When Tom Arrix’s beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper, was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, he knew he had to do something drastic.
Treatments for Cooper at Stamford’s Cornell Veterinary Specialists and extensive research on Arrix’s part eventually led him to Dr. Kendra Pope, a veterinary integrative oncologist in Red Bank, New Jersey, who helped Arrix understand the importance of nutrition and the healing powers that healthy food can bring. Always on top of his own proper health and nutrition goals, Dr. Pope taught him, he said, to feed his dogs how he would feed himself. The Darien father of four and former vice president of global marketing at Facebook was immediately inspired. In 2018 he officially launched a new business, Joy Food, a human-grade fresh dog food brand that is so delicious and healthy, he said he even eats it himself.
“It’s a little bland for humans, but this is the healthiest food you—or anyone—can consume,” Arrix explained while giving us a tour of his immaculate manufacturing facility and office space in SoNo. “I know where every single ingredient comes from and it’s the best quality you can get.”
Now branded as Get Joy, fresh dog foods are made with meats (beef, chicken, turkey and now lamb) not ridden with antibiotics, steroids or growth hormones and combined with high vitamin veggies like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. They also add in brown rice and nutrient boosters like turmeric, fish oil and flax seeds for omega-3s, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for immune health and proper digestion.
Before landing the space in SoNo, Arrix was literally making the meals out of his own home kitchen in Darien. The new space, which Arrix recently took over from Barteca Restaurant Group, allows for much more business growth and houses a large commercial kitchen where recipes are mixed, cooked, stored and packed for shipping. Food is prepared in batches twice a week and sent to customers frozen in portioned packs. For locals in Fairfield County, food is delivered weekly in reusable insulated totes.
With a large warehouse space ready for new product launches, Arrix has already expanded Get Joy’s product base to include freeze dried treats and antler and bully chews. His newest launch is freeze-dried food, which Arrix created to be just as nutritious as the fresh food but offers the ease and convivence of shelf stability.
“We gave a lot of thought to how people live and realize that those living in more urban environments may not have the large amount of freezer space that people out here are more likely to have,” Arrix explained. The fresh freeze-dried food is made with grass fed beef and can be stored just as you would kibble, he says, but without the lugging of heavy bags and much better nutrition packed into each bag.
All foods and treats can be ordered online at getjoyfood.com. Fresh food prices vary depending on the weight of your pup, but everything can be ordered at a lower price with a subscription. Moving through summer, Get Joy is available at Cisco Brewers on Nantucket so you can bring your dog to the brewery for some “brews and chews.” Also, Arrix is working with Mike’s Organic in Stamford and selling select products at the shop and online at mikesorganicdelivery.com.
As for Cooper, he did eventually lose his cancer battle and passed on. But Arrix credits his dog’s switch to healthy eating as a reason why and how they managed to get 20 more months of happy living out of him.
“This food helped Cooper live as well as he could to the end,” he explains. “He provided us years of unconditional love and I feel like with the help of this food, we gave that to him too.”
Looking ahead, Arrix says he plans to expand the Get Joy business beyond pet food and hopes to launch products that fit into humans’ everyday healthy lifestyle.