask. “We’ve got a kitty corner right over there.” Heskett pointed toward an area with cat merchandise and toys, including some sassy and stylish cat collars. I was tempted momentarily, but quickly recovered, picturing the expression of incredulity and loathing I would receive from all five. A collar? As if. But all was not lost. “I’ve got some of the stinkiest catnip mice you’ll ever smell,” she says. “Cats LOVE them! I have people from when I was in Urbana who drive here just for them,” she adds. I took a whiff, and grabbed one for home to see if said kitties would agree. (Spoiler alert: they did.)

I left the store laden with cookie treats, eager to see how they would be received by the highly selective and experienced pooch panel I had arranged to certify them. Would they be as good as they looked? Samantha, Maggie, Gunner, Stormin’ Norman, Weenie, and Madison would be the judges. I allowed them to choose whatever caught their eyes (and noses) and asked for feedback (and kisses).

Stormin’ Norman: “I really responded to the crunch of the freshly ground texture of the peanuts.”

Madison: “I am very picky and I found them wag-tastic!”

Gunner: “Normally I don’t see fruit-enhanced treats, but I particularly enjoyed the dried banana.”

Samantha: “Maggie and I only eat locally sourced all natural treats, and Bone-a-fido bakery is a business we’re proud
to support.”

Weenie: “I give it two tail thumps up!”

The canines have spoken. But perhaps the most surprising endorsement came from my cadre of kitties. They began eating the crumbs, so I broke off some pieces for them. A collective “meow” was their consensus. Oh, and I tasted them too. Not bad.

Bone-a-fido Bakery is located at 1025 N. Bechtle Ave. in Springfield. For more information, please call 937.322.9663 or visit

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at

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