How an “ah-ha” moment during a mountain hike inspired a company that specializes in natural treats for dogs and cats.
Patrick Meiering was hiking in the mountains of southwest Colorado with his dog, Zuke, when he realized the chocolate Lab was tiring. On a whim, he gave Zuke a piece of his own energy bar, and was amazed at how the dog perked up.
“At that moment, Patrick realized animals need healthy, natural treats just as much as people do,” says his brother Chris Meiering, Marketing Director of Zuke’s, the company Patrick founded as a result of that serendipitous moment. “He believes dogs should have the same nutrition available to them that their humans do in order to live healthy and active lives.”
That hike took place in 1995, and Zuke is gone now, but the company named for him is still going strong and heading into its 20th anniversary. Now more than ever, people are looking for nutritious treats for their dogs and cats, and in response to this demand, Zuke’s offers 13 different lines of natural treats and chews.
“They are all formulated with antioxidant-rich whole food ingredients and are free of wheat, corn, and soy,” says Chris. “We also have grain-free offerings, a wide variety of protein choices, vegetarian and vegan selections, as well as treats for training, and hip and joint health. We wouldn’t feed our animals anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves, and our ingredient selection and sourcing refl ects that philosophy.”
Owned and staffed by dog lovers, Zuke’s also gives a high priority to helping animals in need. “We have donated to hundreds of animal-centric charities, and with the creation of The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund in 2007, in memory of Zuke, we took our devotion to a whole new level,” explains Chris. “We donate a portion of every sale to the Fund, which directly supports animal parents by helping them pay for cancerrelated veterinary bills if they are unable to afford the cost themselves. To date, we have helped over 200 dogs and cats get cancer treatment.”
Not surprisingly, the Zuke’s facility in Durango, Colorado is a dog-friendly environment. “Whether we are putting in long hours to develop the newest treat recipe or debating the best name for a product line, we have our dogs by our side to help diffuse the stress, lighten the mood, increase collaboration and restore our energy,” says Chris. “Although some of us go running with our dogs or play in the yard during our breaks, it’s really more about having a dog stroll through a meeting and rest his head on your lap for a quick pet, or curl up under your desk as a sleepy sidekick. Their quiet (and sometimes not so quiet!) presence is ingrained here. They’re a great reminder of why we do what we do, and are the reason we love our jobs so much.”