Dog Dad: Ziggy Marley on Responsible Pet Products

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Ziggy Marley was born in Jamaica in 1968 and is the son of reggae icons Bob Marley and Rita Marley. The 53-year-old musician is an eight-time Grammy Award winner and Daytime Emmy Award winner who has used his success to advocate a variety of political and philanthropic causes. He has served as the youth goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and is the founder of Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment (URGE), a foundation dedicated to making ongoing contributions to the lives of children in Jamaica, Africa and around the world.

Marley and his wife Orly have four children – daughter Judah and three sons, Gideon, Abraham and Isaiah – and just before the pandemic, the family welcomed a dog, Romeo, to their home. Romeo is a Lagotto Romagnolo, a medium-sized breed of dog known for their thick, curly hair and bright, happy demeanor. Bred as a working dog, the Lagotto Romagnolo comes from Italy and was first used to hunt waterfowl, but is now known as the “truffle dog” of the Mediterranean country because it hunts the underground tubers. The American Kennel Club assigns the Lagotto Romangnolo to the sports group designation.

Getting a pet was a subject of debate between Marley and his wife, but he admits that Romeo “was a good addition to the family,” adding that the dog enabled them to “enjoy life and nature and.” everything else ”to appreciate.

After Romeo joined the Marley family, the pandemic forced them to be isolated at their Los Angeles home. Marley has chosen to address the pain of the pandemic with his music, which he describes as “a rebellious cause”. Instead of writing about what’s going on, it’s something reassuring. “

Being isolated with his family, a desire to express himself through music led to “More Family Time,” a sequel to his 2009 Grammy-winning children’s album, Family Time.

Romeo was the inspiration for one of the songs, appropriately titled “My Dog Romeo”, which features the barking dog. Marley begins with Romeo’s barking and sings of his great love and friendship with his four-legged friend.

“Yo, Yo, Romeo, why are you chewing on the microphone stand?” He sings on the playful homage to his beloved puppy. “Come on man!”

The popularity of Marley’s Ode to his companion dog led the song to become a children’s book that is meant to touch the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.

ziggy marley romeo reggae dog 2The latest endeavor for Marley is leading him into the pet care community. Through a collaboration with Anja Skodda, a scientist and founder of HAPPYBOND, Marley is launching a line of products called HAPPYBOND x Ziggy Marley Grooming, which will be available in time for Christmas.

According to Skodda, the first three products in the line will be a refreshing no-wash spray, a deep cleansing shampoo and a leave-in conditioner.

“We wanted to start with a simple pet care solution at home that included washing your dog, grooming its coat and skin with a leave-in conditioner while naturally repelling fleas and ticks with neem oil and then grooming them. and extend the grooming cycle by freshening up their fur with the no-wash spray, ”explains Skodda, adding what the Marley family were looking for in their line of products. “They were looking for a natural and clean line of skin care products because they believed that frequent shampooing would dry out their dog Romeo’s skin, and wanted a natural solution to keep his coat shiny and skin moisturized and balanced. Our dogs have sensitive skin and Ziggy wanted to find a natural and clean line of grooming products with innovative ingredients that were safe for pets, family and the environment. “

The products in the care line are pH-balanced especially for dog skin and contain no gluten, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil or silicone.

“Our joint grooming line consists of a groundbreaking complex of active ingredients that combine powerful cleansing and excellent skin tolerance with unparalleled environmental compatibility,” she said. “It is based on natural, renewable ingredients (sugar). It is biodegradable and helps reduce litter in natural waters and marine ecosystems. All formulations are rich in superfood-derived protein from hemp seeds. Hemp protein is known to provide a wide variety of health benefits. It can help restore epidermal homeostasis for more vibrant, healthier skin and protect the coat from damage. “

Pet Age spoke to Marley.

Can you tell us a little bit about Romeo and what fascinated you about the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed?

ZM: “I grew up with dogs in Jamaica, had a few dogs over the years when I finally moved to California, met my wife and had our children. The children have been asking about dogs for years, but my wife was very reluctant. She didn’t grow up with pets and has allergies and all. She was worried that it would be spilled and all. At some point we decided to get a dog. We made sure that Judah, my daughter, she is 16, did the research and [it led the family] to this breed of dog. We got it in February or March last year. Judah called him Romeo which is so cool. I love that name. “

How does having a dog affect you and your family?

“It was tough at first because all of my dogs in Jamaica were outdoor dogs. The dogs never used to live in the house. And for me it was a new experience to have a dog in the house. It was basically like a new baby. My wife said “see?”

It was hard. But at some point he became part of the family. My wife and I have four, so that was the fifth child. His demeanor somehow suits the 4-year-old [Isaiah]. We are very happy to have a dog with this type of behavior. He and Isaiah are like brothers and sisters. They go ahead and run around together.

It’s been a few years for me [since the last time I had a dog]. It was like 20 years ago now. It brings back memories. I love dogs, i love pets. I love the camaraderie. I remember growing up with my dogs. It’s a great feeling to come back and introduce my children. We had goldfish, but they never had a dog. This is a different experience.

Romeo, he has a very cool personality – it’s a creature, dogs are creatures. We recognize the being in this dog – not as an animal, but as a being. We respect him as a creature who was created just as we were created.

Why did you choose to enter the pet industry with a range of grooming products?

ZM: Since we have had a dog now, we have become familiar with the world of buying things for the dog and trying different things. My wife is different from me. I don’t mind if the dog is a little dirty or smells a little funky [Laughs]. But she does: “Yo, shampoo, guys. Get some shampoo! “

We tried a lot of things that just didn’t work. My wife said, “Why don’t we try to work with someone who can develop things that might fit our philosophy that we want to use?”

She was looking for a good partner who was on the same side as us. We want something natural, environmentally conscious. Something that is good for dogs and also good for the environment and good for the family.

That led us to Anja. She is a chemist and has the same mindset as we do: to develop products that are good for animals, but also good for the planet.

We have a good relationship with Anja. Putting money into something without being in a relationship is not what I want to do. We made sure to build that relationship and understand each other on a personal level. I trust Anja, that’s why we worked with her. I couldn’t work with someone who had to be micromanaged. That relationship wouldn’t work. We had to build trust with the person we were working with. We looked at everything and agreed with what we saw. We have chosen the right person for this.

What are you hoping for with the product line?

ZM: We try to lead by example as responsible animal keepers, but also as responsible people. Whatever we do, we want to have the least negative impact on the planet. Anja was already there. The ingredients we chose are simple things but good things. I could use that stuff too if I wanted to.

Do you have a message for retailers regarding the shipping of your product and pet products in general?

ZM: If you can get something good for the pets, it works, and it works for the planet too. I think that is the balance that we should all try and strive for in this world today. This is the balance that we should all seek as individuals, as a society, as pet owners. How do we take care of our pets and still be responsible guardians of the planet. It is a balance that we need to find in everything we do in our lives. It’s a balance. For us in this space, it’s not just about selling a product, it’s also about sending a message and setting an example and trying to be a better custodian of all of nature, including our animals. We have to start thinking about these things.

What made you decide to make it the subject of the song “My Dog Romeo” for the new children’s album?

ZM: It’s funny. I am in the studio a lot. He’s been in the studio with me for a year now. The first couple of times when I work on the record. You know puppies, they like to chew. He chews on the microphone stand, he steals the shoes and chews on the shoes. He has a great personality. We love him and enjoy the time with him.

My kids always wanted a dog. But if you have a dog … you know, kids just want to play with the dog. You don’t want to be responsible for picking up the poop and everything else. Me and Romeo [laughs]. He listens to me more than he listens to them. If there is a problem and you can’t get him to do something, call Ziggy. But having Romeo helps them learn a different kind of being. It gives them a certain responsibility to take care of something. They are having fun, but they have to learn how to care for an animal. So it’s good for them.

What have you learned since you got Romeo?

ZM: I have a dog now [has helped me] relearn certain aspects of my humanity. Just like when I first had kids. It’s the same kind of thing. You have to have the patience. You have to understand. You have to have love, unconditional love.

What if the dog does something bad? You still have to love the dog. You can’t be “I hate that dog!” You have to learn to forgive. It enhances the qualities that I have. Practicing these qualities is just as important as having them.

It strengthens my humanity. It brings my consciousness back to the moment I understand that these are God’s creatures. We are all part of the same family. When I pet my dog ​​and have him near me. I feel this humanity even more. This is another living being and I feel its heartbeat, I feel its warmth and energy.

For me, if I just look into his eyes, I see a personality in his eyes. He loves us. I see the love he has in him. The love he has for us. It’s a real thing.