Whether you are a cat or a dog person, finding healthy treats for your pet can be something of a challenge. One fairly new online shop is Nicosia’s first business to provide ethically-sourced, eco-friendly pet products that are not only premium quality, but organic and sustainable. Meet The Green Woof.
This pet supply store specialises in providing healthy and natural food for dogs and cats as well as eco-friendly dog accessories, mind-stimulating games and bespoke ethical handmade clothing. Owned and run by Aïla Mroué El-Bacha and Marilena Karkampoulia, they may have little business background but a lot of experience with caring for dogs.
Having worked in the pet food industry, Marilena was only pushed to pursue her dream of opening a pet shop when she met Aïla. It was their dogs that brought them together as history teacher Marilena met Aïla when the latter was freelancing as a dog trainer.
“Tito came into my life at a very important turning point,” Marilena said. “I adopted him just after my father’s death and I was struggling with depression. Tito saved my life, he helped me recover from my depression, I owe him everything.”
Aïla found both of her dogs when they were puppies, one in Nicosia and the other in Barcelona. “They changed my life,” she said. “They have taught me so much and are my absolute world.” Taking good care of her dogs is something that came naturally to Aïla but that’s not to say it didn’t take work. After spending years switching various professions she moved to Spain and studied dog training and psychology.
“Cyprus needed a healthy pet shop; we saw this gap in the market so Marilena and I teamed up and made it happen,” said Aïla. An unfortunate experience with her dog Elvis led to her feeding him purely healthy food.
“A few years ago, Elvis fell ill of suspected poisoning, likely from something very fatty, it was so severe a vet told me he didn’t know if Elvis would make it. I was told to put him on a 0% fat diet,” she added. After searching for healthy canine options, she now thinks she knows more about healthy dog food than many vets.
There is so much focus for humans to eat healthily and know where their food comes from, why not for pets also? “People need to realise the importance of their pet’s diet,” said Aïla. “The majority of mainstream food is packed with toxic ingredients, harmful chemicals, preservatives and by-products. People have no idea how dangerous these foods are for their pets potentially causing them to suffer from liver disease, cancer, heart disease, allergies, leaky gut and many other health issues. The products we source are purely natural and accredited by The Ethical Companies Organisation.”
Most of The Green Woof’s products are sourced from the UK but the shop owners say they would love to work with local suppliers in the future. Producst on the site (www.thegreenwoof.com) can be ordered via email, phone, online or Facebook. They do most deliveries themselves – a part of the job they love as they get to meet the pets.
In their plans is to open up a physical shop soon in Ayios Andreas, Nicosia. “The online shop has done really well,” explained Aïla, “but I do feel that some people would prefer to see and touch the products before buying them.”
Part of The Green Woof’s aims is to share knowledge and raise awareness among pet owners and educational events are planned once the shop opens.
Aïla went on to highlight the importance of positive reinforcement – rewarding a dog for their good behaviour as opposed to punishing them for unwanted behaviours. This has been scientifically proven to be the most effective form of training, increasing a dog’s likelihood to repeat the wanted behaviour, while avoiding punishment methods which have detrimental effects to a dog’s relationship with their owner and their emotional state.
Despite the focus on dogs, The Green Woof has recently also added a cat selection after high demand. A much wider variety of cat products will be added in time, after thorough research of each product.
Extremely passionate about creating a healthier and longer life for their pets, Aïla and Marilena want to help customers do the same. This is why they have done everything themselves, from their website and social media, admin and deliveries, to organising and attending events. But most importantly, their vigilant research into what they sell. Because pets are for life and we owe it to them to make it a good one.
“This isn’t just a job; this is our passion,” they said. “We love what we do and most of all, we believe in what we do.”
Follow The Green Woof on Instagram and Facebook @TheGreenWoof. Get in touch at [email protected] or at 97-849584, 99-751850