Everything changed for Kris Fuentes when Allie, her pet lab, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After months of trying expensive, veterinarian-recommended foods only to have Allie still have problems keeping food down, Kris and her husband Justin decided to take matters into their own hands.
Relying on their knowledge gained from full-time restaurant and nutrition jobs, Kris and Justin began cultivating new recipes that gave Allie the nutrition and value that other brands lacked. Using real foods like chicken breast or steak, sweet potatoes and green beans, they found a blend that Allie could enjoy. Not only that, Allie stopped losing weight, gained energy back and her skin problems and scratching disappeared. While Allie was 12 years old and definitely a senior dog when she was diagnosed with cancer, she lived three more high-quality years, catching frisbees up until the very end.
That experience was a decade ago. But those recipes were the beginnings of Paws Up Pet Food in Greenville, South Carolina.
Kris and Justin love partnering with Market Wagon to bring their tasty meals and dog treats to a large region of the Carolinas, without having to spend days making deliveries themselves like they once did. All it takes is a simple weekly drop-off at each of their three current Market Wagon locations—Upstate SC, Midlands SC and Charlotte—and that’s it!
Kris’s culinary school training and Justin’s longtime background in hospital food service provided the nutritional background to take the pet food and treat industry to the next level. They also worked with a registered dog dietitian so that Paws Up recipes would not just please the pickiest of pets but also be healthy “real food” too.
Kris and her dog dietitian created formulas using real boneless skinless chicken breast or top round steak, trimmed of excess fat to ensure maximized leanness, and beneficial herbs within their products. All of Paws Up Pet Food’s recipes meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.
While Paws Up began in 2012, Kris quit her other job to concentrate on the business in 2014. When Justin lost his job in the pandemic, he also started working fulltime at Paws Up.
Since joining Market Wagon in April, Paws Up has built a loyal customer base of like-minded dog lovers who care about the ingredients in their pet’s food. Kris and Justin continue to see a steady increase in weekly orders thanks to Market Wagon.
“Market Wagon has helped give stability to Paws Up Pet Food and it has allowed us to develop holiday meals because now we have devoted, loyal customers,” Kris says thankfully. And with the fall season underway, Paws Up Pet Food is ready to celebrate with its fall offerings.
Throughout the year, Kris and Justin offer a variety of specialty dog treats, for example a ginger calming cookie, a decadent turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese and peanut butter twist and pumpkin biscotti bites. Right now they have a special Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner for Dogs offering for people who want to pamper their furry friends with a special meal that doesn’t have all the salt, sugar and fat which comes with a traditional Thanksgiving feast.