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Los Angeles Times


The dog days of summer are here-and with them the bad hair days.  Pampered canines with the  frizzies-and their owners-may both want to suds up with tea tree and lavender oil shampoo from Fauna, a line of “essential pet products for people too.”

    Tea tree and lavender oil for your pet’s tresses?  Absolutely, says Renee Garacochea, whose Santa Monica-based company is marketing an all-natural pet and people product line free of the toxic chemicals found in many pet care products.  “I don’t put poisons on my own  hair,” Garacochea reasons, “so why would I want to 

use them on my best friend ( in her case, a chocolate brown cocker named Avo)?  “I figured other pet owners felt the same way.”  

    When both her aunt’s puppy and infant niece developed skin problems last winter, inspiration struck.  “I woke up in the middle of the night and started masking notes,” she recalls.  

    Fauna’s multispecies line to “beautify pets and their owners” consists of the shampoo with 11 “essential extracts” to moisturize dry, lifeless hair and coats; a detangling sheen and an insect and flea repellent to protect both pet and owner.

Garacochea-whose company is only a few months old-is already receiving fan mail.


 “There’s a lady who uses the shampoo on herself and Thelma,  her really big white pig,” she says, laughing.  “And the owner of Lucy, an albino bull dog in Sparks, Nev., wrote that Lucy’s multiple allergies have lessened since she began using the shampoo.”

    The Dallas, Texas master of Simba, an African serval (a 30 pound wildcat), sent photos and a letter extolling the virtues of the insect and flea repellent, proclaiming it “purr-fect.”  And then there’s the Moorpark show horse breeder whose animals sell for more than $500,000.  

    With the help of a chemist, Garacochea , 27 a former vice president with Philip B. hair products company, formulated the Fauna products to combat people problems such as dandruff, pet problems such as fleas and ticks and problems common to both, such as itching and dry skin.  Tea tree oil, she says, is an effective dandruff fighter with antibacterial and antiseptic properties, while lavender oil soothes the skin.  What’s more, the Fauna fragrances-wildflowers, citrus, lavender-are positively aromatic compared to the bitter chemical smells of many pet grooming aids.    


A great gift for animal lovers, but Garacochea says most people have been buying it for themselves, not their pets. 


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