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Saving Man’s Bestfriend: Riley’s Candles of Traverse City Draws Inspiration From Their Own Furry Friend

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A new start up in Traverse City is all about keeping man’s bestfriend alive and well.

Riley’s Candles sells candles to raise money for families whose dogs need a life saving surgery they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

The story of Riley’s Candles begins 10 years ago when the Hart family’s dog, Riley was just three.

“We came home one day and he couldn’t walk, he was in a ton of pain. And so, we took him to a vet, they sent us to a surgery center, they sent us to a neurology center,” Owner of Riley’s Candles Josh Hart recollects.

They found out that Riley has an illness that would leave him paralyzed. They had to either pay thousands of dollars in vet bills or put Riley down. They chose treatment, and racked up credit card bills to make it happen. Although Riley survived, it wouldn’t be the last time he had issues.

“We had to go in for physical therapy and Riley was in the neurology center all the time,” Hart remembers.

The now 13-year-old Beagle has been paralyzed four times and has needed three life saving surgeries. And with the many days they spent at the vet they saw a number of dogs who had to be put down because their owners couldn’t afford their surgery. They say that drove them to create Riley’s Candles in 2017.

“The surgeries are expensive, the physical therapy is expensive, the wheelchairs are expensive. So, that’s why we’re really looking to take it full-time and grow this as large as we can,” Hart states. “Everything that is sold in this store whether it’s candles, plants, anything that we sell in here, 20 percent of the proceeds go directly to helping dogs needing life saving surgeries.”

Starting in their garage, in five years they’ve helped save a number of dogs. Now, they’ve hired their first employee and are moving into their own store. They’re set to open Monday, October 31.

“To be apart of the community and open up the store and be able to give back and be really involved in the community, it’s just really touching to us,” Hart says.

For more information on Riley’s Candles, .

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