There is no doubt that mainstream America has embraced natural and organic food consumption expanding a niche demographic of health conscious individuals, which at one time was deemed rather radical. However, healthy eating is no longer a fad among the privileged and elite. Natural food selection is now a lifestyle choice for the populous, as well as their companion animals. Hence, it is no surprise that Kriser's Natural Pet store chain has grown fast and captured the attention of pet owners in four states across the nation.
Brad Kriser opened his first store in Chicago in 2006 with the intent to offer natural pet products and services to others. He had observed the remarkable benefits of feeding his own dog a natural diet and it really extended her lifespan and quality of life even at a ripe old age.
By the end of 2016, Brad and his pack of dedicated dog and cat aficionados at Kriser's will have opened more than 37 retail stores, which sell pet food, treats, and supplies along with grooming services. They already have 9 stores in the competitive Southern California market from metropolitan Los Angeles to Orange County.
Natural Food and Dog Training
Last week, I learned first-hand just how serious Kriser's commitment to pet wellness is, as well as their sincere interest in keeping dogs healthy and happy. My partner Julie Iles and I (from I CAN! K-9) were contacted by Brad Kriser himself to make a visit to the company's headquarters in Santa Monica. It turns out that the company has a unique pet policy. If you work for Kriser's, you bring your dog to work with you. So with a "pack" of dogs to manage, they wanted us to help their employees successfully integrate their dogs in to the Kriser's "pack" of office dogs.
Julie and I were excited to work with Kriser's because, as animal trainers, food is obviously an important and effective motivator for dogs. Besides serving as a reward for good behavior, we find it important to use and recommend food products that provide dogs with nourishment conducive to their cognitive health. We encourage our clients to work toward physically conditioning their canine companions, and to choose food products that enhance their potential to learn. Whether we have a dog for a limited or extended period of time through our board and train program, we use nutritious food to help dogs pay attention and be responsive to training. Kriser's Natural Pet has helped us choose what we think are the most natural and nutritious products for our clients' pets.
It is important to tailor nutrition to the specific needs of individual dogs and Kriser's has helped us customize diets based on natural formulas. According to Brad Kriser, "The most important thing for our "Pack" is to assess the needs of each pet individually. Our team is trained to ask all sorts of questions to help get to the best option for that furry family member. It's something we pride ourselves on. So among dietary offerings, we sell canned/wet food, dry kibble, dehydrated, air dried, freeze dried and frozen raw food and recommend them accordingly."
Wings of Rescue
Kriser's is also very much a socially responsible pet industry company. What really caught my attention was Kriser's interest in community outreach and their demonstrated commitment to helping at-risk pets. Aware that local and regional shelters are overcrowded, placing dogs and cats in jeopardy of being euthanized, Kriser said, "We wanted to make a difference on a local and national level for dogs and cats in need of homes." So this May, Kriser's Natural Pet teamed up with Wings of Rescue.
Wings of Rescue is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization run by a group of compassionate pilots. According to their organization, "They have safely airlifted nearly 19,000 pets out of communities and regional shelters where they face potential euthanasia necessitated by overcrowding and a lack of adoptive homes."
Based on data from 2008, approximately 3.7 million animals were euthanized in US shelters. The statistic published on the American Humane Association's website is a commonly accepted figure currently reported by many humane societies and other animal welfare organizations in regard to pet overpopulation concerns. Wings of Rescue has also compiled its own data on at-risk pets. Their 2014 data report on shelter animals can be found here.
The pets are transported efficiently by flight, without stops or overnights in trucks or vans, to regions with the capacity to care for and adopt out these shelter pets. According to Wings of Rescue, "Transporting one plane load of pets requires approximately $10,000 in donations."
"From the moment I saw the hopeful eyes of a pet boarding its Wings of Rescue flight, I knew we had to get involved in making these miracles happen, in keeping with our mission of helping pets live happier, healthier lives, naturally," said Brad Kriser, founder and CEO of Kriser's Natural Pet. "We've challenged ourselves to measure success by the planeload, and we're committed to helping save and rehome as many furry friends as possible. Our Pack and our extended customer family are thrilled to help make dreams come true for these pets."
Throughout the month of May, Krisers has been asking customers to round up their transactions to the nearest whole dollar, with 100% of those roundup proceeds going to Wings of Rescue. In addition, the entire Kriser's team is raising additional funds via an online drive at http://crowdrise.com/krisersnaturalpet.
Wings of Rescue flies canine and feline passengers in private planes to places such as Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Canada where they are placed in foster care, "forever homes" or no-kill adoption centers.
"We are proud to partner with a company like Kriser's whose mission of helping pets aligns so well with our own," said Yehuda Netanel, founder of Wings of Rescue.
Netanel said, "Our vision is that all animals have a chance at finding a loving family and home no matter how difficult the logistics, en route to eliminating the need for euthanasia because of overcrowding. Kriser's support will to make that vision a reality for many pets."
Kriser's has also partnered with "Kriser's Approved" brand The Honest Kitchen to get these pets' new lives started off on the right paw, and will provide a box of its dehydrated human grade pet food to each family that adopts a Wings of Rescue Animal through the Kriser's initiative.
"As passionate pet lovers ourselves, we're excited to do what we can to not only help rescue these animals from over-crowded shelters, but also to help get their new lives started out properly with a natural, healthy whole food diet," said Lucy Postins, founder and CEO of The Honest Kitchen.