“Be The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are” is not only the title of C.J. Frick’s brilliantly illustrated book but it’s just plain good advice. As pet owners, we know our furry buddies need quality food, water, shelter, love, and play. We want to give them the very best of each but what if we don’t know what “the best” is? Or worse, what if we think we’re giving them the best but we’re not?
Josh and Holly Allen found themselves in a similar situation in 2008. At the time, Holly was working as a Veterinary Technician in Bozeman. Her clients would often ask her to recommend a high-quality food, one devoid of harmful chemicals. She couldn’t in good conscience, recommend any that she knew of. Around that same time, Josh and Holly adopted Jericho, a sweet papillon with Addison’s disease and other health issues. Holly found herself in the same boat as her clients, desperate to find puppy food that would aid in healing and not contribute to his health problems.
The research began. By attending trade shows and pounding the Google pavement and eventually opening up their own business that can fill this hole in our pet care. This is the genesis of Dee-O-Gee. What started out as a small natural pet store out of Bozeman has since grown to include a second location downtown and has expanded to a Billings, Kalispell, and most recently, Missoula.
Dee-O-Gee is an independent Pet Supply and Services Boutique. What that means is that you will only find holistic, nutritional, and highly researched food and supplements here. For example, you’ll find Super Snouts Joint Power Green for dogs and cats, which is composed of 100% New Zealand green-lipped mussels or various CBD products to help your pet calm down. You’ll also see that the cats’ wall of canned food is two to three times bigger than the dogs’.
“That’s because cats can be really picky,” said Josh.
It’s important to find what works for each feline. Dee-O-Gee’s bakery case full of hand-crafted treats will make your own mouth water.
In addition to food and supplements, Dee-O-Gee carries a wide array of toys and gear that also promote locally made products. One such company is West Paw, made in Bozeman, which creates toys for play, chewing, cuddling, or challenging your dog. The company offers a “Love It Guarantee” with all of their products. Another great company out of Missoula is Flyvines, which makes dog collars out of recycled fly lines.
Every pet owner knows it’s essential to provide your dog or cat with essential grooming but it’s not always easy to do that at home. Whether we don’t know how, don’t have the right equipment, or just don’t have the time, it can be a daunting challenge. Dee-O-Gee takes the guesswork out of this. Each location has professional grooming services. Some locations also provide DIY grooming stations complete with different size tubs, all-natural supplies, towels and dryers.
“It’s so fun to watch families and couples come in to use the DIY tubs” said Josh. “There will be water and soap everywhere!” He also mentioned that newly adopted puppies receive a free wash.
As if providing food, treats, toys, and grooming weren’t enough, Dee-O-Gee also provides day camp for dogs and requires that each Day Camp staff member be certified in Pet First Aid and CPR by Pet Pro Hero.
A lot has changed in the Pet Market Industry since 2008 when Josh and Holly started this business. Pet Care Revenue has jumped from $42 billion a year to $70 billion, proving that pet care is not only on the rise but also recession proof. Superstores seem to be everywhere and name brand foods are now in mainstream grocery stores.
Yet according to Josh, “the Independent Pet Industry is very small and family oriented. You really get to know your manufacturers.”
In fact, a lot of the products independent stores like Dee-O-Gee sell are not found in bigger stores. They come from smaller brands, committed to smaller stores.
Sales and demand aren’t the only thing that have changed. As Josh and Holly’s family grew, it was no longer ideal for their family to travel statewide to their various locations. So Josh and Holly did what they do best: navigate a need and make it better. They revamped Dee-O-Gee into a franchise, allowing trusted business owners to bring their select skills to the table. In Bozeman, you might meet Jane, a veterinarian who has a plethora of pet care knowledge. She also researches companies and nutritional information for Dee-O-Gee’s food and supplement lines. In Missoula you may meet Doug and Allison who recently re-modeled and re-branded Go Fetch! into Dee-O-Gee’s fifth and newest location.
Five locations is impressive but Josh and Holly are nowhere near finished growing. They continue to look for quality franchise owners that can demonstrate and live Dee-O-Gee’s core values. Those values are Community, Respect, Excellence, Authentic, Team and intEgrity, or C.R.E.A.T.E for acronym sake.
“Yappy Hours” is just one way each location contributes to the betterment of their own town. It usually pairs a nonprofit and a brewery together in-store to raise money and create connection among the pet community. Knowing manufacturers personally and supporting Montana companies ensures that every product is 100% authentic.
According to Josh, Dee-O-Gee also wants to foster a “team-centric, healthy culture for you and your dog” which means getting you outside and active together.
“Play hard and treat well” is his motto. And what a good one to have.