The K9 Shop, a local phenomenon in the raw pet food movement, is building a veritable university on Long Island, where the customers get an education and the professors are always learning. They’ve even added in-house biologists and pet nutritionists.
And the campus is expanding.
And in March, The K9 Shop — where Real Dogs Eat Raw —will open its first K9 Shop Wellness Center at 1073 N. Broadway in Massapequa.
As for the Manorville store, it opened in the King Kullen shopping center on Route 111 on Feb. 3.
“We’re just happy to be a part of it,” said Anthony Speciale, 34, who along with his wife, Monica, 31, are the latest dog-loving franchisees to open a K9 Shop. “It’s not just a job. It’s not just about making money. It’s about helping the dogs and cats, because they can’t speak for themselves. We just got to be their voice. That’s it.”
(Scroll down for additional Manorville details and hours.)
How Manorville happened
Anthony is from Italy. He never grew up with dogs living in the house, and was fighting his wife on adopting one about three years ago.
Spoiler alert: He lost.
Then he fell in love with their 6-month-old German shepherd rescue pup. The dog had some issues, and he and Monica wanted to do everything they could to help. Their trainer recommended The K9 Shop, where “Real Dogs Eat Raw,” whose nearest location at the time was in Bohemia.
The Mastic couple has never looked back, becoming regulars and always getting an education on what raw meals to feed their dogs, and how and when, and how much.
Now they have two wonderfully healthy dogs. Mika, the shepherd, and Mac, a little mixed rescue.
And they’re about to embark on a business venture to help more dogs on Long Island.
All about raw
Feeding dogs kibble has been a trend that’s lasted a century.
Because it’s all too easy. Open the bag and pour.
“It was created as a convenience, just like McDonald’s was created for us,” said Robert Tucker, who co-founded The K9 Shop with his wife, Anya. “People wanted something quick that they could dump in the bowl and get going. The difference is, we’re well aware McDonald’s isn’t good for us.”
(And we would never eat it every day!)
But it’s hard for people to understand anything different, the couple says, because for generations they’ve grown up with their friends and families giving dogs kibble.
“Anything that we [as humans] do to their food, by cooking it, adding coloring, fillers, and preservatives, what we’re doing is killing the food itself, and it ends up having no nutritional value, because of the high processing,” Anya says. “That’s why these big dog food companies have to then spray on all these flavors, vitamins and coloring to make the kibble more palatable.”
A top priority for all K9 Shop employees is education, not only about the dangers and dark secrets of big, corporate pet food, but the real benefits of raw and natural food and supplements.
“The key is educating,” Anya says. “That is why all of the dogs and cats do so well on this food. Some might need extra supplements, some diets need to be tweaked, especially for things like kidney disease, EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) or diabetes. We just educate people so well.”
“We believe that everything is healed from the inside out, and it starts with what they eat.
What’s in store
Anya says “trust” has fueled the success of The K9 Shop.
That, and customers who become friends. Those believers talk, and word of mouth has been tremendous for the company, which started in Massapequa and opened an East Northport franchise location in 2023, partnering with another devoted customer. There are also locations in Lynbrook and Greenville, S.C.
Offerings include complete and balanced meals, bones, fish, farm eggs, whole prey and DIY raw chunks — with food also coming in from local farms. That includes duck necks, turkey necks, rabbit parts, and chicken feet, to name just a few.
“This is as Mother Nature intended it,” Anya often says.
So what builds the trust?
“People can see the results in their dogs’ health, coat, behavior,” Anya said. “They see the dogs’ changes … yeast problems, ear problems, hot spots, gone. Their teeth are cleaner…
“It’s all about feeding them what they’re meant to eat,” she continued. “Dogs were meant to be ripping and tearing. It’s human-grade food, the only difference is it has bone and organs in it, which is where they get most of their vitamins and minerals.”
“Our customers learn to trust us,” Anya added. “They tell us if it’s in our store, they don’t even need to read the labels.”
And like those working in the medical fields, new studies and breakthroughs are always coming through and the owners, staffers and franchisees have to be up on everything, always.
Now, with their own scientists in-house, The K9 Shop hopes to lead some of those discoveries itself.
Back to Manorville
Anthony and Monica have studied the field for about eight months, not to mention the education they received during their numerous visits to Bohemia in the months that preceded their franchise agreement.
What drew the couple to the Tuckers was their eagerness to learn.
“That’s a key attribute that we’re looking for,” Robert said. “That hunger to learn, that hunger to succeed in this mission. You have to have that drive to be the best. They have the drive we’re looking for, because this is a learning process and we are always evolving.”
Then Anthony added, “We are fully committed to this.”
If you go
The new K9 Shop opened on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 11 a.m. The hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p .m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The address is 460 County Rd. 111, Manorville, NY, 11949. Click here for local delivery. Call 631-909-3930 or email email@example.com to get in touch. Check back for updates on The K9 Shop Wellness Center opening in March in Massapequa.
Anthony and Monica Speciale at The K9 Shop in Bohemia this week. (Michael White)