Now, I LOVE beauty, I really do, but I was reminiscing today about when I went to LA with my best friend, and stayed in West Hollywood. While we were there we came across the cutest little pet supply store… with a huge difference. This is what I want in life!
Let me introduce you to Bark N’ Bitches (is that not THE best name for a shop?!). They left a long lasting impression on my life!
Bark N’ Bitches is LA’s first HUMANE pet store and pet boutique. What does ‘humane pet store’ really mean? It means is they aren’t stocking puppies from breeders or puppy mills. Infact, they might not even have any puppies in for you to adopt! Bark N’ Bitches adopt dogs from shelters around LA, and most of these shelters are high kill shelters, so by Bark N’ Bitches adopting these dogs they are saving their life and giving them a second chance to find an amazing home.
To adopt from Bark N’ Bitches you’re looking at a fee of $350 to $595 depending on the dog, and an additional $175 in pet supplies from the boutique. Why? The $350-$595 will pretty much just cover the fee they had to pay to adopt the dog from the kill shelter in the first place, as well as the vaccinations, flee treatment, worming, food and general doggy needs! Because so much money goes into the dogs before they are even adopted by you, the shop survives on the boutique side of the store to stay afloat, so the additional $175 they require is to support the business and what they do – and with them selling everything from beds to bones, it’s not like you wont use any of the things you buy for your new addition!
The boutique side of the store is super cute! They sell EVERYTHING you could possibly need! They have collars, leads, toys, bags, beds, food, organic dog treats, clothing (human and canine), and SO much more.
Let me talk you through what it is like to visit the store. My friend Megan and I are both completely dog mad, so when we walked past a little pet supply store we both naturally peered through the window to be nosy… but we saw dogs actually walking around the store, and not just a few, loads! We were so excited by this we had to go in! When you enter the store there is a sign saying to close the door behind you, and then directly infront of you there is a child safety gate to go through before you’re really in the shop. From there you’re in doggy heaven. There is merchandise on tables and on the walls, but on the floor you will find dogs of all shapes and sizes roaming around freely amongst each other, bowls dotted around with food or water for them to have whenever they need, and comfy looking dog beds for them to have a nap! In the middle of the floor there was a little puppy pen – puppies included!
I absolutely loved this vibe, the dogs free to roam and free for you to see how well socialised they are, and the puppies in a pen in the middle of the room so they can see how the other dogs act and learn from them, so once they are old enough to be out and about they will already know how to behave around other dogs and be well socialised!
Upon talking to the store owner we learned that in the back of the shop there is a kennel room, so over night the dogs are all put into their kennel to sleep safely over night, and then let out again the next morning. The shop doesn’t open until 12pm, giving them time to feed and walk all the dogs before the day ahead, and then the shop assistants will take the dogs out for walks, a few at a time, during the day and before they go to bed.
We expressed out interest in helping to walk the dogs for her the next day – and she was totally happy for us to do so! Understandably, she needed some sort of valuable to keep while we were out with the dogs, so we didn’t run off with them! We both left our passports with her, walked the doggies for an hour, and then returned them safe and sound… and got our passports back!
According to America Humane, 56% of dogs and 71% of cats that enter a shelter in the USA, are euthanised. This is due to space, the time limit the shelter sets, injury, aggression or sickness. Over half of the amount of homeless dogs picked up, killed. A staggering amount of cats, killed. It is SUCH a terrible shame. According to America Humane, the reason more cats end up being euthanised is because they are less likely to be microchipped back to an owner, therefore their owners, if they have one, are completely untraceable and the only option is adoption… if anybody wants them.
Even in the UK, where a lot of shelters advertise a ‘no kill’ policy, 6% of dogs are still being put down every single year. That percentage is collective of all local authorities and doesn’t include places like Dog’s Trust, the RSPCA or Battersea who also put dogs down when they have to… and even without their figure it still amounts to around 20 dogs per day.
Since finding this little place I can safely say I’ve thought about it almost every day since… it’s been nearly 5 years! I absolutely fell in love with a pit bull while we were in the store, I was amazed by how gentle and loving he was, and just SO gentle with all the small dogs and puppies!
One day, I would love to bring this concept to Leeds. A place where you can go in and see the animals all interacting with each other and get up close and personal for a play or a cuddle. When you go to rescue centre in the UK its difficult to really see what the dog is like when its sat behind a glass window or a caged door looking out at you. Maybe the reason nobody has done this in the UK yet (that I’m aware of ) if because we have different health and safety laws? I’m not too sure… but this is my dream! And then eventually… I really want to do a grooming course, and own somewhere that is half a boarding kennels and half a dog rehoming centre. I mean, who wouldn’t like to take their doggy to a boarding kennels, pick it up all clean, groomed and with a nice hair cut – knowing that your boarding fee also went towards looking after dogs that need a home?
So, clearly I love animals! What would you like to do? If you could quit your job today, and money was no object to starting up your own business – what would you do? Please let me know in the comments!
Love, Chelsea xxx