When Robin Aldrich’s boxer developed cancer at age five, veterinarians recommended leg amputation and chemotherapy, and still predicted a life expectancy of only one year. The news shattered Aldrich, an Evansville native, but she was determined to find other medical options for her dog Quiggley. Aldrich investigated online for holistic practices and began implementing alternative therapies for cancer treatment via natural dog foods, herbs, and intermixing a raw diet. Her remedies were successful — Quiggley outlived the vet’s clock by six years — and Aldrich’s passion for natural treatments snowballed from there.
As a former director of marketing development for nonprofit organization Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana, Aldrich sprung her skills into action. In February 2005, she opened Give a Dog a Bone, a natural pet food market on South Green River Road. The space was limited, about 700 square feet, and she ran it alone. Less than a year later, the business had gained a regular following, requiring Aldrich to upgrade to a larger space. Now at its current location on the East Side, among businesses Elbert’s Natural Food Market, Wild Birds Unlimited, and Play It Again Sports, Give a Dog a Bone has more than doubled its square footage and added nearly a dozen employees. “We work hard to maintain a level of integrity with our clientele,” she says. “They look to us for answers, so they need to trust what we’re telling them is accurate.”
Inside, bold reminders to “Eat Well; Play Well; Live Well” encourage customers to shop healthy for their pets. The sweet aroma of fresh-baked dog treats greets patrons and their pets, and shelves showcase an array of all items dog and cat related — from car seats, collars, leashes, toys, and foods to paw boots, beds, treats, grooming products, and more. “I always try to keep the store fresh and unique,” says Aldrich. “We have basic lines that we always carry, and then we have other lines that we refresh about every six weeks.”
All natural foods and supplements at Give a Dog a Bone are guaranteed to be licensed by the Indiana State Chemist Office, which administers several agricultural laws involving seeds, fertilizers, animal feeds, and pesticides. For example, “Most dogs aren’t physiologically engineered to digest foods like corn and wheat,” says Aldrich, “which is why our foods contain whole meats and whole grains, and the bulk of the protein is meat-based rather than a chicken by-product meal or corn gluten meal.”
Whether using holistic foods, treats, or supplements, Aldrich believes the benefits are long term. “You’ll have reduced vet visits from not having frequent illnesses and immune system breakdowns,” says Aldrich, “making it more likely for your pet to live a longer, healthier life.”
Give a Dog a Bone, 5618 E. Virginia St. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 812-402-2663. Visit www.dogbonemarket.com or find them on Facebook for upcoming events.