Q & A
Q&A About the store and its owners:
What goods or services do you provide?
We carry high quality pet foods and treats, including four double freezers of raw diets, bones, fish stock, duck and turkey necks, goat’s milk, and homemade ice creams. One wall is covered with various leashes, collars, harnesses, chew toys, coats and other accessories and a host of dry kibble options.
We carefully examine and select the dry food manufacturing companies for sourcing, quality, and price. In this process, we ensure that a quality named animal protein should ALWAYS be the first ingredient. When a customer selects a dry food option, they need to remember this rule: If it's cheap, it probably isn't good. If it's good, it probably isn't cheap. However, this is not always the case, especially with prescription diets which are, in our opinion, lacking in quality at a premium price! There are many brands of food out there from which to choose and it can be overwhelming. We have selected a few quality dry foods that come from respected and vetted USA and Canadian sources that are more affordable than many other brands out of the same caliber. If there is a brand you have your heart set on, please ask! We may be able to order it for you on one of our regular deliveries without incurring any extra costs. However, we hold strongly to our values about quality nutrition and will not order from any company with questionable ingredients, poor manufacturing practices, or ethics.
What’s new or exciting at your place?
We are a bulk treat haven for dogs and cats. Our selections are diverse for the discerning pet whose taste buds can vary widely. We choose bulk options for three reasons: 1. to keep prices lower for our customers; 2. to allow our customers to choose what amount is right for them and 3. to reduce our plastic waste. It is a win, win, win!
We believe in an extended whole animal approach to wellness. This means that we want to help pets (and their people) live the most abundant life possible through the following values:
FOOD: Our focus is on species appropriate diets, especially raw foods. The difference we've seen over the years in animals who have just made a partial switch to raw has been all the proof we've ever needed. A consistent rotation of different quality, healthy foods for pets (and really, humans too) increases vitality, energy, positive behavior and well being. When we tune ourselves into this knowledge and help the pet and owner find the right food combinations, positive changes are on the horizon. Listening to customer needs and concerns and sometimes even doing a hair/saliva analysis, we get to the heart of the matter to tackle and treat the majority of ailments keeping your pet out of the vet office except for emergencies. In addition to fantastic dry, wet and frozen food options, we want to be a carniceria for your dog or cat. Providing a wide array of bulk treat options keeps every type of treat monger in your life happy. And if the bulk stuff isn't your thing, we've got you covered with a number of delicious boxed and bagged treats too.
FUN: What is a pet store without FUN! As an avid researcher for innovative and fun toys, we pride ourselves on finding cool toys as well as always keeping the tried and true standbys on hand. Most of the toys are tested by our own animals for durability, fun, and interest. While not every toy will pass the durability test (think most every plush toy on the market), we still have fun watching the stuffing fly on a really awesome toy. You can rest assured there's always another exciting toy waiting to be had at your local pet store! Stimulation is key to a happy pet and prevents them from seeking out your personals for enjoyment. So don't forget the FUN.
FOREST: As pet lovers, we all get a little frustrated with the rules and regulations about our furry loved ones on trails in nature. Not every person is a pet lover and our pets don't always understand manners (You get it: "Why CAN'T I sniff her butt???!?!?!") We strive to provide our customers with knowledge about the best places to go in which to avoid crowds, be off leash, or whatever you might be looking for. We have a few ideas up our sleeves for our most loyal customers in the future so visit often! Being out in nature does wonders for all of us and it is our duty to provide this access in one form or another to our domesticated yet still instinctively wild pets.
FRIENDS: Dogs and cats are inherently pack animals. We are all better together and the idea of "two is better than one" is where our dog and cat thrive. If our pets are left alone for too long, destructive behaviors begin to manifest. If a multi pet household isn't an option, we will help to find your pet the kind of interaction he or she needs whether it be through an interesting toy, a group of like-minded pet lovers, a play park, facility, or an event. Have a question? Find the link to reach us HERE and we'll be sure to respond as soon as we can.
FAMILY: Family is just as important as friends. If you have the ability to adopt more furry kids into your family, please visit our FRIENDS TO FAMILY page. As an added bonus, if you adopt your pet from a shelter, we will provide you with free items as well as custom Bach Flower remedies to help make the transition easier. (Sorry for the not so fine print here but...Must show proof of adoption within one month of visit to store to qualify.)
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition?
We try to be available to discuss any issues your pet may be having and get to the root causes of them through food recommendations. We feel that a great majority of ailments and behavioral problems are caused by nutritional deficiencies, and by providing digestive enzymes, pre- and pro-biotics, and feeding a food that is highly digestible, NOT laden with fillers and by-products, our furry friends can live longer and happier lives. Educating pet parents on reading food labels and understanding the importance of meat protein as the very FIRST ingredient without question or compromise is a critical component to healthy nutrition that we strive to impart.
What philosophy do you follow in working with your customers? What can your customers expect from you?
We feel that our customers are truly committed to providing the best for their pets, within their budget. We keep our food prices as low as we can so more pets can benefit from the fantastic nutrition and depart from the corn and wheat based commercial feeds and/or expensive prescription diets.
Customers can expect honest answers. If we do not know an answer, we will do our best to research the topic and email our findings to the customer. Nutrition is a very nuanced and touchy topic, and opinions vary enormously. We will present our views, but at the same time be considerate of other ideas and practices, always with the health and well-being of the animal foremost in mind. Our focus is on food, not diagnosing and treating animal ailments....we leave that to the veterinarians, just as we would expect veterinarians to leave food selections up to us. We can help our customers find foods that work best to support a veterinarian's diagnosis in order to clear up an acute or chronic condition. As one thinks of doctors and nutritionists in the human world, one must think of veterinarians and knowledgeable independent (not big box) pet supply stores in the pet world.
What is your background, education and experience?
Julie and Steve reside in Bigfork with their Plott Hound mutt Bisou and Husky Lab mix Stewie. They moved here in 2018 with a desire for more land. After their first dog died of cancer in 2010, they started researching pet foods, completed certification courses in canine and feline nutrition, and keep up to date through reading numerous books and articles on the topics. This prompted the opening of their first pet supply store, Fresh Tracks Pet Shoppe in 2014, so they could provide this knowledge to the surrounding community. Six years later and a lot wiser about the many different personalities of dog and human behavior, they felt a new community of dog lovers was ready for this venture....and Happy Hounds Pet Supply was born.