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It's all about healthy pets at local store



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Owner Tom Peters, Mary Beth Darby and their children Darby and Jeff Peters run the store as a family. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011 - By Olivia Shumaker

Special Writer for The Review

At Orion Healthy Pets, located on M-24 in Lake Orion, providing local dogs and cats with better food is the company's highest priority.

The business, owned by Tom Peters and Mary Beth Darby, may now focus on pet nutrition, but this was not always the case. Believe it or not, when Orion Healthy Pets first started they were selling immune supplements to people.

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"More and more people were buying them and a guy who was using the supplements for his lymphoma decided to treat his dog, which also got lymphoma," said Peters. "He started giving it to his dog, and it improved significantly."

That experience spring-boarded Orion Healthy Pets to its current success. Peters and Darby began selling immune supplements for pets six years ago, and also began getting questions about what to feed dogs. They informed customers that the major brand dog food they were feeding their pets was actually unhealthy but, at the time, could not recommend other options.

So the two began making a better dog food in the store, Peters said. Orion Healthy Pets now makes four varieties, all of which are dehydrated for shipping. Once bought, a dog owner needs only to add water and meat to make a fresh meal for his or her pet.

The goal of making the dog food was to eliminate the bad qualities of major dog food brands, so Peters and Darby eliminated a few ingredients. No grains, byproducts, preservatives, herbicides and floor sweepings are added.

"Floor sweepings, or brewer's rice, were at one time sold to gas stations and similar businesses to dump on spilled oil, so that it could be swept up, thus the name floor sweepings," the owner explained.

Orion Healthy Pets has an online presence and ships its food all over North America and Europe. In Lake Orion, Orion Healthy Pets is known for both its storefront and fundraising events for dog rescues.

In September, the store is hosting a Great Dane rescue, bringing in a pet photographer, a pet psychic, and representatives from the healthy dog food brands that they sell in the store. The event benefits local dog rescue groups and the Lake Orion K-9 unit. A veterinarian also will be available to answer questions about dog health, said Peters.

Besides selling healthier dog food, Orion Healthy Pets provides a variety of other dog and cat items, including an unusual chew toy for dogs: deer and elk antlers. The antlers come from free-roaming deer and elk, dropped naturally and cut down to a variety of sizes and prices. Peters said unlike rawhides or other chews for dogs, antlers help to clean teeth, are full of vitamins and minerals, and have no calories.

To contact the store or check on upcoming events, visit orionhealthypets.com.

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