July 15, 2010 03:00 PM

When Clayton Harvey first adopted his dog Harley, the outlook was grim. The pooch, a puppy mill rescue, had myriad food allergies and stomach problems that made him antisocial and lethargic. But Harley’s maladies turned into a blessing of sorts: They inspired Harvey and his mother to launch the Bluegrass Barkeries of Lexington, Ky.

With two locations – a restored home in the Chevy Chase neighborhood, and a storefront on the south side – the Barkeries are both hot meeting spots for local dog owners. The Chevy Chase shop, in particular, has a wrap-around porch and fenced-in backyard, where customers and their pups congregate for events like Easter egg hunts, Mardi ‘Paw’ parties, ice cream socials and even meet and greets with the man himself, Santa Claus.

Saturdays are special in-store, too: New types of treats are often whipped up and presented to willing customers for a gratis taste test. Since the menu is based around 5-year-old Harley’s delicate diet, all treats and food products are wheat-, soy- and corn-free, made instead with grain alternatives like oats and sweet potatoes. But munchies aren’t short on flavor – popular varieties include mint julep and hot brown (a popular Kentucky sandwich) yummies.

Bluegrass Barkery is also committed to community service – in fact, the business won a “We Care” award from Kentucky’s Republic Bank for its dedication to charities like the National Canine Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and local animal rescue organizations. It’s a sweet touch to an already sweet spot!

Want to bake your own Kentucky treats at home? Check out the recipe below for Easy Oatmeal Squares from Bluegrass Barkery.

Easy Oatmeal Squares

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl
Transfer to a small baking pan, press mixture into pan and let sit for 1-2 hours
Cut into squares and serve
Optional: Drizzle melted carob over squares

See more Treats to Try on PEOPLEPets.com:

Treats to Try: 20% Off at Bark Avenue Boutique

Treats to Try: 15% Off Orders from Grateful Dog Bakery

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