by JANET MANDELSTAM
As the lives of most people were restricted in 2020, story after story noted that they were lavishing extra attention on their pets —or acquiring new ones. Animal shelters reportedly were running out of adoptees.
“And that translated into good business for us,” says Susan Rice, owner of Bone Appetit—“the barking good place for dogs”— in Nashville, Indiana. “People wanted to do something special for their pets.”
For nearly 25 years, Bone Appetit has been serving up all-natural dog treats made with “human-grade ingredients.” Over time, Rice says, “I’ve seen a lot more interest by pet owners in the nutrition of their dogs.”
Rice says that Bone Appetit was one of the first businesses to feature all-natural dog treats. The store specializes in “functional treats” for dogs in a variety of shapes, textures, sizes, and flavors. All are made in the United States without chemical additives or preservatives. Pet owners can choose among a number of special diets with grain-free treats, low-fat treats, soft treats for small dogs, and treats with glucosamine, which provides joint support for aging dogs.
“Dogs are living longer now,” Rice says. The best sellers? “Anything with peanut butter.”
Then there are the specialty treats, hand-decorated like pumpkins for Halloween, birthday cakes for annual adoption day celebrations, and a variety of Christmas ornaments. These, Rice admits, “are more for the owners than the dogs.”
In addition to the dog treats, the store sells toys, leashes, collars, grooming products, dietary supplements, and a few items for cats.
The retail store was initially closed when the country locked down last spring, but, Rice says, mail orders were up. Weekend openings followed, and now Bone Appetit is open seven days a week with masking and social distancing requirements. As always, Rice says, “Dogs welcome; humans tolerated.”
You don’t even have to be an owner to support pets. Bone Appetit will deliver any items purchased for donation to the Brown County Humane Society.
Rice, who lives in Indianapolis, is naturally a dog owner herself. The current canine resident is Logan, a yellow lab with one eye who was rescued from a shelter in Alabama. “I’ve always had a dog,”she says. “I can’t imagine life without one.”