The story behind the neon green van that barks! -

The story behind the neon green van that barks!

When I spotted a neon green, barking van driving down the street with some sort of papier-mache-esque dog chasing it, I just had to learn the story behind it.

That's right, instead of a typical horn, this van's honk is a dog's bark.  It's just part of the brainchild of construction workers Riccardo Hayes and Jason Hendry.  Their green van advertises their latest creation -- Snicky Snaks, an organic dog treat gaining quite a bit of attention.

What started as an idea over dinner has turned into growing success for the two construction workers turned entrepreneurs.

"You guys want Snicky Snaks?  Uh oh!"

No, he's not a dog-whisperer, but Riccardo Hayes sure can command a crowd of canines.

"Everyone lay down.  Look at this!"

His secret lies in Snicky Snaks, the organic treat pooches go "pawsitively" crazy for.

"We're so passionate about it," Hayes says.   "We took it from a dinner table idea to what we have today."

The Snicky Snaks creators can't put their finger on what makes their treats so different, but dog-owners can.

"Dogs love 'em.  They like them better than any other treats at the house," Kelly Buser says.  "(My dogs) really know the difference.  They freak out about them."

The treats are made of simple ingredients you can pronounce, like whole wheat flour, eggs and peanuts.

"We were fooling around, making treats for them because it was cheaper than buying them!" Hendry says.

But when their friends -- both 4-legged and 2 -- begged for more...

"Riccardo was out selling and I was baking all day," Hendry says.  "Every batch, you know you throw it out, see if the dog likes it and this is the one that stuck, and this is the one they all go crazy for."

And so do some people.

"It's really good.  It's not too sweet," Mike Rudolph says as he pops a dog treat into his own mouth.

We took the treats to a local dog park and found them to be "lab"-tested, "poodle"-approved.

And it seems like whoever is holding the little green bag becomes an instant crowd favorite.

Snicky Snaks just got picked up in select Schnucks stores.  You can also find them in Farm and Home in Alton.  Treats start at about $4 a bag.

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