When I was a child I wish there could have been a pet store like PetSmart to wander through with my dog and family members. When I walked in today to pick up some dog food I realized that there was some wonderful material for a post. I approached the Manager and asked if I could take some pictures and let him know that I was very interested in walking around the store and gaining some ideas. He cleared it with their Media contacts and I was off and running.
The first thing I always notice are owners with their dogs shopping together. I love the universal dynamics represented: young families, unique couples, seniors, and people on their own are all connected by their adoration of their pet. The dogs I witnessed today were a wonderful cross-section of humanity, too, representing terrific shapes, sizes, colours and personalities.
This store is truly a utopia with shelving which doubles my height and with products covering every possible pet need. I will be mentioning the dog ones I observed today as they cater to many other types of pets!
I cannot believe what is available compared to years ago when I was a child. My neighborhood pet store in the seventies was very dark inside and actually required an adjustment of one’s eyes! They had a smattering of fish tanks, some reptiles and birds and basic pet care supplies. I do not remember owners being encouraged to enter a store with the beloved family dog.
PetSmart is bright with high ceilings and industrial floors for both two and four-legged traffic. There are even stations for “clean up” which can happen when dogs are the nose to the ground or excited! The treat options are endless; there are many varieties of food tastes and consistencies for any size canine. Bones of every shape and taste are available to be taken home for savoring.
What I find interesting are the additional available products for the dog lover. For example, nail files for humans with their dog breed pictured on them, stationary that is breed specific, reusable shopping bags, and candles or key chains featuring some dog types.
While going up and down the aisles I found myself smiling seeing displays of dog life jackets, lint rollers, and tooth paste in various flavors like chicken and beef!
Another aisle resembled a pharmacy with vitamins, shampoos, and beauty care products. Brushes for a wide variety of fur types were on display too.
The next aisle had me nodding in agreement to the designation of essentials: bio degradable poop bags, pooper scoopers, and stain removal options. I even noticed products to assist your grass burns from “Rover.”
The dog clothing market has certainly grown in the last few years. Available are a multitude of choices for people who are into it. Super hero and cartoon t-shirts seem to be a new trend.
Personally, I love the collar and leash aisle. It is magnificent with colour and choice options to outfit your dog with some new “bling.”
The beds for sale remind me of the Princess and the Pea storyline, stacked incredibly high on top of each other. The dog dishes are unbelievable, too: stainless, ceramic, and plastic or on raised feeders.
Geriatric dogs are not forgotten or those recovering from surgeries. Stairs and ramps for those needing it are available as are safety belts and harnesses for keeping dogs seated in your car, safe and sound.
Crates are on display too for young pups, travelling dogs, or for reasons that require one.
The toys are a dog’s dreams come true; water, squeaky, soft, ruff and tuff, bouncing, and some in which food treats can be combined! I chatted to a couple that had a dog already but were getting a second dog next weekend. They were carefully deciding on a purchase for their first dog who has a tendency to be a chewer.
I spoke to a woman and her daughters as they looked at a harness to keep their small dog from being too enthusiastic in their car. A second woman was checking out the toothpaste flavors for her Greyhound needing some fresh breath.
The grooming area is always fun to view through the window. Dogs can be seen getting styled by trained staff and owners are around for drop-off or pick-up. I think that the dogs can sense their beauty treatments and prance around heading out the door like models on a catwalk!
I went over to the Adoption Centre to peak in the windows. Some sweet cats were on display. Since 1999 PetSmart has created and supported programs saving many lives of homeless pets in the U.S and Canada. They have a keen awareness of animal welfare on their website and have given $3 million to Animal Welfare agencies. 130,000 pet lives have been saved as a result. This store certainly is very successful financially but it is nice to know they support charities assisting animals in need. Additionally, I have seen countless times at PetSmart complete strangers bonding in conversation about a family pet or with the staff there. This is something you cannot put a value on.
I have observed nervous new dog owners getting reassurance, others having questions getting answered and the nodding of heads in agreement in discussions that were dog related. Today I witnessed a couple showing someone shopping there their dog via a video on their phone. It was clear to me the dog was no longer on this earth as one of the owners had to step away with tears as the other partner explained the situation as a soundtrack played to the video.
However, the one thing I’ve noticed in common from pet stores from the past and the present is that we love our dogs. They provide a connection with others, either at a pet store, park, or on the street. They, in turn, return their love to us in so many ways that keeps us returning to a local pet store to spoil them just a little bit more!
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