Dear Pet Shop Owner

Thank you.

I don’t know about you, but I had A LOT of pets growing up. Some were purchased from pet stores and others found, rescued or souvenirs. Like that time when my Dad thought bringing an Iguana home in his fanny pack on the airplane from his vacation in the Bahamas was a good idea. If you’re reading this Dad, I LOVED my Iguana Iggy to pieces. I mean that lizard was WAY greener than any other I’ve seen since!

Owning pets help us foster friendships, understanding and care for our fascinating creatures that live among us. You learn so much by observing animal behaviour!

Now that it’s been almost a year of being a crazy bird lady, I seek out anything to do with BIRDS! If you are going to be creating Taxidermy, studying live species to observe their anatomy, movement and personality is invaluable to you. With that being said, I went on the hunt for a pet shop to spend some time in.

I was faced with explaining to shop management and owners why I was in their store staring at their birds for sale. NO, I wasn’t waiting for one to drop over dead to Taxidermy! You can imagine the rejection and awkward conversations had. But there was one local pet shop owner who was kind and open-minded to let a Taxidermist hang out in their shop for the last year or so.

I would not be successful in Taxidermy without them providing their wisdom, experience and help along the way. I owe them so much gratitude.

What follows is an interview with them..

I was invited back to the owner’s office for the interview. I walked briskly down an unfamiliar corridor in what has become a familiar place to find him at his desk. He cheerfully invited me to sit down and I noticed a typewriter instead of a computer; a silent awe washed over me! He sits down behind his desk with his crisp plaid shirt and jogs papers in his hands which happen to have the interview questions I’d sent him earlier via email on them. Right away he starts reading the first question and answering. I quickly rip out a sheet of scratch paper(which happened to be my timesheet, whoops) and rifle through my bag for a pen. I find one then scribble to catch up.

1. Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Anaheim, Ca

2. How old are you? Just past 90 a couple of weeks ago (Unbelievable to me, he gets around the shop and is sharp as a tack as someone who’s just retired)

3. Do you have a family? Yes, a wife, 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren (Huge smile on his face)

4. Growing up did you have any birds as pets? No, I just had rabbits, dogs, and cats

5. When did you first develop an interest in birds? When I served in WWII (Navy) and was stationed in Australia. Birds were all around me. I found the birds there to be beautiful, easily tameable and that they made nice pets

6. Where did you learn how to breed birds? Trial and effort (error)

7. Do you remember the first time you were successful at breeding birds? Yes, I had success with Parakeets and sold them to Los Angeles bird companies

8. When did you decide to open your pet shop and why? In 1954. Well I was already breeding parakeets and selling them, so I decided to open up a shop

9. What were some challenges you faced along your journey to becoming a successful pet shop owner and how did you overcome them? I first tried selling other things such as breeding turtles, squirrels(13 striped), and fish tanks. They all failed before becoming successful with birds

10. What’s one of your favorite species of birds and why? The Parakeet or Budgie, because that’s what type of bird started my business. They also make nice pets and are very reasonable birds

11. What makes you happiest? Buying and selling birds

12. What advice can you give the blooming bird enthusiast? It’s a great hobby to have

You said there’s a story about the typewriter? Just Laughs. Ok, maybe next time! Thank you again from all of us out there whose lives have been touched with a dear feathered friend. I wish both you and your birds the best for many more years to come!