It started as a hobby. The K9 Shop is now a Long Island phenomenon
Robert and Anya Tucker just wanted their dog to live a happier, healthier life.
So they focused on his diet and made huge changes.
Their neighbors were quick to notice their happy dog on walks.
That shiny coat!
Soon they were also helping their neighbours’ dogs.
The Tuckers’ passion for puppies quickly turned into a business phenomenon.
The Bay Shore couple now own and operate The K9 Shop, where “Real Dogs Eat Raw”, with locations in Massapequa and Bohemia, and a franchise store in Lynbrook.
They opened in Massapequa in 2018.
“But we had to expand [from Massapequa]because people were coming from as far east as Montauk and west of the city, Staten Island,” Robert said.
Even the original Massapequa location has nearly tripled in size and is now located at 939 Broadway, a 2,200 square foot space with plenty of room for canine visitors.
“It was a hobby; we had no intention of starting a business,” Robert said. “But then it started to snowball, and I said, ‘This is interesting; maybe can do something with that.
The couple now own and operate New York State’s largest raw and natural pet food supplier.
The trust factor
Anya says “trust” has fueled The K9 Shop’s success.
That, and clients who become friends. These believers are talking, and word of mouth has been great for the company.
Before the couple started selling food from a freezer in their garage in Bellmore in January 2017, they spent countless hours researching what they call ‘species-appropriate’ diet options. for the dog Ginger, a vizsla.
They drove and flew across the country, meeting (and inspecting) potential food sources and suppliers.
Today at The K9 Shop, offerings include whole, balanced meals, bones, fish, free-range eggs, whole prey and DIY raw cuts – with food also sourced from local farms. This includes duck necks, turkey necks, rabbit bits, and chicken feet, to name a few.
“It’s like Mother Nature intended,” Anya often says.
What builds trust?
“People can see the results on their dogs’ health, coat, and behavior,” Anya said. “They see the dogs changes…yeast issues, ear issues, hot spots, missing. Their teeth are cleaner…
“It’s about feeding them what they’re supposed to eat,” she continued. “Dogs were meant to rip and rip. It’s human grade food, the only difference is that it contains bones and organs, that’s where they get most of their vitamins and minerals.
“Our customers are learning to trust us,” added Anya. “They tell us if it’s in our store, they don’t even have to read the labels.”
Feeding dogs kibble has been a trend for a century.
Because everything is too easy. Open the bag and pour.
“It was created as a convenience, just like McDonald’s was created for us,” Robert said. “People wanted something quick that they could throw in the bowl and get going. The difference is that we are well aware that McDonald’s is not good for us. (And we would never eat it every day.)
But it’s hard for people to understand anything different, the couple say, because for generations they’ve grown up with friends and families feeding dogs kibble.
” All that we [as humans] do to their food, by cooking it, adding dyes and fillers and preservatives, what we’re doing is killing the food itself, and it ends up having no nutritional value, due to the high transformation,” says Anya. “That’s why these big dog food companies then have to spray on all these flavors and vitamins and colorings to make the kibble more palatable.”
A top priority for all K9 Shop employees is education, not only about the dangers and dark secrets of kibble, but also the real benefits of raw, natural foods and supplements.
“The key is education,” says Anya. “That’s why all dogs do so well on this food. Some may need additional supplements, some diets need to be changed, especially for things like kidney disease, EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) or Diabetes We educate people so well.
“We believe that everything is healed from within, and it starts with what they eat.
why they did it
The Tuckers had a beloved English Bulldog named Georgia, a female who had a whole host of health issues: from her skin to her weight to her coat.
After Georgia died, they wanted to prevent the same thing from happening to Ginger. (They soon added a second vizsla, Ember. These two dogs are the inspiration for the store and the official mascots of The K9 Shop.)
“Georgia had passed and we started looking for raw foods,” Anya said. “But here on Long Island [in 2016-17] we couldn’t find a good source of raw food that wasn’t extremely expensive, extremely messy, or of the highest quality.
Even today, the couple swears by quality and has always packed freezers in their garage.
“We never compromise on quality,” says Robert. “We keep our quality very high and we will never get out of it. We seek only the best. If I don’t give it to my dogs, it’s not in my store, period.
Their goal is – and always has been – to help more and more dogs live better lives. Their growing business is just a by-product of that.
“People are always nervous about starting their dog raw, but when you just think about the natural aspect, dogs don’t have the ability to cook their own food,” says Anya. “They never have, and they never will.”
Top: K9 Shop owners Anya and Robert Tucker in Bohemia with their two dogs, Ember and Ginger. (photos Satin Widrow)
When you visit
First, dogs are welcome at all K9 Shop stores, and are encouraged to bring them. Let the owners and staff get to know them and learn more about their eating habits or other issues. Each location is stacked with raw foods and natural dried treats, and all from trusted sources. If you can’t physically go to a store, you can click here to shop online. They also sell food for cats and other pets.