Amy Barker, CPDT-KA, and Daniel Pringle
In November 2013 we were given an amazing opportunity to buy Prairie Dog from Don and Cyndi Cutler, founders and owners since 2009. Thanks to them, Prairie Dog has become a community place in which people and dogs mingle (and get treats). We are proud to carry on their values and their dream in this adventure.
This is our first endeavor as business owners, but Prairie Dog embodies many things that we deeply care about. Before Amy began working at Prairie Dog in 2010 she had a career in the photography industry but had really discovered a passion for dog training while learning to live with her troublesome but lovable pound-rescued Husky-Malamute, Loki. While she’d grown up with family dogs, Loki gave her a challenge that inspired her curiosity. She found a natural talent for working with dogs, interpreting dog behavior, and sharing her knowledge to create happy dogs and relieved owners. That experience motivated her to begin teaching at Diamonds in the Ruff, a positive reinforcement school focusing on the pet-owner relationship, and eventually became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Dan also grew up with pets and has a unique respect and care for animals. He’s a librarian at Spokane Public Library, where he helps people find information and connect to resources to enhance their lives. This means you may not see him around the store much, but he’ll be involved with our web presence here and on Facebook. In our free time, we can often be spotted outdoors hiking or snowshoeing with our Samoyed, Piper, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Declan.
We believe in the importance of nutrition to dogs’ and cats’ health, behavior, and overall happiness. We have learned from experience that animals will thrive on a natural and holistic diet honoring their evolutionary development and free from cheap fillers and byproducts. We saw our cat Casper live an almost annoyingly full life after bouncing back from two close call surgeries with struvite crystals thanks to a diet of high-quality raw food and herbal supplements. Loki also lived on to aggravate and delight us in spite of kidney problems when we changed him to a higher quality food. Our current four-legged family, including Piper, Declan (above), kittens Birdie and Frankie, and Griffin, a stripedy cat, continues to fill our days with love, joy, and gratitude because of the delicious, natural food they get. Not to mention the never ending supply of new toys, catnip, and bully sticks. The cats love to eat so much it seems like that’s all they ever talk about!
We know the science behind pet nutrition is constantly evolving, so we strive to keep up-to-date on nutrition issues and monitor food manufacturers to make sure we’re carrying only the finest pet food available. We will continue to employ people with special interests and expertise in health and animal behavior.
The second guiding principle we have is that small, local businesses provide things that you won’t find somewhere else, like community and personalized service that points you toward products suited to the needs of you and your pets. We think businesses have an obligation to their customers and their local economy. We each have a role in a mutually beneficial relationship and by supporting each other we both win. And we take to heart our promise to give you the highest quality natural products we can find in a sustainable and responsible way.
Above all, we respect the special relationships people have with their pets. We consider it an honor to serve our customers, and believe that our store is one way to nurture the human-animal bond.
Don & Cyndi's Farewell
Five years ago we opened Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile. While we'd had experience in a variety of endeavors, this was a first in the retail industry. Our lack of knowledge was invigorating and intimidating. Thanks to you, our customers, the store was a great success.
Several years ago we were fortunate to meet and hire Amy Barker. Most of our current customers know Amy well, since she's pretty much been managing the place for the past year or so. She's a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and now, a retail store owner. Amy and her husband, Dan Pringle, have purchased the Prairie Dog from us. They are off to a fast start, and hopefully in the next month or so they'll have news about a relocation to a new, larger store space (very near the present one). If you visit the Prairie Dog, you'll see the same faces you're used to: Stacy, Jesse, Kim, Cathy, and even sometimes--still--Don or Cyndi. (Selling the store doesn't mean we're gone forever!) More likely, however, you might spot us around town with a grandchild or dog in tow. Please say hi!
We're proud of the store's success and the "Best of" awards, but we treasure most the people and animals we've met. Over the past five years more than 5,000 unique people visited our store, along with more than 1,000 dogs, cats, a camel, several wallaroos, macaws, a hedgehog, and more (including a curious moose). We've made countless new friends, discovered new things about others and ourselves, and had a great time.
Amy and Dan are looking forward to continuing the Prairie Dog tradition of great customer service, science-based nutrition information, training tips (and classes), and a broad selection of pet-related merchandise. In addition, they'll be adding their own enhancements to the business, putting their special touches on it.
We're excited for the opportunity they have, and we're deeply grateful for the loyal support and many kind words from our customers.
Don and Cyndi Cutler