Love for animals becomes a full-time cottage industry for Meeker woman

Meeker resident Amy Budd has spent the last 15 years creating and selling nutritious pet food products for dogs and cats from her home. Niki Turner Photo

MEEKER | Amy Budd loves animals. She loves them so much she has devoted the last 15 years of her life to creating nutritious pet food she mixes and packages in her Meeker home and sells wholesale to retailers and online to individual consumers.
She gets USDA quality proteins from a company in Greeley, Colo., and dehydrated, organic, non-GMO vegetables from a company in Wisconsin that also provides vegetables to two chefs in New York. In her garage, she creates veggie blends and packages them for shipping.
“It’s all human food,” she said.
The meat is served raw because the live enzymes in the meat trigger the animal’s digestive process.
“If you look in a cat’s mouth or a dog’s mouth, they have canine teeth for tearing meat. Cats, especially, are carnivores,” she said.
A Meeker transplant (she’s originally from Wyoming) Budd said she can’t count the number of animals she has adopted, fostered or re-homed during her lifetime. After graduating from college in Wyoming with a degree in animal sciences, Budd went to work in a veterinarian’s office.
“It was a good thing,” she said. After a year she realized she didn’t want to be a vet. But she couldn’t get away from animals.
Among other things, including a successful stint as a Mary Kay cosmetics consultant, she started teaching horseback riding lessons. One year she decided to bake homemade “horse cookies” for her horse clients. Their response was so favorable she added dog cookies to her menu and began selling them, and researching and learning more about animal nutrition and raw food pet diets.
Budd describes herself as “a square peg in a round hole,” saying she enjoys learning new things and reinventing herself and her business.
Despite some bumps in the road, in 2016 her company, the Big Bear Pet Company, made a prestigious list on truthaboutpetfood.com. The site, created by pet food advocate Susan Thixton, provides an annual list of pet food providers considered safe and healthy. Budd made the 2017 list, too, and business has blossomed.
Her products are available online at www.bigbearpet.com