Our lives are a unique blend of experience, thought, and action. As we continue to infuse the many dimensions that comprise our being throughout our existence, our natural reason-to-be takes shape.
Individuals cannot be defined by a singular aspect; it is the totality of combined elements that makes us who we are, distinct from any other person as is our DNA. Mastering our role is much simpler than one might think: to allow life to happen without the influence of outside expectation and propel our creativity and ingenuity to enhance the lives of humans and non-human animals.
For twenty-five years, Riannon Walsh, an internationally renown Whisky Educator, travelled the world. Her prestigious work in the fine spirits industry as a nosing, blending, and distilling expert, included the founding of her own company, CelticMalts, and her patented design of a spirits glass hand-blown in Italy.
At age seven, long before Riannon started distilling whisky and learning to nose and blend distilled spirits, Riannon’s grandmother, a master herbalist, educated her in distilling essential oils and learning about the medicinal and healing properties of botanicals.
Combining her developed aroma nosing skills as a whisky blender with her medicinal herbal and botanical knowledge was a natural step for Riannon. “My extreme love of and connection with my animals led me to finding safe, effective help for their problems,” Riannon says, referring to her two Bullmastiffs, two cats, and three horses.
The desire to share this knowledge with others led to the creation of Best Friend Botanicals, truly natural bath and health creations for dogs and horses.
All Best Friend Botanicals products are cruelty-free certified, biodegradable, and made in the USA in recyclable bottles. Additionally, all Best Friend Botanicals are vegan products with one exception, the Sweet Relief Midline Magic Repellent Balm for horses, which contains beeswax.
Out of necessity, around 2004, Riannon began distilling essential oils at home and created two primary repellent products for horses. Her mare was suffering from Sweet Itch, an allergic dermatitis caused by the bite of the cullicodes gnat. “There was nothing on the market that even came close to helping her,” Riannon explains.
Not wanting her mare to spend years on corticosteroids, Riannon met the challenge and in 2005 finalized and patented the formula for Sweet Relief Gnaturally Non Toxic Equine Insect Repellent and Midline Magic Balm. “It was a natural progression from there to creating shampoos as well.”
In 2007, Riannon contracted Lyme Disease and became very ill; it took a year to stabilize the disease. A few of her dogs also had bouts of Lyme Disease, but were fortunately diagnosed early and treated without lasting results.
“During this time, I began to work on a tick repellent and shampoos for dogs,” Riannon says. “The Non Toxic Tick Repellent was a very unique and astoundingly effective product to take to market.”
Best Friend Botanicals does not use any neurotoxic or systemic toxic ingredients such as citronella which is commonly found in other so called all natural products.
“Too many consumers trust the word natural when they see it on a label,” Riannon says. “It is extremely important to be an educated consumer and know what can be harmful to your dogs, cats, and horses.”
“Many topical products as well as shampoos and other grooming products have irritating, harmful, and sometimes deadly ingredients,” Riannon continues. “The need for non-toxic, effective, and truly natural products becomes greater all the time and demand is growing.”
“Cruelty-free certification, biodegradable packaging, eco-friendly ingredients and completely natural, non-toxic formulation is absolutely essential to me,” Riannon states. “Best Friend Botanicals provides the best possible product for our companions, our planet, and ourselves.”
By 2009, Riannon sold CelticMalts to focus solely on developing Best Friend Botanicals. Riannon says, “Best Friend Botanicals is a return to my roots.”
On her forty-five acre farm, the large scale crop is organic horse hay. Among the idyllic setting of her 275 year-old home, an old but functional springhouse, a stone barn used for storage and workshop space, and a large Amish-built wooden barn for the horses, Riannon also produces some of the oils and essences from organically grown herbs and flowers.
The farm is located in the beautiful rolling terrain of Chester County Pennsylvania, where the soil is rich and loamy with very little weed and raised bed vegetable, herb, and flower gardens are maintained easily. In addition to growing raspberries, grapes, kiwis, and blackberries, Riannon maintains a fruit orchard and greenhouse where all seeds are started in late March and salad greens grow through the fall until deep freeze.
“It’s a great deal of work,” Riannon says, “but I love it.”
Riannon’s innovative spirit to develop a superior product line is truly a breath of fresh air and a remarkable reminder of our transition toward cruelty-free product development and consumerism.
Read about the Best Friend Botanicals product lines for horses and dogs and find Best Friend Botanicals in retail locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, South Carolina, California, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Vermont or purchase Best Friend Botanicals on Esty.com and Amazon.com.