\r\nTaste Great and Do Good!\r\nBy Karen Johnson, PawsGo\r\nIn 2016, Anne Tuccillo and her son Bryan were each at a professional crossroad. Anne was about to retire from the federal government and her son Bryan had aged out of special education services at Falls Church High school and was unable to find paid employment, despite having eight different job coaches. Bryan has Mitochondrial Disease, a degenerative neurological disease that impacts his ability to walk, speak clearly, see well and live independently.\r\nAnne wasn\u2019t ready to stop working. She was also concerned by the lack of meaningful paid employment opportunities for her son Bryan and adults like him with physical and developmental disabilities. Their dog Friday and some especially delicious ginger cookies led Anne and Bryan to the solution -- creating Pawfectly Delicious Dog Treats.\r\nThe treats that got Friday\u2019s tail wagging were initially made by one of Anne\u2019s colleagues, Holly Langer-Evans and given to the Tuccillos as a holiday gift. When the Tuccillo family decided to get a companion dog for Bryan, they were warned that the dog may eat the ginger cookies right off the Christmas tree, but not to worry \u2013 the treats were all natural and healthy for dogs and humans. If Friday\u2019s reaction to the treats was so positive, Bryan and Anne mused \u2013 why not launch a business and sell the delicious and healthy treats? Creating meaningful work and providing job training for adults with disabilities was always part of the plan. After baking many batches in Anne\u2019s kitchen for the dogs of family and friends, Anne and Bryan received an enthusiastic PawsUP! and were encouraged by Holly to form a nonprofit.\r\n\r\nBryan and Anne formed Pawfectly Delicious Dog Treats in late 2016 and in October 2017 they received the not for profit status.\r\nPawfectly Delicious Dog Treats are made from all-natural ingredients \u2013 they are safe for humans and dogs to consume. Their recipe is actually a gingersnap.\r\nTo minimize their overhead, the treats are made in two stages \u2013 in stage one the dough is mixed at the kitchen at the Pulley Career Center in Fairfax County through a partnership with the school\u2019s Culinary Arts Program at West Potomac High School. Stage two is baking and packaging. St. Luke\u2019s Episcopal Church in Alexandria donates their kitchen to Anne, Bryan and the team. Pawfectly Delicious has a team of four young adults to bake and package the treats along several community volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday at St. Luke\u2019s.\r\n\r\nTreat making operations are overseen by Charlie Flynt who has many years of experience working with young adults with disabilities. Since the organization is fairly new, and not yet able to raise funds or accept donations, all team members are considered \u201cvolunteers.\u201d Anne and her Board of Directors look forward to the day when every employee both differently abled and those without disabilities can earn a pay check.\r\nAnother team of young adults join the weekly bakers to help sell the treats at the farmer\u2019s market sponsored by St. Luke\u2019s on church property.\r\nAnne says that seeing Bryan and his peers enjoy their work because they are doing something meaningful is both heartwarming and rewarding. Of course, Friday remains the organization\u2019s top taste-tester and biggest fan. You can purchase Pawfectly Delicious Dog Treats online and at these Alexandria retailers \u2013 Whole Dogz, Nature\u2019s Nibbles, and From Head to Tail Grooming. Retailers interested in carrying the treats can contact Anne at email@example.com\r\n________________________________________________________\r\nKaren Johnson is the founder of PawsGo the Alexandria-based online community for people and their dogs, promoting an active lifestyle for both. PawsGo merchandise can be found online and locally at From Head to Tail Grooming and Spa, Bon Vivant Caf\u00e9 and Farm Market, and Reunions. PawsGo will be selling Pawfectly Delicious Dog Treats at the Super Pet Expo March 15, 16, 17 at the Dulles Expo Center. Both PawsGo and Pawfectly Delicious will be at the Ides of Bark festival on March 24th at the Grist Mill Park in Alexandria.