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Meet Cindy Dunston Quirk, Founder of Scout & Zoe’s Pet Food, Treats

By Pet Age Staff//August 1, 2023//

Meet Cindy Dunston Quirk, Founder of Scout & Zoe’s Pet Food, Treats

By: Pet Age Staff//August 1, 2023//

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How would you describe the mission statement of Scout & Zoe’s? 

Our mission is to do good by the animals, good by the environment and good by the community. We create products that will give pets the longest, healthiest, happiest lives possible with the families who love them. 

 

What impacts do superfoods and alternative proteins have on overall pet nutrition? 

We think of superfoods and alternative proteins as food as medicine.  Superfoods are good for humans, as well as our pets. Superfoods provide good antioxidants, and help limit free radicals that can alter DNA, lipids and trigger many disease states. Salmon, kale, spinach, blueberries and cranberries, to name a few, dramatically help our bodies, and our pet’s bodies, to maintain proper physiological function and heal from the inside.  

Alternative proteins are wonderful on so many different levels. The main benefit of alternative proteins is the different nutritional components they bring to a meal. Beef has a different profile than black soldier fly larvae, Asian carp, turkey or kangaroo. Rotating proteins in your diet and your pet’s diet is wise. Not only does the rotation make mealtime special, but it also helps limit exposure to any one protein that might cause intolerance, sensitivity or allergies and provides those varied and different nutrients. Incorporating the Asian carp and black soldier fly larvae proteins also helps with the environment. The carp are highly invasive, and the black soldier fly larvae are very sustainable.  

 

What innovations has Scout & Zoe’s introduced to the pet industry?  

We’re constantly innovating, whether that’s through working with underrepresented communities, raising money for canine cancer or creating healthy, sustainable pet food. 

Our most recent innovative product set is our Super Fly family of products. It includes our jerky, food topper and oil made from black soldier fly larvae. Black soldier flies have a tiny carbon footprint and are a novel protein healthy for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and amphibians. It’s a real crowd-pleaser and very healthy as well as highly sustainable. The larvae are high in protein, lauric acid and rich amino acids. In the seven to 10 days it takes larvae to fully develop and be harvested, they can eat thousands of times their body weight in fruits and veggies meant for the landfill. Nutritious and sustainable; that’s a winning combination. 

Our Carpius Maximus products solve the overpopulation problem of the invasive Asian Carp. With no known predators, the carp are destroying American waterways. While humans are just beginning to consider these carp tasty, the carp is a nutritional powerhouse for pets. They provide an incredible source of Omega-3 fatty acids and iron for your pets. We turn disaster into delicious. 

 

Why are education and transparency important elements for the pet industry? 

To me, education and transparency go hand in hand. Scout & Zoe’s is transparent with food ingredients, making labels easy for store staff and their clients to read. Transparency makes education so much easier. Translating a label from scientific jargon to everyday English is unnecessary. Our products are either single ingredients or very limited ingredients, with most of those being something you can find in your kitchen.  

The more a consumer knows and understands about a product and its effect on their pet, the more educated decision the pet parent can make on bringing it into their pet’s treat or food regimen. 

To assist retail store staff and consumers with greater knowledge of Scout & Zoe’s products, we established Scout & Zoe’s University. The site includes videos of products and highlights how they benefit a pet’s diet and the intended species for each product.  

 

If you hadn’t started Scout & Zoe’s in 2010, what would you be doing today? 

If I wasn’t changing the pet food game with Scout and Zoe’s, I would have started a nonprofit to benefit pets. Initially, I wanted to create a sanctuary for dogs where they could live their lives until they were adopted or left for the next phase of their journey (the rainbow bridge). However, a sanctuary requires a lot of land.  

Our first German shepherd, Schotz, died in 1999 from hemangiosarcoma a very aggressive blood cancer. My beloved Scout also died from the same cancer on October 27, 2021. To lose one pet to this awful cancer was hard enough, but to lose another one decades later from the same beast was more than my heart could take. I decided to start a foundation to fund research to end hemangiosarcoma. A lack of funding has unfortunately paused promising research. From the time I filed the paperwork to when the foundation was approved was only a couple of weeks. We received our 501(c)3 status on the first anniversary of Scout’s passing.  

While I love creating unique treats and food for pets, the foundation will be my legacy when it is my time to cross the rainbow bridge. I aim to fund the cure and have it widely available in my lifetime. 

 

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