|Gifts galore for furry friends at 49er Pet
You don’t have to take my word for it. But 49er Pet on Southwest Boulevard is the Bergdorf Goodman of canine fashion. Not just “The Macy’s,” but a couple of notches above them.
49er Pet has a huge aisle casually displaying long sleeve sweaters, short sleeves, turtlenecks, solid color, multi-colors, plaids, checkers, stripes, some with decorations like tiny, jingly Christmas bells or hoods for earmuffs or fitted with toy antlers for the holidays.
Collars galore! Yes, made with understated simplicity for dogs and cats already aware of their status, to those with rhinestones, fake pearls or jingly bells. Harnesses, leashes of all lengths, cushioned traveling baskets, blankets and well-pillowed doggie beds are all here. So are windowsill shelves for the many cats that love watching outdoor action.
35 years serving RP pets
Dog and cat toys come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Kitty Collins, owner of 49er Pet in all of its 35 years of serving our four-legged and feathered friends, demonstrated a toy called “Catch-It.” It has a long handle on it with a scoop on one end to pick up a small ball your dog (who’s been taught) has faithfully dropped at your feet. Pick it up, sling “Catch-It” back and let it fly. No more digging around in Fido’s slimy mouth to extract the ball.
Dog toys take up a lot of room inside the store. Bones to chew, some so hard they’ll last a long time, some soft and chewy with a short life span, some to tear apart fiercely, some to carry around lovingly in their jaws, others to bury outside in the yard.
It’s obvious 49er Pet wants to bring the family pet into the home’s holiday festivities. They admit cats aren’t the least bit interested in sweaters; they’re satisfied with the fur coat they wear every day of the year.
But there are enough cat toys to drive ‘em crazy if they had access to shelves. Gathering of colorful feathers on long, quivering limbs come in many sizes and colors. These are interactive toys with their owners and can provide hours of exercise until the owner or the cat decides to take a break. There are more small multi-colored rats and mice on the display shelves than you’ll find in a rural barn or feral cat colonies in or near RP.
Buying a family pet
Kitty Collins has a unique way of handling requests for kittens, rabbits, puppies or adult pets to unveil at hectic Christmas gift-exchange times. “Do it our way. To bring a pet into a scene like this is just too much for the typical animal to handle,” she said.
“What we do is gather all the information on what they want, kitten, puppy or mature adult, playful or calm, what size, hair length they want, how many kids in the family, size of the yard, data like that.
“Then we can provide a home for the newcomer right here in our store for a pet when it’s first introduced. Put all the necessities under the Christmas tree and bring your pet a few days later to its new quarters right after the busy Christmas excitement.
“We get all our dogs and cats from Sonoma County or Rohnert Park animal shelters,” she continued. “They’ve all been neutered or spayed, had rabies and all the necessary shots and are fitted with a microchip for easy identification. The cost for all this is usually $10 or a little more. We call this the ‘match-making’ process.
“Really, it’s less traumatic to bring in a dog or cat to a new location to call their own when you’ve made him or her part of the family ahead of time.”
49er Pet is a true family owned and managed store. Collins, 67, heads it all with the help of her husband, Tom, (“my chief go-for guy”), daughter, Cassandra, controller for the store, and grandkids, Dustin and Corey, both students at Santa Rosa Junior College and working part time in the store.
We haven’t talked about the live rabbits, parakeets, canaries and kittens in the store to admire, or the many shelves of dog and cat food, some of it organic, and all of it quality food, not just supermarket stuff that appeals to owners, but boxes, bags and cans from top label suppliers.
“For us, our motto is ‘the pets come first’ it’s been with us for 35 years,” Collins said. It’s located in a historic building, which began as Sissa’s supermarket, the first grocery supermarket in RP, right near Adrian Drive.