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L.A. family raises money for homeless pets -- with root beer

October 20, 2009 |  2:13 pm

Most pet owners we know wish they could do more to help needy, homeless and abandoned animals -- but they don't necessarily have the time, space or resources to do the hands-on rescue work themselves. The L.A.-based Youd family found a unique way to help pets in need (and created a delicious beverage in the process). Guest blogger Janet Kinosian shares their story:

Margo How many black Labradors do you know who have a cane sugar-and-molasses-sweetened, preservative-free root beer named after them? 

As of now, you know one. The dog is Margo. The drink is Margo's Bark.

Two years ago, Oscar Youd, now 8, made root beer for his Los Angeles school science project. He and his father, Tim Youd, wanted to show how sugar and yeast can create carbonation. They did some study and christened the resulting mellow, high-fructose corn syrup-free brew they concocted Margo's Bark Root Beer after their family dog, a mellow and friendly gal and former Long Beach parking-lot stray.

The 300-odd folks at Oscar's school fair raved so loudly about the drink's wonderful taste that it got Tim, a marketing and internet entrepreneur, thinking. He embarked on a root-beer fact-finding mission, jesting about running a root-beer business. It turns out he wasn't kidding: Margo is now the namesake of her very own root beer company, Margo's Bark Soda Co. (motto: Drink a Bite!).

Like the Newman's Own brand, all of the profits from Margo's Bark go toward charity -- in this case, helping the causes of shelter and rescue dogs, many in Los Angeles, such as the Rescue Train and Barks of Love. You can find the drink at Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, Milk and various other L.A. spots.

The moral to this story: Never underestimate the power of dogs, school science projects -- or the power of a swell-tasting root beer.

-- Janet Kinosian

Reporter and media consultant Janet Kinosian has been a freelance contributor to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Times Magazine and L.A. Times Syndicate for 18 years.

Photo: Margo's Bark Soda Co.

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