Look No Further Than Miss Kibbles
Story and Photos by Christine Craddock
What kind of person decides to open a retail store during a pandemic? Well, someone like Claudia Montoya. Highly driven, knowledgeable, passionate, and compassionate, Montoya has a heart for animals and humans, and she’s determined to make her mark on the world by helping pets live longer, healthier lives no matter what the economic climate.
Originally from Peru, Montoya moved to the United States in 2005 to pursue a graduate degree. She worked in the financial services industry as a licensed broker during the 2008 recession so it’s possible that experience helped her prepare for opening Miss Kibbles during a rough, to put it mildly, time for retail. Miss Kibbles, her natural pet supply store in Bristow, has weathered the Covid pandemic with grace and success. And now, after other pet stores’ unfortunate closures and a demand for better and healthier alternatives for four-legged family members, she is planning a second Miss Kibbles location in Gainesville.
In her “spare” time, (not that there’s much of it), Montoya is a proud hockey mom and “stunt” teacher who spends lots of time helping her son with virtual learning. She also enjoys playing with her dog, reading any book or magazine related to pet health, and working her way through the 500 study hours required for the clinical pet nutritionist accreditation she’s on her way to receiving from the Academy of Natural Health Sciences.
But if you really want to know who she is, her words say it best.
Who Is Miss Kibbles?
Miss Kibbles is a family-owned, minority-owned, women-owned and operated business. I handle the front of the house; my mom and sister handle the logistics behind the scenes. Our mission is to raise pet health awareness to all dog and cat lovers in our local community. Miss Kibbles also happens to be my German Shepherd’s stage name; her real name is Chicca.
What drives you?
I want my dog to live a long and healthy life. When I first got her, I knew nothing about pet food. The more I researched the top pet food manufacturers, their recall history, the ways they source ingredients, and their deceptive marketing gimmicks, the more outraged I became and the more it ignited my passion to feed Chicca better.
Give us the back story.
Like most people, at first I fed Chicca dry kibble even though my feeder strongly encouraged me to look into raw feeding. After carefully researching the pros and cons and common misconceptions, I decided to move forward and slowly transition over the course of six months. The reason for this long transition was, in all honesty, due to time, a busy schedule, commitment, and budget. But once I started seeing the changes in Chicca’s energy, coat, weight, teeth, even her excitement to eat, there was no looking back. She was so much healthier. It made me an advocate for feeding fresh and balanced meals to pets.
What does that mean, “fresh and balanced meals”?
It means meals that range from plain raw to frozen gently cooked options to wholesome freeze dried alternatives. And you don’t have to adjust your pet’s meals immediately. Even if you can’t switch one hundred percent right now, a little fresh can go a long way.
Why are these components important?
Cancer is on the rise not only among people, but also pets. Studies show that one in two dogs will develop cancer by the age of six. Which raises the question: what are we putting into their bodies? The answers range from questionable ingredients in pet foods and treats, to over vaccination or simply side effects and adverse reactions to medications. Going beyond cancer, we can add diabetes, leaky gut, obesity, periodontal disease, yeast infections, even mast cell tumors into this mix as they too are on the rise. Miss Kibbles can help address a pet’s nutrition and prevent those disease markers.
“Be proactive in your pets’ health or be prepared to spend lots of money on veterinarian bills when it’s too late.”
-Claudia Montoya, owner, Miss Kibbles
What’s the challenge?
Pet parents often lack knowledge about the importance of nutrition, but this is why Miss Kibbles is here to help. Despite the fact we haven’t been open for long, we are already making a difference in many pets’ lives. Our success stories speak by themselves and our customer base is growing by word of mouth referrals. There are cases, like Lola, who was going to be put down the morning her mom called me desperately for help. We addressed her nutrition and put her on CBD oil to alleviate her seizures. Lola is now thriving with mom’s home cooking in addition to a premium kibble brand meant for senior dogs which has chelated minerals, turmeric which helps with joint inflammation, and coconut oil for cognitive support. We also added healthy, freeze dried (bone, meat, and organ) elements to her diet and gently cooked meals to boost her immune system.
Talk to me about conventional and holistic veterinary medicine.
With Chicca, I’ve taken an integrative approach, using both a conventional veterinarian and a holistic veterinarian. My conventional vet understands and respects my choices; when we encountered a situation where treatment was advised, the practice referred me to a holistic vet and she’s my specialist when it comes to treatment. I also believe in acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathic remedies for healing.
Miss Kibbles / 10390 Bristow Center Drive, Bristow / 571- 379-7832 / misskibbles.com / Facebook @misskibbles / Now partnered with Dr. Jung of Animal Healing in Middleburg and offering chiropractic care once a month at its Bristow location.