Pets have always been an important part of Michelle’s life, so when the opportunity came to take over ownership of her favourite pet store on the Westshore (Island Pet Source) in 2014, she jumped at it. After recovering from an injury and returning to her corporate career, she realized entrepreneurship was the way to pursue her true passion of helping animals. The store makes efforts to support to animal rescue organizations (and local charities), whether through fundraising events or food donations. Michelle has always felt a strong responsibility to use her platform within the community for good and give back however she can.
Genuinely improving the health and wellness of animals is at the heart of what all the staff at Island Pet Source strive to achieve every day. We meet so many caring people in our neighbourhood who want the very best for their pets, and it is this concept that speaks to Michelle’s business philosophy: success comes from the heart. With this mindset, and an amazing group of employees and a lot of hard work, we look forward to the future and embrace the changing trends in our growing community.
Q: In twelve years of grooming, what has become your favourite part of the job?
A: My favourite part about being a dog groomer is gaining a dog’s trust and helping them overcome a specific issue. Although it’s viewed by many owners as a ‘spa day’ for their dog, grooming can be quite a stressful, fearful, experience and I need to communicate to the dog that it’ll be OK. Being able to help a dog through the stress and build up trust is very special and makes my day that much better!
Q: What’s the most common thing you see or hear from grooming clients?
A: The most common thing I see is dog owners who don’t realize just how much work and maintenance is needed for their breed of dog, for example Shih Tzus or Poodles. Many owners also don’t realize the need for in-between maintenance (like brushing) at home.
Q: So it takes more than a haircut appointment every 6-8 weeks at the grooming shop?
A: Absolutely. It’s important to have the proper brushes and combs at home and use them in between grooming appointments to avoid matting. Mats are very uncomfortable for your dog and can affect the condition of their skin, coat, and overall health. We strongly encourage avoiding this situation before it starts, and if it does occur we recommend a professional remove the mats to avoid injury to your dog.
Q: What advice do you have for clients with puppies?
A: Start as young as you can to make grooming a positive experience! If your dog needs lifelong grooming (depending on the breed), brushing at home and handling puppy’s toes in the first weeks before the first actual grooming appointment is hugely beneficial. Positivity is key with puppies. They might squirm in protest but keep trying. It’s a new experience for them and an opportunity for you to work through it together.
With so many options to choose from, selecting the perfect food for your pup can be overwhelming. This month, we thought we would share our staff’s personal favourite dog food picks and what makes them some of our most popular products.
Michelle: “My greyhounds love Now! Large Breed Adult recipe from Petcurean because of its fresh ingredients and meal-free formula. The kibble pieces themselves are large and have ridges which help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth as they chew. This formula is made with a combination of duck, turkey and salmon which is nice for dogs with chicken sensitivities. Best of all, it is made right here in BC!”
Emma: “I choose Hurraw dehydrated raw food, which is a new pet food on the market. I like that it gives your dog the health benefits of a raw diet but is served conveniently like a dry kibble. It’s made in Quebec which is great for customers who prefer to support Canadian made brands. Hurraw offers 3 flavour choices: Fish, Pork and Turkey and all the recipes are grain-free. I was very impressed with its list of natural, quality ingredients and our canine customers love it!”
Brianne: “My staff pick is a line of tinned dog food – Dogs in the Kitchen from Weruva. My huskies love this as a topper on their meals and I’ve had many customers tell me it’s been a hit with their dogs too. We carry 6 different flavours which offer canine customers a good variety, and all of the recipes are grain-free.”
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, especially for a first time dog owner. New puppy owners enjoy shopping for the best food, treats and accessories. We recommend a food specific to puppies, to ensure proper nutrition for their growing bodies and calorie requirements. Nurturing the new addition will come easy, but puppies will benefit from having a knowledgeable and disciplined owner. “Start the way you mean to continue” from day one; if you don’t want your full-grown dog to sleep on your bed, don’t let your puppy sleep on the bed. Crate training is a good idea if you work outside the home, to avoid unwanted chewing or accidents in the house.
It’s important to start socializing your puppy once you both have settled in. You and your puppy need positive interactions. Aim for 100 new interactions (people, places, or things) in 100 days. Consider enrolling your puppy in an obedience and/or socialization class with an experienced trainer to introduce him/her to a wide range of new situations. You might even decide to meet up for play-dates outside of class! Regular exercise is another must since their youth and curiosity make puppies endless balls of energy. Finding a dog-friendly park or trail to explore with your puppy is a great idea, and luckily in Victoria, we have many to choose from!