HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Though they're not related, Angela Brown and Paula Brown have been best friends for more than 30 years and share a love of both dogs and baking.
Their friendship started with a batch of homemade Halloween cookies and continued when they attended junior high school, high school and college together, and they've stuck by each other through marriage and children.
They share similarities beyond just their last names, and their streak continued when both recently acquired dogs who have allergies.
When dog treats with all-natural ingredients proved difficult to find, they started baking their own. Their company, 2 Besties Biscuits, formed in September, and the pair have been baking and selling all-natural dog biscuits not only to feed customers' dogs, but also to support the Northeast Missouri Humane Society.
From idea to inception, 2 Besties Biscuits was a year in the making. The Browns tweaked original recipes in Paula's large kitchen, and it took about six months to perfect their first recipes.
"It took us forever because we're both control freaks," Angela Brown said with a laugh. "I'll be dumping stuff in, and Paula's counting out loud and on paper how much I'm dumping in. We couldn't get the consistency we wanted."
On days when they bake treats, they usually make about 600.
After going through the business-licensing process, 2 Besties Biscuits began selling pink packages of treats Sept. 16 in select Hannibal stores. For each package purchased, 20 percent of the proceeds is donated to the Northeast Missouri Humane Society.
"Every business immediately said yes when asked to participate," Angela Brown said. "It took off so fast that we weren't sure what was happening. There was no looking back. So we just started baking some more."
Four months into their endeavor, they realized they could do more to support the Humane Society.
"We call and ask what the Humane Society is low on," Paula Brown said. "We'd buy with the proceeds (from the biscuit sales) what supplies it needed and donate biscuits."
The pair decided that wasn't enough, especially because the Humane Society struggles because of a drop in donations after Christmas. Starting Jan. 27 and running through April 30, all proceeds from each 2 Besties Biscuits package are donated to the Humane Society. The Browns are calling their mission Operation: Feed the Furballs.
"We're just trying to help the Humane Society out in any way we can," Paula Brown said.
"No one makes any profits off of it," Angela Brown added.
Neither the besties nor the businesses who have agreed to sell their biscuits earns any money from the purchases. The only beneficiaries of the sales are the Humane Society dogs.
"One pink box gives four dogs a meal at the Humane Society," Angela Brown said.
Within a month, more than 130 biscuit boxes have been sold and more than 530 meals have been provided at the Humane Society.
"We weren't expecting that response," Angela Brown said. "We both were like, 'This has to be wrong. We have to do the math again. It hasn't even been a month.' "
'Above and beyond'
"It's above and beyond what we imagined," Paula Brown added.
Humane Society Vice President Elise Blue has only thanks to give the pair.
"In October and November, our food supply really dwindled, and we had to put a call out to people to purchase food," Blue said. "After the first of the year, people kind of forget about you. They approached us with this. This is their idea.
"They've gone above and beyond what anyone could ask for. The only thing I have to say is, give a huge thank-you to them."
After April, the arrangement will go back to the original 20 percent of proceeds being donated to the Humane Society.
Regardless of whether 2 Besties Biscuits will continue to be a success, the most important thing is that the best friends are together.
"We get to spend time together doing stuff we enjoy -- baking and dogs," Paula Brown said.
Hannibal businesses selling 2 Besties Biscuits are Chocolaterie Stam, Hannibal Chiropractic and Wellness, Jason Utterback Agency, Java Jive, Mark Twain Dinette, Ole Planters Restaurant, Scissors/B&B Hair Care and YOUnique Art Studio.
For more information about ingredients used in the biscuits, visit 2bestiesbiscuits.wordpress.com.