Mister Buck’s Genuinely Good Pet Food Co. offers holistic
natural petfood to consumers while promoting local community philanthropy. According to Jon Kitto, founder of the Indiana-based company, sales of Mister
Buck’s petfood have enabled the company to donate tens of thousands of dollars
to local animal welfare groups. “Mister Buck’s donates money directly back to
the county Humane Society or animal rescue group where the product is sold,”
In early 2000, Jon Kitto and Alonso Saldivar owned and
operated a large commercial service firm. As a diversion from the stress of the
business, the pair decided to adopt a dog. They went to a Greyhound Pets
of America "Meet and Greet" and found GiGi, an extremely shy and fearful
ex-racer. Seeking advice from the rescue group, they were told that the way
to get GiGi to come out of her timid shell was to “get another one!”
As it happened, there was male greyhound that had just been
saved from death at Animal Care and Control. He had been picked up
wandering in the desert nearly starved, almost hairless and covered with ticks.
The dog’s previous owner had tired of his barking and simply set him loose in
the desert to die. This scrawny greyhound was Mister Buck—a dog who not only
helped GiGi gain her confidence, but influenced Kitto and Saldivar to sell their commercial services business and commit their lives to the rescue and care of
animals. Since first adopting Mister Buck, Kitto and Saldivar have cared
for more than 1,000 dogs and had 22 of their own.
Mister Buck passed away in late 2009 and is buried in the
Memory Garden at Greyhound Boarding and Retirement Kamp (or, GBARK) which Kitto
and Saldivar founded in his memory. As a way to continue to honor the
inspirational dog’s memory and provide ongoing financial support for rescues
everywhere, the pair formed Mister Buck’s Genuinely Good Pet Food Company,
promising 5% of their profits to animal charities.
Kitto says the company’s outreach to rescue groups and
police K9 units—Mister Buck’s currently provides dog food for the Indiana State Police—are the real keys to Mister Buck’s Pet Food growth because it gets
their story told to many pet lovers. “We are a small, mission-oriented
company,” Kitto explains. “We produce a very good food, but also do good things
with our profits. It makes consumers
feel good about buying and they feel connected to our causes.
So far, sales have been strong and the company expects to triple
the number of stores their products are in within the next year. “From 150 to about 500,” estimates Kitto. “We
have gone from a homemade dog food company to a regional one! The transition
has been amazing. We introduced a 5-pound bag of each of our dry varieties earlier
this year and we are able to run consistent promotions on those bags as a way
to introduce people to the product.” Kitto also hopes to connect with a
national retail chain soon to take their petfood and donation programs from
regional to nationwide.
Products in the Mister Buck’s line include three varieties
of dry dog food: Everyday; Chicken & Brown Rice, a higher protein food for
very active dogs, nursing mothers and puppies; and No Grain, for dogs that have
grain allergies. Each variety is available in 20- and 5-pound bags. For cats,
the company offers one adult dry and one canned offering, Seafood & Chicken
with Caviar Dinner.
In the next few months, Mister Buck’s will be releasing a
new dog food called Rescue Blend. “It is the same formula we make available to
rescue groups and police K9 units,” says Kitto. “It is a high-quality, low-cost