In the last 12 months Susie and Ben Hanns, alongside their business partner Clare Guest, have quit their medical science, vet regulation and government jobs to focus full-time on producing vegan dog treats.
The trio first introduced the plant-based treats to furry friends at A Pooch Affair, a dog focused event held annually at Exhibition Park, in June. Since the launch, in addition to Canberra, the vegan snacks have found their way into stores in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and Orange.
The wife and husband team, alongside their long-time friend Ms Guest, anticipated a mixed response when they first began handing out vegan treats at markets around the ACT.
Ms Hanns said instead people were intrigued.
"You get some people who are just 'what? No meat? No way?' not in a rude way, they've just always fed their dogs meat and they're not interested," she said.
"But it's much more rare than we thought."
The Fyshwick-based business makes four dog-treat products and a fifth product which is recommended as an addition to regular meals. Each product retails at $10.90 for a 125-gram, plastic-free, 100 per cent recyclable bag.
The key-ingredient of the treats is chickpeas, with mixed vegetable, pumpkin, pea, beetroot, and date, blueberry and banana alternatives.
Ms Hanns said as far as she knows their Rascal Treats business is the only one of its kind in Canberra.
For production reasons, the small-scale operation has no immediate plans to begin cooking up complete vegan meals for dogs.
However, the three vegans each believe a plant-based diet can be a healthy alternative, with their five pooches all meat free.
"They're happy, healthy, they've got lovely coats and they get good vet checks," Ms Hanns said.
The vegan canines, Harlow, Claire, Morris, Gilbert, Ruby and Tankie are part of the business, taste-testing the products before they make it to market.
Ms Hanns said while it was difficult to ascertain whether there had been any change in their health or behaviour since their diet became completely meat free, Ms Guest's allergy-stricken dog had responded particularly well to vegan meals.
"Just a happier dog, just bounding around more. In the beginning this was just to make our dogs something healthier," she said.
"Until we realised there was a market for it."
For the Rascal Treats founders, their diets and the diets they've chosen for their dogs reflects their concern for animal welfare in the meat industry, and their concern the industry has on the environment.
"For us, it'll always be animals first," she said.
"Sometimes it's hard to make big changes but you can do little things along the way.
"With everything that's happening in the world, people are more conscious of the decisions they're making."