Article published by The Winchester Star.

Posted: November 18, 2014

By VAL VAN METER

The Winchester Star

 

BERRYVILLE VA.— Lee Phillips and his wife, Irina, see a lot of dogs at their pet grooming business, The Doggie Wash, which they started in 2000 in Purcellville.

 

In the beginning, they stocked a number of supplements to help dogs and cats feel and look better.

 

The problem, Phillips said, was the products didn’t do what they said they would do.

 

The 69-year-old former aeronautical engineer, a disabled Vietnam veteran, decided, “I can do a lot better than what’s out there.”

 

So he began talking to people in the pet food industry to learn about nutrition and to find a formula that fulfilled his goal.

 

He wanted to be able to guarantee that pet owners would see an improvement in their pet, in body and attitude, within two weeks.

 

In 2005, he began Vibrant Pets, a supplement that the Clarke County resident believes is the most effective and least expensive pet supplement on the market.

 

The products — formulated for dogs, cats and horses — “boost the immune system,” Phillips explained.

 

The product is made in the United States and uses all “human grade” natural ingredients, although, he added, it’s not sold for human consumption.

 

There are no fillers, no sugars, no lactose, no corn and no wheat or soy, he said, and no urea, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or chemicals.

 

For canines, he uses five probiotics along with specific enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are added to help joints.

 

Phillips described his company as a “David fighting Goliath” in the marketplace. He runs it from a small building on his 10-acre farm off Russell Road.

 

As a small-business owner, Phillips said he doesn’t have a big advertising budget. Instead, he has designed the company’s website, vibrantpets.com, and invites pet owners to post their own experiences with the products. They talk about improvements in joint function in older dogs, brighter coats, improved quality of life and relief from allergies, among other health problems solved.

 

And that’s the idea, said Phillips. “We didn’t come into this with any preconceived ideas. We came into this to solve problems, not go after symptoms.”

 

Phillips is very interested in allergies, which, he said, aren’t diseases but rather a symptom of a depressed immune system.

 

Supporting and boosting a pet’s natural immunity system, helps it to fight off or repair health problems, he said.

 

The powdered formula is easy to feed, Phillips said, and costs anywhere from 43 cents to 57 cents per day, depending on the size of the animal.

 

The horse supplement costs $99.95 for 240 doses.

 

Phillips sells his products over the Internet as well as at The Doggie Wash.

 

Phillips, who has lived in Clarke County for 15 years, said his property is just right for his dog, a horse, chickens and a couple of cows.

 

“We have just enough animals to keep us busy,” said the man who grew up on a Minnesota farm.

 

The best part of his business, Phillips said, is the difference he believes it can make in the lives of dogs, cats and horses.

 

“I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. Every day, every week, I get testimonials on how my product has helped pets.”

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