Former U.S. Air Force C130 pilot Kristina Guerrero, 32, loves to spend time in the backwoods of La Pine, Ore. She enjoys skiing and hiking with her husband, Brandon Sylvester and her two dogs. It was during one of those hiking trips that led Guerrero to think about an easy way to carry dog food on the go.
“We got to the top of a mountain. I was hungry and all I had were protein bars and a burrito. I ended up feeding my dog the burrito and we ate the protein bars,” she said.
That’s how it all clicked for Guerrero and motivated her to create protein meal bars for dogs and to launch Turbopup.
“I was tired of carrying bulky food around in my bag every time I took my dogs on a back country adventure. What if there was an energy bar for dogs that had the same benefits as energy bars made for people?” she said.
Creating the company wasn’t as easy for Guerrero. At first, she had the idea that she was going to open the company the next day.
“It’s a very daunting and lengthy process and you’re constantly striving and taking that little at a time to make it grow,” she said.
It took Guerrero and Sylvester over two years to come up with the bars, launch the company and learn about nutritional standards. Turbopup creates all natural, human grade meal bars from their guest house kitchen.
“When you are a person who takes their dog everywhere, you want to make sure that their needs are being met in a healthy way,” she said.
Guerrero and Sylvester, a former food scientist for The Dannon Co., make the bars at home and package them as well.
Guerrero joined the U.S. Air Force in 1998. She went to pilot training in Pensacola, Fla., and after graduating from the academy she flew C-130 transport planes. She served in Iraq and Afghanistan; Served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Horn of Africa and has two combat air medals.
TurboPup bars are not everyday food. An 80-100 lbs dog would need three to four servings a day.
“The bars are the size of your iPhone and these are very portable and convenient to carry,” she said.
The bars meet standards set by AFFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials and are perfect for travel, hiking, camping and weekend trips.
The bars are currently available at pet stores in Oregon and online at Turbopup.com.
Kristina Guerrero’s message for veterans:
Anybody who is living the military and going into veteran status, the best thing you can do is acknowledge that you’re a veteran. Be proud of what you’ve done and accomplished. Be okay with saying I’m a veteran because those resources are out there people do want to support you.
Second Tour is an ABC News digital series profiling the lives of military veterans who are doing unique things in the civilian world, including vets who took on an entrepreneurial venture to create a business, grassroots organization or a second career.