This is a difficult post to write.

This is a difficult post to write.

As a small business, we are so grateful to our customers who buy our products, follow us on social media and encourage us to do what we do. It’s a lifelong passion that we know we are privileged to be able to follow.

We have feedback from customers who tell us how our products have extended the life of their pets, eased pains and solved mystery tummy upsets when medicated food couldn’t help. At this time of year, we have owners who swear by Calm&Balmy or Calm K9 in order to settle their anxious pets rather than have them heavily medicated.

Each and every single product is handmade by us in our little unit in Kerry.

We call our unit the “Chalet” but it’s really just a unit with very small windows that the wind blows through in winter.

Our business has been created by us. We have agonised over the design of our logo, packaging, products and figured out how to build the website ourselves. Everything has been done in-house on a budget of sweat and tears. After we receive an order, we ensure it is wrapped up securely and boxed up properly, adding the customer address and popping it in our van. Then one of us races to the post office to get them delivered to yet another valued customer.

It’s a lot of hard work, late nights, some tears and despite being best friends, we’ve had the odd argument (generally who’s turn it is to race to the post office before closing!).

But there are some really tough times and it’s not just been the whole Covid lockdown. That’s a distant memory for us busy bees!

On a daily basis, we receive messages from people which are quite upsetting and negative.

Some individuals contact us looking for free advice that will help them avoid paying veterinary fees, or worse still, expect us to help an animal where a veterinary treatment has failed. When we explain that while we would love to help, our business is focused on selling holistic products, not offering free consultation services, we are threatened with poor reviews on social media or review sites. We are told that everyone will find out how callous and cold we are. We are accused of being unhelpful and not offering products to help their beloved pet.

When your pet is sick, it’s an emotional time. Both Clair and I have experienced the trauma of terminally ill pets and the loss and heartache of losing them never leaves us. However, we can not stand abuse or threats from some people any longer. It has been a tough few years and we just can’t sustain any more of these messages.

Some people contact us looking for discounts because they have hundreds of online followers on one social media platform or another. When we explain that we only reward loyal, existing customers, we are “exposed” as greedy on these platforms by so-called “influencers”. Please know that every discount we give eats into our ability to grow the business. Growth in our world means expanding our offering to help a wider range of pets. We have no aspirations of world domination.

Taking time out.

With that in mind, we would ask anyone who is considering sending us unwarranted, negative comments, threats of “public shaming” or leaving unfair reviews, to just take a step back and put yourself in our shoes. We help as much as we can - by developing holistic products for pets. We are proud to have helped hundreds of pets and hope to help even more in the future. But we have our limits. So please, be gentle with your messages.

We are both burned out. As a result, we are taking a two week break to recharge our batteries. It’s been much needed for personal and professional reasons.

Your negative comments impact others

The negative posts and reviews on social media do work. They do not work to deter us from our mission to help as many pets as possible. However, this negativity actually works to stop people from helping their own pets. When they see negative comments, some potential customers decide to avoid Holistic Hound and avoid holistic remedies in their entirety. In this way, we believe that pets lose out. Nobody else.

We just have a simple request. Please stop and think before you contact us with accusations, and bear in mind what it is we actually do. Of course we will try and help whenever we can. And yes, whilst we're away we will still be thinking of new products, client decision trees and new blogs. But doing our job will be less stressful and upsetting without inconsiderate negativity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Jo and Clair, the Holistic Hound