This blog first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com on September 17, 2012.
Why shop at an Independent Pet Store?
by Skye Anderson, MS
(I have just returned from a working vacation – out of town for about a month, attending advanced canine massage courses in Ohio and dog camps in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire where I presented a canine massage class - but more about those topics later.)
Q: Why shop at an independent pet store?
Three independent pet product stores currently make their homes in the Columbia area: Dogs and Company near the main post office, Bark! near 32 and 108 (and other locations), and the new My Pet Store And More on route 40.
For a wonderfully stocked selection with a variety of mostly dog, but also cat, bird, horse, gerbil/hamster, and fish supplies (or special order what you need at a competitive price), try an independent pet store.
But more than that is the knowledge and experience of those who work in independent pet stores. They know pets and weren’t just hired last week.
1. Dogs and Company (formerly near Route 100) (www.dogsandcompany.com, “Catering to Canines”) has had the unique niche of being The Place To Go for the past 14 years for a self-service dog wash! How cool is that!
D & C specializes in premium and natural dog food (“Nutrition is the foundation of your pet’s health”) and carries a huge selection of raw and dehydrated food, as well as many excellent enrichment toys.
Dog rescues and meetings are regularly hosted. In addition, Terry Lewis, owner, recently opened the unique Canine Café and serves coffee, tea and hot cocoa to the human half of the team.
At Dogs and Company, you can even schedule an acupuncture appointment for your best friend!
2. Bark! (www.barknatural.com) for dogs, cats and small animals has recently expanded to 5 stores but the original Bark! is right here in Clarksville.
Bark! has a super selection of premium dog food (“Pawsitive Petfood”) and numerous stylish and ‘green’ collars, leashes, and enrichment toys. Bark! also hosts rescue and educational events weekly (I even presented a canine massage seminar there!) and has been a leader in the green community since 2005.
3. With 22 years in the pet supply business, Chris Houck, of the newly opened My Pet Store And More (mypetstoreandmore.com) on Route 40 is a wealth of information on products and food for dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, gerbils/hamsters – you name it! My Pet Store And More also hosts rescue events and other animal-related drop-in functions like the future Ask-The-Trainer and Canine First Aid sessions.
If they don’t have it, Chris can get it for you!
He is perhaps the most knowledgeable pet supply person I have ever met! Stop by My Pet Store And More and try to stump him sometime!
Q: What does an independent pet supply store have that your average pet store or superstore doesn’t? Knowledge, built up over years of experience. And premium pet food, unique and green items - well worth the trip to become a regular!
So, what good is an independent pet supply store? A darn good product selection and great deals (without selling pets themselves), high-quality items, educational events and fun dog rescue days.