Senior project for the dogs
When the Dopf family’s 8-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Polo, started losing his teeth, his owners were desperate to make sure he’d continue to stay healthy by eating adequately.“He’s always been a picky eater,” said Mom Gloria Dopf. “We’ve always been looking for a good solution, but we were just never satisfied. Either it wasn’t good for him or he didn’t like it.”Consulting with the doctor in the family, Reid, the Dopfs came up with a recipe for what they call Doggie Dots, a mixture of organic chicken or lamb, rice and vegetables. “He cares for this one just as much as he would his own patients,” Cara, 18, said of her brother Reid.The cooked meat and grain are blended together, then formed into balls with an ice cream scoop and topped with the veggies. The balls, or dots, are frozen until serving. The invention was an instant hit with Polo, who has been eating it for nearly a year, and Cara suspected other dogs and their owners would be just as pleased. “We were all wanting to get something started, but we didn’t have the push,” she said. “I decided to kill two birds with one stone and start the business as my senior project.”Cara will debut the product at the annual Carson High School Holiday Crafts Fair this weekend.“We needed a way to get out there and the craft fair was happening,” she said. “I was really lucky to get a spot for it.”Cara, planning to pursue a business degree at the University of Nevada, Reno, said launching Doggie Dots has been a valuable experience. “Just learning the ropes and everything you have to do in starting a business will definitely help me in college,” she said. “Going into a business college having already started a business will be that much better.”She said Carson High School’s career and technical education classes helped prepare her for opening the business. Culinary arts gave her cooking skills, Web design is giving her the tools for creating her own website and her sophomore-year business class outlined the basic steps she’d have to follow.She said teachers and advisers at school have worked with her as have members of the community. “A lot of people have been willing to work with me because it’s my senior project,” she said. “People know how important it is.”Long-time animal lovers and environmentalists, the family only uses organic meats, grains and vegetables grown locally. Gloria says it’s made a difference for the family dog. “His health has improved so dramatically in the last year,” she said. And although the food is more expensive than the processed alternative — about $6 for four servings — Cara hopes dog owners will find it’s worth it. “Isn’t your dog part of your family?” she asked. “Do you care about what you eat? Why shouldn’t you care about what other members of your family eat?”Carson High School Holiday Crafts FairThe Carson High School Holiday Crafts Fair will host 115 booths, selling a variety of wares including hats, sweaters, birdhouses, exotic wood products, ornaments and more. Carson High School students will be selling an array of products as well, which include homemade jams, pot holders, plants, whole bean coffee and pine cone wreaths, among others.If you go:WHAT: Carson High School Holiday Crafts FairWHEN: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9a.m. to 4 p.m. SaturdayWHERE: Carson High School, 1111 N. Saliman RoadCOST: $2 on Friday, which is also good for Saturday’s admission. $1.50 on Saturday or $1 with a canned-food donation.Old yearbooks for sale and on displayVisitors to the annual Carson High School Holiday Crafts Fair will also have a chance to look through the school’s yearbooks dating back to the 1920s and high school newspapers dating back to 1950.In addition to viewing the historical archives, visitors may buy yearbooks from past years in the “Garage Sale” fundraiser. All money raised will benefit the school’s publication class which prints the Carneta yearbook and maintains the online Senator News newspaper.The “Garage Sale” will be in Room 136, near the north foyer of the high school. Books between 2007 and 2012 sell for the current price of $75 each. Books before 2007 will be on sale for $30.These extra yearbooks are available because the school often gets overrun book copies. Books also are donated back to the school from families of CHS alumni or are left over following end-of-the-year sales.In addition to the yearbooks, visitors may view high school newspapers through the years.The Carneta Garage Sale will be opened in room 136 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.For more information, call adviser Patt Quinn-Davis at 283-1782.