By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Dave Ancel has lived a life of adventure that has ranged from the nuclear power industry to the pet industry. For many years he was a radiological health technician at several nuclear power plants and was off work for 4 to 5 months each year. To fill the time, Dave, who is an avid pet lover, became a certified animal control tech because he wanted to make sure that dogs in different situations were treated humanely. That led to Dave and his business partner to open a facility called Planet Doggiewood in Rainbow City, AL. “We had pet lodging, day care, taxi service, boarding, and a grooming spa,” he told me with a chuckle.

When Dave moved to North Alabama, he settled in Decatur and became the manager of a shop known simply as “The Pet Food Store.” Early on, Dave became a rep for Nutro Dog Food, and one of the things he liked about that brand was the cleanliness of the facilities where the pet food is made. He proceeded to educate me about pet food; how and why less expensive pet food is so unhealthy for your dog, and what can be done to upgrade the quality of your pet’s food without breaking the bank. Many less expensive pet foods are made to lower standards, and contain ingredients to which pets can become allergic. This often results in the development of skin disorders and other health issues. A few years back, there was a brand-name dog food that went through a massive recall because less expensive pet food is made with ingredients that are not what is known as “human grade.” Some of the cattle that did not meet the criteria for human grade were sick and subsequently euthanized; then they were sold to the pet food company. The Pet Food Store refuses to sell such brands.

The Pet Food Store carries a selection of high- and medium-quality human-grade pet foods such as Fromm’s, which has been around since 1904, Zignature, and Canine Caviar, which have never had a recall. There is also a new brand about which Dave is quite excited. It’s simply called Dr. Harvey’s. Dr. Harvey is not a vet, but is a chiropractor who understands that pets often develop the same degenerative diseases as humans because they eat in the same kinds of highly processed, devitalized foods. Dr. Harvey makes his own food, and you can actually call the doc for a food consultation for your pet. If you can send him your pet’s blood work, he will send you back an extensive workup and recommendations for changes to be made in your pet’s food and lifestyle.

Dr. Harvey publishes what he calls a “Book of Miracles” that is full of informational-purposes-only testimonials as to the kinds of things that have been alleviated by a holistic dog food regimen. They include, but are not confined to: diarrhea, undesired weight loss, allergies, hair loss, ear infections, overweight, kidney problems, digestive issues, body odor, diabetes, and a salivary gland tumor. Most of the testimonials are prefaced with wording along the lines of, “I never write any companies, but I just have to tell you what a miracle your product has been in the life of our dog…” Dr. Harvey’s foods are 100% human grade and contain no GMOs.

If you are a “do-it-yourself” type of pet owner, then the Pet Food Store offers a number of options to increase the quality of your pet’s protein intake. You can put in custom orders for chicken livers and hearts, beef hearts, turkey, and pork that are guaranteed to be antibiotic and hormone free. Dave told me that amongst wolves, the alpha male gets the heart first, the second wolf gets the stomach and the rest of the pack gets the rest of the body. The reason why raw is so important is that the enzymes are not cooked out.

Blue Ridge Beef Company carries all-frozen beef, chicken, duck, quail, rabbit, and venison food with bone, as well as cat and kitten mixes. They also have goat’s milk available by the pint, quart, or half-gallon.

There are grain-free biscuits, products that are full of enzymes, and in short, a number of holistic health options for furry family members.

The Pet Food Store also carries standard accessories such as leashes and collars, and just in time for the football season, there are all kinds of what Dave referred to as “Canine Collegiate Clothing.” That’s right, for your tailgate party or showing your school colors on game day, you can get sweaters, cheerleading dresses, jerseys, and more for your pooch. Of course, the two most prolific selections were for Alabama and Auburn, but you can also order collegiate canine clothing to represent nearly any American college or university. Soon The Pet Food Store is going to be adding healthy reptile food featuring live mealworms and Dubia roaches.

If you are looking for a source of healthy, tasty, and reasonably priced food for your pet, and a human resource who will not rest until he has your answer, then come see Dave Ancel at the Pet Food Store in Decatur. It will be completely worth the drive!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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