How a puppy’s brush with parvo inspired these entrepreneurs to give up selling office supplies and start formulating nutraceuticals for animals.
When Cindy Van Komen and her mother Pat Griffiths decided to start a home business to help support their families, their first choice was office supplies and computer parts. “Then my daughter’s puppy came down with parvo, a viral disease that is usually fatal to dogs,” says Cindy.
The vet’s prognosis was grim, but Cindy’s daughter refused to give up. “She pleaded with my mother to create an herbal solution that might save him,” says Cindy. “My mother had, over the years, developed quite an ability in the area of herbal treatments. She set out to create a remedy that might help.”
The treatment worked and the puppy rapidly recovered. “We had a vet ask for some of the herbal solution to test. We found more dogs with parvo and other intestinal dysfunctions in our area, and when given the herbal solution, they all recovered.” Excited by the results, Cindy and Pat knew they were on to something, so they changed the whole focus of their business. “Here was something we could make, and provide to the world, and feel good about. We didn’t have much of a passion for office supplies anyway!” The only thing the women kept the same was the name of their company – Amber Technology.
The next challenge was figuring how to market their herbal remedy, which they called Parvaid. “We couldn’t sell it as a cure without FDA approval,” says Cindy. “We investigated the approval process and discovered that the red tape and expense were more than we could bear. After discussing it with our attorney and veterinarians, we decided to sell Parvaid as a food supplement that may help parvo victims recover.”
Nearly five years later, Amber Technology has grown to include more than 20 products and has nearly 400 dealers across the country. “We offer products for heart health, parvo infections, respiratory health, digestive system health, urinary tract health, ear infections, and an all-natural antibiotic called Vibactra Plus,” says Cindy’s husband, Rick Van Komen, who is also a co-owner of Amber Technology. Cindy adds that the herbal and technical know-how comes from her mother. “She has read many books on medical science and microbiology. Along the way, she became interested in herbs and has studied them in great detail.”
Since the company’s inception, Cindy, Pat and Rick have never lost sight of their desire to help correct health problems in animals. “We’ve saved animals from kidney failure, from having their paws amputated or their thyroid glands removed,” says Rick. “We also helped a cat regain his voice after eleven years of only being able to make croaking sounds. We believe our first responsibility is to the health of our customers’ pets, and are continuing to develop more all-natural products that help solve health and healing issues for those animals and give them a fighting chance for survival.”
Ann Brightman is Managing Editor for Animal Wellness Magazine and Integrative Veterinary Care Journal. A lifelong animal lover, she has also been a writer and editor for over 25 years. Ann is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and is also a Tai Chi instructor.