It’s a Dog’s Life
My girls think it’s the coolest thing ever that their mom is a clean food cookbook author, even though sometimes they’d just like to eat what everyone else is eating! The dog, however, is a different story.
The dog simply has no choice…making him much easier to parent than children! And yet, while I know how to nourish my family, I am no expert when it comes to dogs. Fortunately, I have a clean dog-food expert! And, since she’s just opened a dog food store of her own, I thought I’d introduce her and share her expertise so you could benefit too!
Q&A with Frances Schroeder, co-owner of DOGOLOGY, Canton, Connecticut:
1. You and Dogology are like clean food for my dog. Where does your passion come from and what are the principles behind Dogology?
- I first started learning about nutrition and animal wellness several years ago when our adopted border collie, Ella, developed severe allergies to conventional dry dog food. After trying to use a prescription-based food from the vet, I realized there must be higher quality food that could help Ella to lead a healthier life. I did some research and quickly discovered a wealth of information on homeopathic remedies and natural diets that are species appropriate and far superior to your typical, mass-produced pet foods. Today, my goal is to make this knowledge more mainstream and accessible to anyone who is trying to give their dogs – and cats! – the healthy life they deserve. At Dogology, we provide the highest quality food, training and services for your pets.
2. Tell me about your business partners.
- Benjamin Braunstein is a professional dog trainer, and Marissa Squires is a veterinary technician and certified canine massage therapist. Initially, we had a client-customer relationship with one another and provided services and advice about our own animals. Talking about our own passions for helping animals, we realized we could offer something new and innovative that goes far beyond simply being another grocery store for pets. We’ve been told that the three of us offer a trifecta of knowledge for pets. We bring together nutrition, behavior and wellness to create what we like to call a “Whole Dog” approach in our recommendations to clients and their pets. Combined we have been working with animals for nearly 20 years.
3. Why is there a kitchen in the back of the store?!
- Just like people, pets are what they eat. While all of the foods you will find at Dogology are the pinnacle of pet nutrition, and we feature products that are locally sourced and humanely raised, we also love to cook! We plan to use the kitchen to offer demonstrations to show people how easy it is to cook for their pets and to show that many of the ingredients we use in our own cooking can be used in food for our pets. We will make the space available so experts (like you) can also come into the store and share what you know with our community. Finally, my 11-year-old son, Zane, is an aspiring chef! He regularly cooks meals at home, tries new recipes, and makes amazing dog cookies! He plans to use the kitchen at Dogology to cook up yummy treats for our canine visitors, and to show other kids how easy it is to make nutritious goodies for their own pets.
4. Why teach people to cook for their pets when you’re in the business of selling pet food?
- That is a great question! We think there can be a balance of the foods that we buy for our pets – whether that is raw/frozen foods, canned food or bags of kibble – along with the foods that we prepare for our pets at home. We enjoy talking to people in the store about what their options are, and helping to find the right mix for each animal and family that we serve.
5. What makes your store and offerings different from other stores?
- In addition to our retail space devoted to pet nutrition, we have a large training room where dogs can come for classes and structured visits that we call “TrainerCare” (kind of like circuit-training for dogs), and we have a private wellness room where we will offer services including canine massage therapy and acupressure treatments for dogs. All of us at Dogology have our own beloved pets, so we understand the desire to research, find and give your pets the best products and services available. Our pets all have different nutritional and behavioral needs and we know that each animal has its own unique story. We can help people to discover the best choices available for their dogs and cats. We want Dogology to be a community of people who are learning from and teaching each other, and helping to create the ultimate life for our canine and feline friends.
6. People often believe it’s more expensive to eat clean, but unprocessed clean foods can not only be cost effective, but more nourishing! In the end, you get greater nutritional value and you need less. How does that translate in the world of dog/cat food?
- It is exactly the same for our pets. There are lots of over-processed foods that look like bargains, but when you compare the quality of ingredients, the amount of food that needs to be fed and the health issues that arise from feeding inferior foods, the high-quality nutritious foods are a bargain in comparison. You might spend a little more up front, but you will be able to feed less, the animals will be healthier, and you’ll likely reduce unexpected veterinary visits. Many people have done the research to feed their families healthful foods, but forget to do the same for their pets – they are a part of the family, too.
7. Tell me about those stacks of pet food I see in the back room.
- We are coordinating and maintaining a no-cost Pet Food Pantry for anyone in the community that cannot afford food for their pet. We don’t want those animals to go hungry or lose their loving home due to a family’s financial constraints. We are working with local area Food Banks/Pantries throughout the Farmington Valley community, including Gifts of Love, to get the word out about the availability of this Pet Food Pantry.
Thank you, Frances, for being such a valuable partner in my dog’s health and a source of so much inspiration and knowledge. Wishing you all the best as you live your Dogology dream!
166 Albany Turnpike, Canton (Canton Green plaza – behind the “Pink House”).
Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm | Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Grand Opening Celebration | Saturday, March 30 | Click here to learn more!
To you and all of your four-legged friends, eat clean live well!