One Woman’s Story of Baking, Bravery, and Barkuterie

by Jessica Simpkins, MD

If you’re a dog lover, you probably know the sheer joy that comes with having a dog curled in your lap or snuggled next to you. Jody Barrett is certainly a dog lover, and has had at least six dogs over the years (and many cats) after falling in love with her first family dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Buffy. “Dogs give such unconditional love. And cats are so independent! If I could just sit in a big chair with animals on my lap all day, I’d be happy!” Jody laughs.

Jody grew up in Orange County, California and as a child she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. But, like many of us, her dreams got side-tracked by the ups and downs of life. She sold office furniture for 25 years and dabbled in the mortgage industry. While she continued to enjoy the company of her furry friends at home, she was not fulfilling her dreams.

“I always wanted more control over good customer service. It was frustrating to see people in the corporate world not taking ownership or responsibility for the customer experience,” Jody recounts.

She came to Spokane, WA over the course of her marriage. After the painful end of that marriage, Jody’s mental health took a major hit and alcohol helped her cope. Along with 14.5 million other people in the United States, Jody grappled with alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Jody Barrett and Bucho

Bucho’s Barkery CEO, Jody Barrett and Chief Taste Tester, Bucho. Photo by Val Mohney

When she decided it was time to face her AUD head on, Jody checked into Karen’s House to complete a treatment program. “That program changed my life. The counselors are absolutely amazing. They help set you up for success when you graduate, and I made friends that I continue to meet with and support,” Jody shares.

In October of 2022 with her newfound sobriety, Jody decided to take a vacation in Sedona, AZ to reset. “I have always loved the beautiful red rocks, blue skies, and amazing sunsets,” Jody smiles.

On her fifth day in Sedona, Jody sat in a park looking at the sky and tears began streaming down her face. She felt at peace, something she had not felt in years. Jody recalls she had an epiphany that she wanted to work for herself and work with animals. The idea of baking and selling hand-made cat and dog treats began to take hold in her mind.

After she returned to Spokane from her trip, Jody joined an online dog bakery community and program and began taking business classes at the Women’s Business Center through SNAP. In November, a month after her trip to Sedona, she started selling her first dog treats as a vendor at The Plant Project. Early in December, she walked away from her full-time job selling office furniture to commit to her business (and herself) 100%.

“I realized my value and self-worth. It helped me quit my job and leap full-in. My advice to other people on the fence is to believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams. Even if you can’t quit your full-time job right now, start something on the side and build it up until you can make it your full-time job,” Jody shares.

Jody named her business Bucho’s Barkery after her American bully french bulldog mix, Bucho. “Bucho is a happy-go-lucky dog, a total love bug, and the very best assistant. He is our Head Taste Tester and helps clean up any spills in the kitchen,” Jody laughs. While she currently sells dog-treats, Jody is experimenting with cat treat recipes as we speak and ultimately wants to have a variety of pet treats available.

The treats Jody sells are hand-crafted and made with all-natural organic, gluten-free ingredients without fillers, colorants, or preservatives. “Everything I use is human-grade. While I don’t sell them for human consumption, I’ve tasted all of our treats myself.” Jody says. She’s very adamant about using high-quality, safe ingredients for pets as she believes there is a link between higher rates of cancer in pets and the ingredients used in many commercial pet treats and food.

Ever since she committed to her idea of opening a pet bakery, Jody has had her work cut out for her. “I received my first order for a doggie birthday cake, which we’re calling a barkday cake. And I have several orders for individualized dog treats as well. I do custom orders, including putting pet’s names on their treats for them. I’d like to start catering for pet parties!”

Jody is currently looking to partner with a non-profit that works with animals as a way to give back to the community. “I’ve adopted almost every pet I’ve ever had. I think it’s so important to adopt because there are so many homeless animals in shelters and they deserve to live in a good home. So I definitely want to find a way to give back as part of my business.”

For anyone who is struggling with addiction, Jody gives the following advice: “I know there seems like such a bad stigma around addiction, but I can tell you that nobody wakes up thinking, ‘I’m going to be an addict when I grow up!’ No one wants to be an addict. It’s hell. Just let go of your fears. It’s ok to ask for help.”

You can shop Bucho’s Barkery in person at The Plant Project or online at For questions or custom order, email Jody at Be sure to follow buchosbarkery on Instagram and Facebook for updates!

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