Austin, Texas — Austin entrepreneur Kirby Holmes and his cousin Evan Daugherty will be featured on the hit television show "Shark Tank" on Friday, November 20, at 7 pm on ABC (CST).
Kirby and Evan are co-owners of Good Air Team LLC, an Austin based company that created the world's first air filter mask specifically designed for dogs called K9 Mask®. It is a wearable air filter mask for dogs to protect them from the short and long-term health dangers of breathing toxic air from smoke, ash, dust, smog, chemicals, pollen, allergens, ozone, and bacteria. Pet owners in an air pollution crisis can now choose pure air for their dogs.
"Anytime a person needs to wear an air filter mask, a dog in the same environment needs to be protected. People and their pets need to be better protected from extreme air pollution. Wildfires in places like California the last several years have unfortunately become the new normal. Finding solutions to air pollution problems, like wildfire smoke, is the number one goal of the Good Air Team. We are empowering dog owners with new solutions to protect their pet's health." says Kirby Holmes, CEO of the Good Air Team.
Growing Problem of Air Pollution for Pets
Recent wildfires across California have sparked concerns about protecting pets from the harmful effects of toxic smoke. Wildfire smoke is dangerous because it produces toxic air particles easily absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled into the lungs. These toxic particles can cause immediate and long-term health problems in people and pets. Smoke inhalation can contribute to health problems, including respiratory disease, lung cancer, and heart conditions. Other important uses for protecting dogs in a crisis with a K9 Mask® are dust storms, volcanic ash, tear gas, chemical spills, red tide brevotoxins, pollinating vegetation, allergens, bacteria, mold, and fungus.
How Does a K9 Mask® Work?
The Good Air Team is solving air pollution by providing dogs with an alternative to poor air quality. The K9 Mask® is specifically designed for the shape of a dog's muzzle. Each K9 Mask® size has adjustable neck and muzzle straps to fit various size dog breeds. The replaceable "Extreme Breathe" air filters used in the K9 Mask® have four-layers of air filtration to purify inhaled air. The filters can protect dogs using the CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control) standards for toxic air filtration by using N95 (95% filtration of all non-oil-based air pollutants) with PM2.5 (particulate matter that is less than 2.5 microns in diameter) and activated carbon for absorbing toxic chemical particles.
Using an innovative exhaust valve, panting dogs can release hot, exhaled air from the mask. The K9 Mask® is washable and is useful as a muzzle to keep dogs from biting in stressful situations often associated with a natural disaster crisis. Dog owners can finally protect their pets from air pollution.
Inspired by a Fear of Fires
As a kid, Kirby was panicked, hearing the stories of fires blazing on the hills around his grandparents' house in Ojai, California. He grew up traveling to the quaint, picturesque city of Ojai to visit his grandparents for a week or two during the summer holiday break. The fear of these fires haunted Kirby every time he looked at where the flames snarled, and firefighters battled the blazes on the hills surrounding his grandparent's neighborhood.
With the recent intensity of wildfires on the West Coast, starting around 2017, Kirby began thinking about the need for people in California to use air filter face masks to protect themselves from toxic wildfire smoke. It also occurred to him that dogs need to go outside for short walks to pee and poop during the wildfire season, but how do dogs stay protected from breathing in toxic smoke?
In his search for answers, he discovered no air filter mask for dogs existed to protect them from air pollution. Kirby asked his cousin Evan to help him solve this problem. Together they formed the Good Air Team.
The Good Air Team
Kirby and Evan are both Texas natives and long-time Austin residents. Kirby attended Texas Tech University, and Evan attended Texas State University. Evan is a veteran product designer who works at Dell Technologies with experience in digital media and technology UX (User Experience). Kirby is a global leader serving in local and international non-profit organizations as a missionary and pastor with experience managing manufacturing sales representatives. Together they form a team with high capacity and people-focused solutions, especially for people with pets.
What About the Coronavirus?
The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that pets do not appear to be easily infected by COVID-19, with only 65 testing positive for the disease in the United States. These numbers include four tigers and three lions at a zoo facility in New York in April, thirty-one pet cats, and twenty-three pet dogs living in the United States.
These scattered COVID-19 cases in pets, including a North Carolina pug, a Yorkie in Texas, and a German Shepherd in New York, give many dog and cat owners pause. The CDC recently updated its guidance for pet owners in light of these cases. Most of the cases of pets testing positive for the virus are those in close contact with known pet owners who are positive with COVID-19.
What do Veterinarians Say About a Mask for Dogs?
Some veterinarians have dismissed the use of air filter masks for dogs because they have only considered trying to fit a human mask on a dog. The shape of a human face and a dog snout are obviously different, making a human mask on a dog ineffective. The K9 Mask® has created an air filter mask to fit the shape of a dog's muzzle so it will be secure and effective on a snout.
We are in active conversations with the Texas A&M University Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department about dogs' needs to be protected from air pollution threats. There is an agreement that an air filter mask for dogs has benefits in specific environments. We also understand the mask should be worn on a dog for short periods of time and with visual monitoring to protect a dog from possibly overheating.
K9 Mask® Made in the USA
Successfully funding a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in March of 2019, the Good Air Team fully funded the first production K9 Masks. All manufacturing for the K9 Mask® is done in the USA by craftsmen in Dallas, Texas. The K9 Mask® air filter for dogs is currently protected with a provisional patent, and a utility patent for the mask has already been filed. They have generated over $280,000 in sales through the website www.K9Mask.com and Amazon.com. The Good Air Team is hopeful about the future of protecting dogs from air pollution.
Shark Tank Filming in Las Vegas
With the ongoing pandemic resulting in strict quarantine guidelines in California, television production companies could not film television shows for the Fall season in Los Angeles. So, several of them took their production teams and equipment to Las Vegas to set up make-shift production studios. "Shark Tank" was filmed in the Venetian Hotel and Resort on the Las Vegas strip. All entrepreneur participants, including Kirby and Evan, were under strict quarantine guidelines to protect the health of all the cast, crew, and Sharks while on location for filming this season of "Shark Tank."
- For More Information on K9 Mask®: K9Mask.com
- K9 Mask® Introduction Video: https://vimeo.com/362541057
- Shark Tank Images - https://www.wdtvpress.com/abc/shows/shark-tank/photos/