Michelle: Tell me a little about how Zuke’s got started.
Chris: It was 1995 during a hike in the southwestern Colorado mountains, Patrick Meiering was on a hike with his chocolate Lab, Zuke. Noting that Zuke had become exhausted, Patrick broke off a piece of his energy bar and tossed it to him.
Zuke perked right up. And there it was, the moment Patrick realized that pets need healthy, natural treats just as much as people do.
Michelle: What is a typical day like for you?
Chris: A typical day in the marketing department begins with dogs and humans crossing over Junction Creek into a converted Victorian home that serves as Zuke’s world headquarters. Like most growing companies, firing up the email reveals a list of urgent items that need to be taken care of quickly. As director, I check in with various members of the team to prioritize delivery of urgent projects. Since the office is on a creek with a private park in the back, it’s a great place to take the dogs outside for some playtime, which reminds us who we are ultimately working for.
The team is dynamic and afternoons can range from working at the computer, to reviewing artwork, to meeting about new products, to developing the next ad campaign. One of the great perks is the variety of projects that come across my desk on any single day. At department meetings, we often have as many, if not more, dogs participating in the meeting. Some can be quite vocal, too.
The best part of any day is walking out the door, loading up the dogs, then heading out to one of the myriad local trails or open spaces to hike, mountain bike, or just hang out and watch the dogs play.
It’s why we live in Durango and what keeps us crossing the bridge the next morning to do it all over again.
Michelle: Zuke’s created The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund when the financial hardship of caring for a pet with cancer is too much. Why is this so important for the company?
Chris: In 2001, Zuke, the company namesake and chief canine officer, passed away from cancer. Patrick and I founded The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund to honor his memory and the deep devotion between every pet and pet parent. We wanted to make sure that no pet suffers simply because their family can’t afford treatment.
Michelle: In the large category of pet treats, what makes Zuke’s unique?
Chris: Although we have grown over the last two decades, at heart we are still the same devoted, energized group of dog lovers we have always been, with roots planted deep in the community and culture of Durango, Colo.
We are inspired by our pets and by the wonderful adventures we share with them. And it is our love for them that drives our product development and provides the groundwork for the good we do out in the world.