Do you worry about what’s in your dog’s food? Would you like to take a more holistic approach to your pet’s care, but have trouble finding the right products for your pet’s needs? Do you wish there was a place you could shop that really cared about you and your pet? One that could provide education and information about nutrition and natural supplements to pet owners, as well as provide high quality pet food for your pets.
Victoria Park, owner of Park Pet Supply was once faced with these same issues. Since 1999, she has worked to not only educate East Atlanta pet owners about products that can help enhance their pet’s lives, but also to give back to the community through assisting pet rescues in the local area.
During our recent interview, Victoria explained how she came to own Park Pet Supply and talked about a couple of the pet rescues she works with.
Your store believes in taking a holistic approach to pet care. Was there an event that inspired you to open a store dedicated to this?
Yes, I had a dog named Harley who had chronic skin infections, ear infections and poor health. At the time (early 1990’s), I bought dog food from the grocery store. I spent thousands of dollars at the vet and Harley was on steroids, antibiotics and medicated shampoos.
The problem was that Harley never seemed to get any better. Since the subject of nutrition was never addressed, I started doing my own research on pet nutrition. I learned that my dog was allergic to corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives. All things that are found in cheap pet foods and pet treats.
Once I switched my dog to a better diet, he magically got better.
At the time (this was the mid-90s), there were very few pet stores in Atlanta that carried high quality pet foods, treats, and supplements. When I decided that I was going to actually open my own pet store, I knew this was the kind of shop I wanted to open.
What is your favorite part of owning a pet store?
Although, there are many challenges to owning my own business, I do like creating an environment that is fun and educational at the same time. We have such a great team working here and we have the best customers. I like seeing friends at work every day and enjoy all the happy pets who come to visit us. It is also always a pleasure to meet puppies that come in for the first time and assist their owners with their needs.
How did you get involved in pet rescue?
When we first opened, there were stray animals everywhere! We would prop the door open on a nice day and dogs would just wander into the store. It was overwhelming.
A small group of us decided to do something and we started a rescue group called East Atlanta Animal Resource (EAAR). We would pick up the homeless pets off of the street, get them medical care, find a foster home and then adopt them out to wonderful forever homes. It was really a community effort, in that neighbors would help with fostering, adopting, donations, etc.
It was a lot of work, but I feel that we made a huge difference. Although I say I am now “retired” from doing my own rescue work, I am happy to support local rescue folks who are doing the hard work, such as W-Underdogs, Southern Animal Rescue, Paws, AARF and others by providing them with donations and pet food.
You sometimes have foster cats in your store for adoption. Do you work with cat rescues as well?
Yes, we foster a cat for Southern Animal Rescue in the store until he or she finds a forever home. We normally foster older cats that may get overlooked on the internet and they become very social here with all of the human interaction. Our customers love seeing a kitty when they come in to shop and we love helping these kitties find the best home.
Is there a particular rescue you work with that you would like mentioned?
W-Underdogs! Grace Hamlin has assembled a great group of teenagers in her community and they are learning to be good citizens by helping animals.
The kids help Grace distribute donated pet food to needy families with pets. They also operate a foster/adoption program for unwanted pets. In addition, they collect dog houses and hay, which are distributed around the area for dogs that are outdoors during the extremely cold season in Atlanta.
Grace has even teamed up with Victoria Stillwell and our first City of Atlanta Cruelty officer, Amy Soeldner, to help get the word out about the homeless pet crisis in the city of Atlanta, especially the West side of the city, in impoverished neighborhoods.
Any memorable pets you have helped get adopted?
There have been so many, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I would say, in the neighborhood of 450, the last time I counted. Every one of those animals was so special to me and so deserving of a happy life. So many of those dogs came from horror story situations and I’m just so blessed to have been able to help them transition into loving homes.
Anything else you would like to say about your store or the pet rescue(s) you work with?
Since I no longer directly rescue animals, I support groups such as W-Underdogs, Paws, Southern Animal Rescue and others instead. I am able to support rescue efforts in my community because of our wonderful customers that shop with us, instead of on-line.
More About Park Pet Supply
- They carry natural pet foods, treats, raw diets, collars, leashes, toys and everything you need for a healthy, happy pet.
- They have a huge parking lot behind the store.
- They are open 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday and Sunday 11-6pm.
- They have a self-service dog wash with 3 raised, separate tubs, for $15.00 per dog.
Peachtree Pet is proud of our association with Park Pet Supply. If you are looking for Couch Guard in the Atlanta area, stop by and see Victoria and she’ll guide you to the right shelf.