Ten years ago, Elizabeth Mayer Argos opened All-Natural Pet Food and Supply after her vet referred her dogs to geriatrics. In order to come to terms with the fact that both of her dogs are already growing up, she decided it was time to do some research on how best to increase their life expectancy and quality. I’ve found that experts in pet nutrition all agree on the following point: While there are many factors that can affect the overall health of our pets, proper nutrition is a critical component.
soap: What did you start in the pet food industry?
Elizabeth Mayer: Well, I have a business background – I’ve been an accountant for 11 years – I’ve worked in corporate America, worked in public accounting, not-for-profits, and did just about everything, but I’ve also always volunteered at animal shelters. So I had a great passion for saving animals and animals in general. And then when my dogs started getting older about 7 years old, I invested a lot of time researching what they were eating and their diet. I wasn’t able to spend as much time with them as I wanted because I worked long hours.
So I thought if I could improve what they were eating – their diet – it would increase their longevity. So this became really interesting to me. I’ve always wanted to get into the animal world in one form or another, and I felt like I made a difference, so this was one way to combine all my experience and my passion. And so it started 10 years ago.
SB: Ten years ago? So this is not your first site?
in a: This is the third. My first website I opened over 10 years ago in Madeira. Five years later, I opened my second place in East Walnut Hills. And now, five years later, in Pleasant Ridge, where I grew up.
SB: really? Is that why you chose her?
in a: No, that’s not why I chose it, but it’s great to be back here, and it seemed to fit really well. I mean, I’ve lived here for 18 years, so I was actually taking my dog to the vet – Pleasant Ridge Vet Hospital – during the height of the coronavirus, and they wouldn’t let me in with him, so I jumped up again and looked at my car with him across the street and thought ‘Huh, that’s Cute little shop, is this a business?” And I saw the dog statue in front and I thought, “Is this a pet store?” And it turned out that it was just a vacant building that they were putting up for rent.
And so I found it, and here I am, and I think it was a really good decision.
SB: This is a huge neighborhood for dogs. There are two families on my street that I can think of that don’t have dogs. And many families have more than one. So this is a good site. Do you make your dog’s food or is it made for you?
in a: This is our special mark that we made for us. So we worked with a nutritionist and a vet to come up with these formulas. So it wasn’t baked in our oven – I wish! – But it must be a very big oven. We’ll need hundreds of acres of land to do that.
SB: So I mentioned that the formulas are designed to keep dogs less hyper and full. Can you elaborate?
in a: Yes. They do not have fillers as many grocery store brands do. They are just fillers, that’s all they are. It’s corn, soybeans, wheat, animal by-products, and gluten, and you end up feeding more — there’s more waste — and that [Argo’s dog food] It doesn’t have those fillings. There is more meat and many of our formulas contain ancient grains, which are really easy to digest. There are things like sorghum, millet, quinoa, and chia, so they are easy to digest. It is healthy for humans and dogs. It is ultimately a better nutritional value for the dog. And that’s right – it can make a huge difference in their personality.
SB: Final question: How did you choose the name? Is it one of your dogs names?
in a: Argos is actually a famous dog from OdysseyWritten by Homer. It’s the story of King Ulysses who has this dog named Argos – and then he has to go to war – he goes to war for 10 years, or maybe 20 years, to fight in the Trojan War, and when he returns, he disguises himself as this poor beggar. I don’t know why he was disguised – he probably didn’t want to be attacked on his way back – and all the time he was away, Argos had been waiting for him. Nobody really takes care of him; He’s full of fleas and breaks up, and then when his master returns, no one recognizes him. Even his wife does not recognize him, but Argos does. He bows and eats him, Argos wags his tail and then dies.
It is very sad, but it mainly shows the devotion that our pets have to their owners.
Argos in East Walnut Hills was robbed on Christmas Day. Thieves stole a cash register and a donation jar for Cincinnati Animal CARE. For help on the only open, no-homicide shelter in Hamilton County, click here.