All pets are special, and rescue animals and their advocates have always had an extra special place in our hearts. We believe that every animal deserves a safe and loving home. From our beginning, we’ve looked for ways to support the rescue communities that give so much to help pets in search of their perfect forever home.
After last year’s long winter, spring was on our minds early in 2019. As we began dreaming of green leaves and spring gardens, the idea came to us! What if we planted a fresh greens garden at Oxbow – just for rescue pets in need?! As a company committed to premium nutrition for small pets, the idea was perfect!
Planning the Perfect Garden for Pets
Struck with inspiration, it was time to begin planning our garden. We consulted Pinterest for ideas, choosing a horseshoe-shaped raised bed garden that would allow guests to “step inside” the garden while harvesting fresh, nutritious greens.
Our next step was to scout out our company grounds for the perfect location. We chose a section of green space near our employee picnic area where the Oxbow team could enjoy the garden while relaxing on their lunch break.
Team Building – Raised Bed Edition
When our maintenance team heard about our idea for the rescue garden, they jumped at the chance to lend their essential carpentry skills to the project. This skilled team dedicated an entire afternoon to transforming our plans into a beautiful raised bed structure – complete with serene pathway!
Oxbow’s maintenance team begins building the raised garden bed.
The team builds on a beautiful spring day!
Oxbow’s garden bed under construction!
Selecting and Starting the Seeds
Rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals love fresh greens, and these delicious plants provide essential vitamins and minerals and help with hydration.
For our garden, we selected a variety of beautiful heirloom lettuces from the wonderful people at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. The species-appropriate varieties we chose included: Bronze Beauty, Tom Thumb, Garnet Rose, Crisp Mint, Buttercrunch, Marvel of the Four Seasons, Big Boston, and Flashy Butter Gem.
The variety of greens grown in Oxbow’s garden.
Once the seeds arrived, a garden-loving member of the marketing team got to work starting the seeds indoors to give the plants a head start. The lettuce seeds were planted in flats and placed under growing lights where they began their journey.
From the Earth, Something Grows
Within a few days, the seedlings began to emerge! Over the next several weeks, the lettuce plants grew quickly and were transplanted into larger pots in preparation for their big moment in the sun.
Planting the Garden
At long last, the day had come to transform the raised bed into a proper garden. With trays full of lettuce seedlings in hand, the marketing team was eager to get their hands dirty and spent an afternoon transplanting the greens into the garden. By the end of the day, the once bare garden was now home to several hundred new plants.
One of many transplants
Watching Our Garden Grow
Over the coming weeks, we excitedly watched our garden take root and grow. When growing fresh greens for animals, it’s important to focus on natural methods. With this in mind, we chose to grow our greens completely naturally, with no pesticides or fertilizers.
Meanwhile, we got to work planning the perfect way to share our upcoming harvest with animals in need. Several Oxbow team members have adopted animals from Town and Country Humane Society in Papillion, so we felt like this wonderful organization was the perfect fit. After talking to the small animal manager, Misty, we set a date for a very special field trip.
Sampling the Garden with the Oxbow Animal Family
Eagerly awaiting the big day, we invited some Oxbow family pets to sample the garden. First up were rescue pigs, Beaver and Smore, and their mom, Dawn – Oxbow’s Sales Support Specialist.
As you can see, the garden was a big hit with Beaver and Smore!
Smore (left) and Beaver explore the garden.
Beaver and his pet parent admire greens from the garden.
“Which one should we pick, Smore?”
Next, we invited adorable bunny, Joy, and her loving family, including Oxbow’s Vice President of Business Operations, Jeremy.
Joy had a wonderful time safely exploring the garden while munching on some fresh greens.
Joy explores the garden.
Joy wants the cameraman to get her best side.
Fresh Greens Field Trip – The Big Day Finally Arrives!
Finally, it was time for the big day! Members of Oxbow’s Marketing and Customer Care teams hosted some very special guests from Town and Country Humane Society. Small animal manager, Misty, and one of Town and Country’s foster families brought along three adorable and adoptable friends for a fun field trip: Edna, Perky, and Pepper! Joining in the fun were Duffin and Hank, two guinea pigs one of Oxbow’s Customer Care Specialists recently adopted from Town and Country.
The guests had a wonderful time exploring the garden under the watchful supervision of their caretakers!
Pepper explores the garden.
Pepper seems to like Bronze Beauty Lettuce the most!
Edna explores the garden.
An Additional Donation to Say “Thanks”
After enjoying fresh greens from the garden, we invited the guinea pigs inside Oxbow for an adoption photo shoot and to present a product donation on behalf of Oxbow. The products included food, bedding, treats, enrichment items, recovery food, and hay. In total, the donations filled up two cars!
Misty, small animal manager at Town and County Humane Society, poses with Perky and Oxbow’s donation.
Misty poses with part of Oxbow’s donation. We drove 2 cars full of product to the humane society’s storage!
Planning the Next Harvest
Our favorite part of Oxbow’s greens garden is that we will be able to continue producing fresh greens for more rescue friends in need! We are already looking forward to growing and sharing our next crop of fresh greens with more local pets.