When Kristen Duhr and Matt Bowler met in 2009, both worked to improve the lives of pets. It was inevitable that their shared passion would lead them to a collaboration that would improve the lives of many animals.
For Duhr, this wasn’t a new idea. She has operated pet-centered companies, including a pet-sitting and dog-walking company and in-home pet care business since 2001.
Duhr enjoyed offering services from grooming to boarding to training. But the experience of a client surrendering a beloved pet due to the high cost of veterinary care shocked her.
That experience convinced Duhr to dedicate herself to making a difference for pets. In 2014, she founded Home 2 Home Canine Orphanage, which helped rehabilitate and rehome thousands of dogs from across the country, especially rural Missouri, where she lives. She continues to do rescue work while she partners with Bowler for a new endeavor: Cheap Pricks.
Cheap Pricks: Vaccinations and wellness care for every pet
Duhr and Bowler were both painfully aware of the difficulties involved with making sure pets are cared for when budgetary concerns are an issue. Both were adamant about finding a resource for pet owners who couldn’t afford the typically high costs of veterinary services.
With Cheap Pricks, their shared dream has come to fruition, and pet owners have access to affordable on-site pet wellness services, including vaccines and health care. But creating a business plan wasn’t easy. The partners had to decide what services to prioritize.
Breaking the cycle
Durh and Bowler founded Cheap Pricks with one mission: To break the heartbreaking cycle of owners surrendering beloved pets because they couldn’t afford regular veterinary care. The pair agreed to focus on vaccines and preventative care.
“We decided to put together clinics that only provided essential vaccines, so we could cut down on costs, which would help more pet owners have access to the care their pets require,” says Duhr.
She and Bowler decided that a tight focus on these services would be the best way to alleviate the burden of overpriced veterinary care on pet owners and give pets the best chance for a healthy future.
Alleviating the financial burdens of pet ownership
Cheap Pricks is making significant changes to the landscape of veterinary care by providing a new model by which the needs of pets and their owners can be the primary focus. Durh and Bowler adamantly believe that providing a lower-cost option for preventative care will allow pet owners to afford potentially life-threatening emergencies.
They also hope that their services will relieve overcrowding at local veterinary clinics. “Unfortunately, veterinary offices are at max capacity, and clients can often take weeks to make an appointment for something basic,” Bowler says. “If a pet owner can get on their vet’s schedule, they may often wait weeks, sometimes even months, for the most routine services such as vaccines.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic still unresolved, their timing couldn’t be any better. “During the pandemic, families found it a perfect opportunity to bring their first or even a second pet into their homes,” Bowler says.
But business closings and mass layoffs caused many people to struggle to pay the bills. That made pet care costs even more unaffordable.
Durh and Bowler think the pandemic shouldn’t be a barrier to welcoming a new furry family member. Instead, they want to give pet owners the services they need to provide a stable home. “We want pet owners to save their money, save their time, and keep their pets healthy by going to a wellness-only clinic,” Duhr says.
About Cheap Pricks
After working more than a decade in the pet care industry, Bowler and Duhr founded Cheap Pricks. The clinic will be the first of its kind to provide affordable and preventative care for dogs and cats. Cheap Pricks will open its first clinic in a St. Louis suburb in December.
Richard Thomas has been a freelance writer for animal and pet care for more than a decade. He also is a volunteer dedicated to animal rescue and welfare, working for different organizations. He lives with two adopted cats and a rescue dog.