Three Local Businesses Offer Pets and Services for Everyone

Pets are a way for modern, urban and suburban dwellers to connect with their animalistic side. Here in South Florida we are fortunate in that several small businesses cater to pet lovers in a personalized manner.

One such example of that local touch is “Everything for the Birds.” The shop is an emporium for birds and their accoutrement.“We have everything from canaries, to zebra finches, caged or exotic finches, and all kinds of parrots,” said owner Rick Wray.

“People come in often just for the African Gray or Amazon Parrots because they are the best talkers.Yet, I tell people to buy the bird for the bird.They are similar to people, some like to talk and others don’t.”

In terms of rare birds,Wray has those too. They currently have two Golden Conures, also known as the Queen of Bavaria.Their rich, sunflower colored plumes must have earned them their royal moniker.

On the allure of keeping birds,Wray says people like to bring them home as pets because they can be caged or live outside the cage. People like them because they are very social, and yet do not have to be walked several times a day.They can also live very long, with some parrots living well into their 70s or 80s.

The store certainly fills a niche for avid avian appreciators.They have everything from hand- raised chicks, to a broad variety of cages, food and toys for all kinds of feathered friends.They provide grooming for nails, wings and beaks. They also provide boarding for clients who want a safe place for their birds when they are away, or unable to take care of them.The 3,000 square foot facility is hurricane proof, and monitored by security cameras.

Wray got started in birds after he relocated to Florida in 1980. Initially, he was a hobbyist.

“Then my hobby grew into bird breeder,” he said.“I have had an exotic bird ever since.”

If you are in search of a barking,not talking friend, simply head to Tiny Treasures Puppies. The three-year-old boutique is not really a pet store.With puppies in white cribs, it is a nursery for puppies.And, if you are concerned about size, these babies won’t get much bigger than their size at adoption. “I specialize in toy, and teacup varieties, and only from private breeders,” says owner Jack Lovascio. “Most are local, although I have some breeders in other parts of the country, I know them all well.”

None of the dogs come from so-called “puppy mills” which often breed the dogs with profit, more than dog safety and welfare, taken into consideration.To that end he only uses and sells organic, holistic food supplied by Health Extension, which was developed over the course of 15 years in Long Island by a veterinarian.

They also offer a one-year warranty against anything hereditary or congenital, and the dogs come with all necessary shots, and a chip already implanted.

Tiny Treasures doesn’t crowd the dogs either.“I like to keep 18 dogs at a time,” says Lovascio.Furthermore,“The dogs are never kenneled and always have a cribmate.That way they are not shy with people and are friendly with other dogs.”

In addition to the heart-wrenchingly cute assortment of Imperial Shi Tzu, tiny Tea Cup Yorkies, adorable Mini Pins and a creamy Toy Poodle Lovascio offers so-called designer breeds.The Malti-Poo – a Maltese-Poodle, and Mal-shi – Maltese-Shi Tzu are unique breeds, which have lately become popular.

If you like a slightly larger, but still small breed, there is currently an adorable French Bulldog that seemed as if she wanted to go home with me.

Like Wray and his birds, Lovascio got started with dogs in New York and then bred Maltese puppies in Brooklyn.When asked how many puppies Tiny Treasures has united with loving dog owners he said it was impossible to gage.

“While a lot of the dogs stay local, a lot go home with snowbirds and if they catch the eye of a European visiting Wilton Manors before heading off to a cruise they purchase, then I hold the dog until they get back,” he stated.

Then those lucky dogs go off to Italy, Bel-gium, or Switzerland. If you already have a dog in your life the store offers a stunning variety of custom collars, and tee shirts. Doggie perfume is also available, in case your pooch has a hot date. Bags in which to carry the puppies are also unusual, some decadent, and all are airline approved despite their “Paris Hilton” appearance.

When it’s time to groom your pet you can just click your heels three times and end up at Ruby Clippers! Well, maybe you’ll have
to get in your car but the care provided by Jeffrey Forrest and his partner Richard Hyatt will be well worth it.

The former New Yorkers had a pet grooming business in the Chelsea neighbor- hood of Manhattan before selling it and leaving the cold weather behind in 2004.

“We’ve been together personally and with the grooming business for 12 years. Richard, however, has been grooming and working with pets for about 35 years,” Forrest told SFGN.

Their commitment to the well being of the pets guides the pair.They see anywhere from 40 to 50 pets per week, yet despite the numbers, they epitomize the concept of an owner-operated business. It’s just Forrest and Hyatt. “What’s special about us is we love the animals.We are kind and gentle with the pets, and our customers appreciate that.We’ve heard horror stories about groomers being abusive. Our clients come running through the door, and jump into our arms when they see us,” said Forrest. He meant of course the dogs and cats, not their owners.

Working with so many pets you might think the couple might not have pets at home.This is not the case.At home they have two cats and two Chihuahuas,Tumi, like the luggage company and Button, whom they take to work each morning.“They are a regular fixture here, if we know we’re going out after work we don’t bring them to work with us and our customers instantly ask where they are.”

In addition to providing care for dogs in the Fort Lauderdale area, the owners of Ruby Clippers support local charities, such as the Pet Project, and have worked with a local Shi Tzu rescue organization.They believe it is important to support dogs who don’t have their own Dorothy to take care of them.

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