As stated on my website, I have spent 12+ years in corporate Human Resources. Why did I decide to make a big change to open a Pet Boutique? Here's my story...
I have always been an animal lover. The first couple of times that my parents took me to the movie theatre didn't go so well. When Lassie got injured, I bawled so much that my mom had to take me out of the theatre. When Bambi's mother gets shot, she had to remove me again. As a teenager, when Mufasa dies in the Lion King, it took everything for me not to tear up in front of my friends. The strange thing is, I can watch action and war movies where people get shot or stabbed, and I am fine. An animal dies in a movie, and I get a huge lump in my throat. I am sure there are many of you who can relate.
I have had many pets throughout my life including budgies, a guinea pig, cats, fish, and dogs. My once in a lifetime pet is definitely my feisty little female Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Abbie. She has been my constant through relationships and moves. She has taken me through quite the journey in barns and open fields in the middle of nowhere, all the way to AAC Agility Nationals.
I still remember the first day I got her. She was flown in from New Brunswick at 8 weeks old. I called the Airline, and tracked her every step of the way. I don't think I got much work done that day. She was even tinier than I expected. I wrapped her up in a blanket and cuddled her for two days straight. Then she settled in, and I quickly realized I had quite a little bundle of energy on my hands.
When she turned 9 in September, people still asked me how old my puppy was at the dog park. On our annual hunting trip at the end of that month, my little 30 pound female flushed and retrieved more birds than the labs and pointers. (Yes, I am an animal lover who hunts. I know it doesn't seem to make sense. I will dedicate a whole other blog to that topic, I promise).
In October, I found a lump on her. Actually, her nephew Bullet was fussing over that area so much, he drew me to it. I took her into the vet right away as a precaution. The vet advised me to have it tested.
At the boarding gate in the Edmonton Airport, on my way to a business trip in Toronto, I got a call from my vet. It was not good news. She had mast cell cancer, grade 2. We had caught it early but she needed surgery. Despite my earlier story of bawling in movie theatres, I am not a crier. I cry maybe twice a year. Crying in public is not something that I ever do. I ugly cried in the middle of the Edmonton Airport. It took everything in me to focus on work, and get through the rest of my business trip, while my very loving spouse (Jason) and mother-in-law took care of Abbie. When I got home to her stitched up, bandaged up, and in a big cone, I fell to the floor hugging her in tears. Of course, she was more concerned about why I was crying than anything.
This was not the first surgery. There were three. We found more lumps that needed to be removed. I took the initial day or two off of work to take care of her, but then I had to return. We left her in an xpen so she was safe, and put a camera on her to monitor her from our iPhones throughout the day. Leaving her there, broke my heart. I just wanted to cuddle her, and take care of her.
I have always spoiled my pets, and focused on the best nutrition for them. With Abbie's cancer scare, I delved into things even further. I was advised from an Oncologist to put her on a carbohydrate and sugar free diet. Abbie loves the Honest Kitchen and Stella & Chewys products, which we will be carrying at Fox & Tux. I also put her on an Immune Booster supplement from Pet-Tek that we will be carrying.
My friend and fellow business owner, Anneli Hilton, of See Spot Run, referred me to Daphne McDonagh of Daphne's Healing Hands. I wasn't sure what to expect but the results spoke for themselves. Abbie's recovery was phenomenal. My vet was even floored at her progress. We will be carrying Daphne's healing jewellery, and we will hold some events where she can come to treat your furry family members. She is lovely inside and out!
This is a before and after photo of Abbie's major incision. It was very deep. The 'after' shot' to the left is only 7 days later. Amazing!
To step back a bit, being a natural Entrepreneur, Jason saw my passion for pets, and encouraged me to find a business that would allow me to pursue that. As Abbie was fighting her battle with cancer, I began working on my business plan to start my own pet boutique. I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with everyone else so I could help them ensure their pets live healthy active lives. I also wanted to be able to take Abbie and Bullet to work with me every day. Let's face it, being a stay at home dog mom is not really an option. ;)
Fast forward to today...Abbie had her annual vet appointment. Both of us were nervous. It brought back memories of what we've recently been through. My stomach flipped as I walked from my car to the office remembering dropping her off for her surgeries. This appointment was very different. Abbie is full of energy! She is back to her naughty self. Her lymph nodes look good. Her heart sounds strong. My girl is back to 100%! In fact, there was a vet in training who thought she was a puppy.
Thank you a million times to Dr. Kendra Doornenbal and all the staff at Yellowhead Veterinary Clinic for taking such good care of Abbie. Kendra was in constant contact with me and was always available for questions.
I am elbows deep in the start-up this new business, working on renovations, and lining up the best products I can find, and I am absolutely LOVING every moment of it. I just can't wait to meet all of you, hear your stories, and learn even more about the cats and dogs that are such huge parts of our lives.
I will announce our opening date soon.....