As a Deaf entrepreneur who spent her early career working with students with disabilities, providing employment opportunities for people who are Deaf or disabled has always been one of Cynthia Murray’s primary motivations. When she and her husband founded 4Legz All Natural Dog Treats in 2004, Cynthia saw it as the perfect opportunity to support people with disabilities in advancing their careers.
“I worked in education for over twenty years, and that entire time I saw my Deaf and disabled students struggled to find work or opportunities after graduation,” Cynthia explained. “When we started 4Legz, it was so important to us to make sure we were working to change that reality.”
One way Cynthia actively works to create employment opportunities is through a longstanding partnership with Morningside. Morningside is a Washington-based nonprofit organization that matches individuals with disabilities to jobs within the community that match their skills and career aspirations. 4Legz and Morningside began their partnership in 2020 and during this time we’ve had a few of their clients come and get the training and skills they needed and move on. 4Legz employs two of their clients currently.
Working for 4Legz All Natural Dog Treats
Everyone who joins the 4Legz family gets experience working in every functional aspect of the company: mixing product, baking, packaging, inventory management, etc. The same goes for those hired as part-time or full-time employees through the Morningside partnership. Through this process, employees get to work closely with Cynthia and their Morningside job coach to identify areas they excel in and are passionate about, develop those skills, and eventually move on to continue their education or find work more closely in line with their career goals.
Emily P. has been working at 4Legz All Natural Dog Treats for nearly a year and has excelled as an employee. “I love it here because I get to bake,” Emily explained. “At home I bake bread, cookies, and cakes. In fact, there is a family member I am going to bake a cake for.”
In her role, Emily has been able to pursue her passion for baking and gain valuable experience she can use to help find her next job or educational opportunity.
Preparing People for the “Next Step”
“I wish everyone who works for 4Legz could stay forever,” Cynthia shared. “But I understand we aren’t an end point for everyone, and I want to make sure those who join our team are supported in achieving their dreams.”
Cynthia supports her employees by working closely with everyone to understand their life goals and make sure their work schedule and tasks set them up to successfully pursue each. For example, if an employee is trying to earn their GED, Cynthia checks in to see how their studies are progressing, makes sure they have time off to take their test, and celebrates with them when they pass.
For Cynthia, owning and operating 4Legz is about more than running a company that makes healthy dog treats. It’s about creating holistic change and giving people with disabilities the opportunities they deserve.
Partnering with 4Legz
Morningside is not the only organization that 4Legz has partnered with to create employment opportunities. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had working relationships with Centralia High School Special Education and the Centralia/Chehalis Alternative School Co-Op. If you are interested in partnering with Cynthia to create more disability-friendly employment opportunities, please reach out to her today through this contact form.