When Amber Corduan’s 7-year-old whippet, Mischa the Roo, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Corduan went to her vet to talk about taking a different treatment approach than chemotherapy. Her vet told her holistic treatment would be a waste of her time and that it would kill Mischa.
Nevertheless, Corduan used a holistic treatment with Mischa, looking at her dog’s body, mind and emotional state to get to the root of Mischa’s illness and cure it “for good.” One year later, Misha was in remission and lived until he was 14 years old.
“If a dog has a tumor, traditionally, the tumor is cut out,” Corduan said. “Holistically, we ask, ‘What caused the tumor? Why was it there in the first place? If we cut it out, will it come back again and why?’
“Then, we attempt to find the cause of the tumor and try to solve the problem so that the tumor will not return. Depending on what kind of tumor it is, we might even be able to boost the immune system of the dog so that the dog's own body can destroy the tumor and there is no need to cut it out.”
Corduan and her wife, Hailey Perkins, a 2013 Ball State graduate, opened Roo’s Holistic Pet Supplies in 2018 after their experience with Mischa. It was the first time Corduan had thought about what she was feeding her dogs and how it affected their health.
Even something as simple as the kind of food a pet eats can cause a multitude of problems, Perkins said. She said switching a pet’s food can help them be less hyperactive, not stink and be happier in general. Now, Corduan and Perkins offer family-owned food brands with natural, holistic ingredients at their store.
“We want to make pets happier and healthier members of your family,” Perkins said. “What’s the point of having a dog if you don’t want to pet your animal, you don’t want to look at your animal and you don’t want to smell your animal?”
Corduan said she found her love of animals when she grew up on her family farm where there were always dogs and cats around. After graduating from Taylor University in 2002, she started working for PineAcre Kennels, a pet boarding service in Muncie.
At PineAcre Kennels, Corduan said, she became friends with the owners, Phil and Jane Gray. When they retired, she bought the kennel from them. Later, Perkins met Corduan when she began working part-time at PineAcre Kennels.
“We became friends and enjoyed learning how to holistically care for animals together,” Corduan said. “While we love caring for animals, our passion developed more into how to help pets and their owners.”
Corduan and Perkins enjoyed helping customers at their kennel, but they realized they needed more space to carry more food and other products. Perkins said she picked a name for their store, found a location at an old Chase Bank and signed the lease.
“It all happened very quickly,” Perkins said. “I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person.”
When beginning their new business, Perkins said, their only challenge was getting the funds in order to make the move and start Roo’s Pet Supplies because they already had experience working with pets and their owners at PineAcre Kennels.
“The most challenging part of owning a business, especially a pet-related business, is dealing with the customers,” Corduan said. “Pet owners are very picky about how their pets are cared for. It takes a lot of work to earn their trust, but the most rewarding part is successfully taking care of the pets and helping to educate their owners on how to better care for them at home.”
At Roo’s Holistic Pet Supplies, Corduan and Perkins also offer nutritional consultations where they talk with their customers about their pets’ nutritional, skin, behavioral, health and other issues to see how their store’s supplies can help.
“We opened Roo’s to be able to serve a bigger market of pet owners,” Corduan said. “The store has taken off, and we are very excited to watch it grow so we can help as many pets and their owners as possible.”
In the future, Perkins said, she wants to build trusting relationships with veterinarians in the Muncie area. She wants veterinarians to know Perkins and Corduan’s supply store isn’t there to steal their business. Instead, she wants to work with them and be able to fix pets’ problems together.
“We’re going to stay here,” Perkins said. “When our customers walk in, we know them by name, and we know what they get, and they like that. We may get bigger or busier, but we don’t plan on changing the interaction with our customers.”