Taylor Hill is honoring her late dog, Tate, as she celebrates the launch of her first business venture.

The model, 28, launched the pet brand Tate & Taylor on April 10. The new project includes a shopping platform filled with hip and helpful pet products, a community of animal lovers dedicated to helping one another, and content created to guide pet parents without judgment.

"It's an homage, a dedication, to my dog, Tate, who's the love of my life, and I started it with him because I just sort of realized as a young pet parent — I got Tate when I was 18 years old, I had no business getting a dog — it was extremely overwhelming," Hill tells PEOPLE.

Hill's "personal experience" as a first-time pet owner drove her to create "a community of people who can talk to each other, a place where you can go where you know the quality is really good," she says, adding, "It's something that I wish existed when I got Tate."

Overall, Tate & Taylor is designed to make pet parenting feel "fun" and digestible.

"It shouldn't be stressful to be a pet parent," Hill says. "Dogs are amazing. They're heaven. They're angels on earth that are with us for a short period of time."

Tate, who died in July after his cancer led to kidney complications, was an angel to Hill, and she says that launching the company without him — she started working on the business two years ago with the dog by her side — is "bittersweet."

"But it's more sweet because I get to do this for him. I get to see him. He lives on. He's here," Hill says, calling Tate her "biggest inspiration."

"He is the reason I'm doing all of this in the first place anyway. I get to do this next chapter of my life, and I get to have this, and I have this passion, and I have this drive because of him," the former Victoria's Secret Angel adds. "And I am grateful to him. And I know many people feel the same way about a loved one or a soul dog."

Tate's lymphoma diagnosis and treatment posed new, overwhelming, and isolating challenges for Hill and her pet. The model hopes that Tate and Taylor will prevent other pet owners from feeling that way.

"I was told that he had three different things before he was finally diagnosed with cancer. When I went to look for what to feed him while he was sick, how to get him to take his pills, I found this lack of community, lack of conversation, lack of support," Hill remembers.

Hill shares that Tate & Taylor is now the community she was lacking before, a place where a pet owner can find comfort and support while facing a monumental challenge.

"We've got you. If you don't know where to go, you're overwhelmed with this or that, we've got you. And we're there for you," Hill adds.


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