By Charlene Dean
After having been closed for several months this year, the animal supply store, formerly Animal House, has reopened as Jamie’s Animal House.
The store, located at 1850 E. Lockspur, is under new ownership, has been renovated and rearranged, and has added new products and improved services.
Co-owner Jamie Shewalter, has partnered with Cathy Reynolds, a former police officer from Kentucky and between the two, the building and business have been rejuvenated.
The walls have a fresh coat of bright color, shelves and supplies are organized in cubicles and the owners have made room for a new line of aquariums, fresh and saltwater fish and reptiles.
Reynolds said, “We wanted to change a few things and the addition of aquariums was one of them.” She said the store cannot compete with Walmart on small tanks and goldfish, “but on the larger pieces of equipment and specialized fish, we can.”
She said negotiations are underway to have the new Animal Planet show “Tanked” film an installation in the store. “The show deals with the business of aquariums. If we can get them out here to set this up, we can carry their line of products.” The show is based in Las Vegas and premiered Aug. 19.
Plans are in place for stocking reptiles as pets. Although they don’t plan to carry snakes, Reynolds said, “We can certainly order them.” She said the store is more interested in handling small lizards like bearded dragons, geckos and iguanas.
Reynolds has recently discovered an “uncanny ability to handle birds,” and is interested in adding small, easily tamable parakeets and canaries to the expanding line of pets. She said those types of birds aren’t difficult to manage. Larger breeds are a different matter.
“If someone is interested in a larger breed like a Macaw, we need to get them as babies and we will have to go to California to get them,” said Reynolds. She said all birds sold in the store will be hand-picked by herself and Shewalter. “We want to be sure they are healthy.”
The kennels, formerly along the back wall inside the store, have been relocated outside and the plan is to use that space to construct a turtle habitat.
Reynolds said, “We wanted to do something to help educate the community.” She said the project will have kids ages 6 to 14 in mind. “There are a lot of home schooled children here. Jamie and I thought it would be great if we could set up a science day to allow kids and parents to come in and learn about nature.”
She said she’d like to have the experience count toward grades for the home schooled children, but wants to extend the program to the school district as well. “I haven’t contacted them to see how to do that,” Reynolds said, “but I have a bachelor’s degree and can teach as well.”
The store is adding new lines of pet food from Blue Buffalo and Earthborn. Both are holistic and contain no additives. The owners are also working to get hay back in stock.
The upgrades have not affected the always in-stock items like leashes, beds, pet food bowls, toys, and pet medical supplies.
Reynolds said Jamie’s Animal House also boards cats and dogs and will even care for animals with health issues while its “parents” are out-of-town.
The store offers grooming and styling. Reynolds said, “Our groomer can do it all — everything from simple shaves to formal poodle and Pomeranian cuts.” The store also offers free nail clipping.
“People need to keep a dog’s nails clipped,” Reynolds said. “When the nails get overgrown it can cause joint damage and even cripple them.”
Jamie’s Animal House has not changed the pet adoption policy. Reynolds said, “We get animals in here all the time from people who just want us to take them or they just never came back to get them after boarding them here.”
She said there are several adult dogs, puppies and kittens currently looking for forever homes.
Call the new phone number, 751-2287, for more information.