If you’re a pet owner, you know that having a pet is like having a child. You love it, care for it, and want the absolute best for your furry friend. Imagine loving your pet so much, that you dedicate your career to providing the best for your pet and pets all over your community. That’s exactly what Liz and Quincy Zikmund do on a daily basis. They run Give a Dog a Bone – Evansville’s independent health food pet boutique – and want nothing more than for your beloved dogs and cats to be both healthy and happy.
How did you get connected with Give a Dog a Bone?
“This store started around 2005. My wife, Liz, and I own the store now but we didn’t start the company originally. The store was started by a woman named Robin, and it was the result of her research into natural and herbal remedies for her Boxer dog who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. The dog was given six months to live, but after Robin’s treatments the dog lived for another six years. The store was essentially a result of Robin’s experience with her dog.
Natural pet items are much more common now, but at the time she opened the store it was very novel. So much so that some of the brands she carried she would have to drive up weekly to northern Indiana because they didn’t deliver this far. Robin is responsible for brining a lot of the bigger natural pet brands to our area.
Liz and I got our first dog, Murphie, together right after we got married– almost nine years now. Shortly after we got Murphie, we got into health for ourselves. We started eating better, exercising, and that sort of thing. Our healthy lifestyles spilled over into our pet care. We felt that if we were learning how to eat better, that surely dogs had a way they needed to eat to be healthy as well.
We started shopping at Give a Dog a Bone for a couple years, and at one point Robin asked my wife if she wanted a job. Liz started working at the store and then managing. About a year and a half later, Liz was asked if we would be interested in taking over because Robin was moving out of the area. Liz instantly said yes. We had actually had a discussion before around the idea that if Robin ever left the store we would love to take over because we love Give a Dog a Bone, and we love it’s mission. We’ve now owned the store for a little more than three years."
How much do your own pets influence how you run the store?
“We’ve got three dogs. They’re all pugs: Murphie, Otis, and Hamilton. We like to tell people that we love our dogs so much that we had to buy an entire pet food store. But honestly, our dogs kind of influence everything. Our dogs are testaments to good nutrition. We don’t sell anything that’s made by or owned by Purina. We’ve actually dropped a company before because they were bought out by Purina. We don’t want to carry anything in our store that we wouldn’t be willing to let our own dogs eat. So yes, our dogs pretty much influence every part of the store.
We are big into raw foods for dogs and cats. Our dogs eat a raw food diet. For example, Murphie is eight and a half years old, but she sometimes gets mistaken to be three years old. She’s energetic, she’s slim and fit, and she doesn't look like what people think pugs should look like. Pugs actually shouldn’t be overweight, just like humans shouldn’t be overweight. Our other dogs are healthy too. Two of our dogs have health conditions. Murphie has Addison’s disease and Hamilton has hydrocephalus– a neurological disorder that causes swelling in the brain. They both need a traditional form of treatment. Purely holistic and natural treatments alone won’t be enough for them. But, the raw diets help make the traditional treatments more effective. They don’t have the same side effects that other dogs have."
What have been some of your favorite moments from running Give a Dog a Bone?
“I think building relationships with people and the community we’ve built through this store is wonderful. My wife and I are here everyday. We’re not just business owners who are off doing other things. We’re literally in the store ringing people up at checkout and giving food consultations daily. We really get to know our customers and that’s super important to us. We get to know their dogs and their families, which as a local business we believe is super important to do.
One of my favorite things overall is our store’s mission which is to help people. We do consultations, so if someone comes in and has a dog with a disorder we recommend specific foods and give diet tips. For example, if a dog is diabetic, it shouldn’t eat anything that turns into sugar in its body– no grains, no potatoes, and little to no carbs period. We just try to point people in the right direction. Of course, we don’t do any diagnosing. We aren’t veterinarians and certainly don’t pretend to be a replacement for veterinarians.
We get feedback from people telling us about how their pets are doing better and we love hearing that. We love knowing that we’re doing something good and contributing to the community."
What has the Evansville community been like for you as a business owner?
“I was born here. I’ve literally lived here since I was born and never left. My wife and I got married fairly young– she was 20 years old and I was 21. We realize that Evansville’s a really great place, and so we’ve never had the desire to leave. We’ve been involved in different stuff in the community for years whether it’s local music or the downtown area and patronizing other small businesses.
As a business owner, I would say that it seems like the community has really come together in the last few years. There’s really been a sense of embracing small, local businesses. Evansville has a lot of chains whether it’s restaurants or big box stores. I know those businesses have a place for sure, but I like that Evansville truly supports local businesses. It definitely makes a huge difference."
Do you have any dreams for Give a Dog a Bone?
“Our biggest dream is continuing to grow where we’re at. By that I mean staying in our location but growing in being able to help more pets in the community. We’re pretty centrally located on the east side. We want to intentionally stay small so we can focus on helping people. Whether it’s an older dog or a brand new puppy, we want to give people’s pets the best and healthiest lives that they can have. We want to inform and educate people in the community, and that’s honestly our biggest goal.”
Visit Give a Dog a Bone for the best in nutrition for your dog or cat. Before you go, download Towny where you'll find great deals and other fantastic local businesses you can shop from in the Evansville area.
Top image courtesy of : Goad Photo