By BRIAN SMITH
DENNIS — Be good and do good.
The philosophy of Full Bucket Animal Supplements has reaped benefits for thousands of underprivileged farmers and ranchers in Mexico and Central America over the last year. Founder Rob Franklin, DVM, who along with his Texas A&M roommate and fraternity brother Keith Latson, DVM, decided to give back to the animals and people that desperately need it. The pair began to make supplements for horses, donkeys, mules and other larger animals about two years ago. After a trip to Mexico in October 2011, Franklin said he and Lawson had the urge to help the animals who are much more than farm animals to the people.
“One gentleman, who had no legs, was using his donkey as transportation,” Franklin said. “Ninety percent of the people (in the Veracruz region) either walk or use their animals as their form of transportation. People down there don’t have the money for a car.”
Many of the people in the area can’t afford veterinary services either, Franklin said. Because of the despair and the needs not being met, Franklin and Latson began working on ways to help the farmers in Mexico and using their American counterparts in the process. The pair had been working on other supplements at the time but dissolved the company to begin Full Bucket.
The way to help is quite simple. For every Full Bucket probiotic supplement purchased, one dose of a supplement is donated toward helping Mexican farmers.
Franklin said the program has been an incredible success since its inception about eight months ago. through strictly word of mouth advertising, ranchers and veterinarians purchased more than 35,000 doses of supplement, allowing for the same number being given to those horses and donkeys through the company’s Care + Care program.
The Mexican supplements are specifically designed to be used by those animals, which have a different diet.
“We work with Mexican authorities so the animals down there are getting exactly what they need,” Franklin said.
According to the company’s website, www.fullbuckethealth.com, “any horse that has been exposed to antibiotics or is under stress from travel, training or intense feed programs, should be on a probiotic. A probiotic helps with nutritional balance.”
“Horses are exquisitely sensitive to stress,” said Latson, “and that stress can come from being hauled for an extended period of time to changing pastures with more aggressive horses in the mix.”
Supplements are available locally at Teskey’s and most veterinarians and equine clinics across the county. Despite his delving into the business world, Franklin is still a veterinarian, focusing on internal medicine for horses. Full Bucket is hoping to continue its strong start and plans on taking 100,000 doses of supplement during its trip abroad later this year.
The pair also conduct twice a year trips to Guatemala for veterinary care as well.
“We also promote the training of local veterinarians down there and provide veterinary resources to help them,” Franklin said. “We will expand as the need to give expands.”
The trips will also become beneficial for both Franklin’s wife and kids, who will be taking trips with him later this year to see how the need is great and exactly what he does down there.
As the FullBucket nutritional line of products expands, Latson and Franklin intend to continue providing assistance to underdeveloped countries through the Care+Care program. Having witnessed the conditions in which these animals exist, they believe they can serve the dual purpose of helping animals and horses even more effectively.
“Right now our priority is to invest back into the Care+Care program first, then into the company and lastly ourselves. We are third.” Latson stated on the website. “We hope this program will encourage people to get engaged and will help them satisfy their inspiration to help animals.”