Blog Archives

Wordless Wednesday #23: Richardson Ground Squirrel


Stacy y una ardilla de tierra de Richardson

Stacy and a Richardson ground squirrel



Wordless Wednesday #21: Tia and her Hedgehog

WW# 21 Tia and Hedgehog

Wordless Wednesday #17: Mae and Addie

WW #16 Mae and Addie

Mae and Addie and the smooth-sided toad.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I’m excited to announce a couple of new regular features here on The Animal Store Blog.

I get to see a lot of happy faces when pets meet their new families, like the guinea pig shown here with his smiling new owner. (Trust me, I recognize a happy guinea pig when I see one.) Each week on the blog, we’ll be featuring Wordless Wednesday, with some of our favorite photos.

We also get a lot of questions here at the store, so Kenn and I are working together on a new feature we’re calling FAQ Friday. Each week, we’ll try to answer some of your most common (and maybe a few uncommon) questions. If you have questions you’d like answered, just ask me (Ernie the Answer Fish) by leaving a comment here on the blog or fill out the form on home page. We’ll answer your questions directly, and choose some to feature on the blog on FAQ Friday. Stay tuned.

Jr. Critter Crew

Current Jr. Critter Crew members Alexander, Maureen, Esa and Isabella

The animals at The Animal Store are special. Just one of the things that makes them special is the care and attention they get from our Jr. Critter Crew. Members of the Jr. Critter Crew have just one job: to learn about and handle the animals — one at a time.

Jr. Critter Crew member Esa socializing a pygmy hedgehog.

Many kids come into the store wanting to work here, volunteer or play with the animals, but it takes someone great to become a volunteer member of the Jr. Critter Crew. Applicants must be at least 11 years old and come into the store to with their parents to meet with Kenn and to apply. Parents and children must each understand the responsibilities involved.

Once they join the crew, members start getting to know the animals. They learn about their care and feeding from one of our trained staff, but the Jr. Critter Crew member’s job is to socialize the animal — play with it, hold it, carry it around the store and get it used to being handled by people. The more animals are held and played with when they are young, the better pets they make when they go home with a family. Socialization makes it safer for both the pets and their humans.

Next time you come into The Animal Store, look for a young person wearing a Jr. Critter Crew shirt and ask about his or her favorite animals. They’ll be happy to show you.

Alexander shows off the new Jr. Critter Crew t-shirt.

USB Desktop Aquarium for Home or Office

Those fishy screen savers just aren’t as cool as the real thing. Now you can plug the new USB Desktop Aquarium right into your computer’s USB port and have a mini-aquarium at work or in your home office.

This little conversation starter has a small footprint, but offers a big impact and is a fully functioning aquarium, complete with under-gravel filtration system, low voltage pump, gravel and plastic plant. In addition, it offers office functionality, with features including:
  • a pen holder
  • an adjustable overhead light
  • an LCD calendar with time, date, week and temperature
  • an alarm clock with a snooze feature and countdown timer

This little aquarium puts the fun in functional, and may just be the perfect gift for the workaholic on your list. Mention this post for an additional 15% off* your purchase of the USB Desktop Aquarium. Tell Kenn you read about it online and he’ll let you pick out a free fish, too.

*Offer expires December 31, 2010. Free fish is from a selection of Kenn’s choice.

Pets and Careers: Is there a connection?

You know you love your pet. You know your pet loves you. But did you know the kind of pet you own might be related to your career choice and even your income?

According to a new study by Career Builder, owners of certain pets are more likely to pursue certain careers. For example, reptile and snake owners tend to be social workers, marketing or PR people, editors or writers, police officers or engineers. Even more interestingly, the survey found that reptile owners are more likely to make salaries in the six figures.

Bird owners are the most likely to be satisfied in their career choice, and can often be found in administration, advertising, sales, or construction.

You dog owners are most likely to be top executives, and are often entertainers, nurses, professors, or in the military or IT.

Cat owners, on the other hand, are most most likely to be doctors or med techs, caretakers, realtors, or machine operators.

And what about aquarium hobbyists? You fish lovers tend to be in farming or forestry, fishing, transportation, human resources or finance.

These days, many people are looking for new jobs or career paths. Maybe what you really need is a new pet. Looking for success in sales? Come talk to us about a new cockatoo or a pair of lovebirds. Want to boost your income over the $100K mark? We’ve got just the corn snake or tegu for you. Trying to get into medical school? A new kitty may be just what you need. We also have everything you need for your fish tank or to care for your favorite pooch. Who knows? Maybe investing in your pet is actually an investment in your career. And you know they love you, no matter what you do.

To help you along your career path, just mention the pets and careers post and get 20% off* your next purchase at The Animal Store.

And check back on the blog for more holiday specials between now and Christmas.

*Offer good on white tags only; expires 12/31/10.

Photo credit: Mango HaX0ring by Slava / slava via Creative Commons License.

Shape Up

Obesity in America is a significant problem, and not just for American people. Our pets are also getting fat. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 45% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight, and obesity is now the leading health threat for pets.

The risks associated with obesity in pets are identical to those faced by overweight people:

  • osteoarthritis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • insulin resistance
  • respiratory disorders
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • cancer

But the good news is that if you have a pet, you have a built-in fitness buddy. Playing and exercising with your pets will lead to health benefits for both of you. Exercising with your pet on a regular basis can help you both lose weight, build tone, reduce stress, and strengthen your heart and bones.

All that healthy stuff is fine, of course, but the real benefit is: FUN. Now that the weather is finally getting better, you are officially out of excuses. So get out there with your pet and walk, job, run, swim, play catch or fetch or ball … but get moving. It will do you both good.

You can play and exercise with almost any kind of pet. Here are some excellent ideas for all kinds of animals, from dogs to birds to cats to exotics. You might want to keep a fitness journal for you and your pet so you can track your progress.

Dr. Jim Humphries of the Veterinary News Network reminds us that you should start slowly, be consistent and get a check up (for both you and your pet) before you begin a new exercise routine. He also advises that different pets benefit from different kinds of exercise.

We have a wide variety of toys and equipment to get you and your pet moving, like the Air Kong Fetch Stick. Mention the Shape Up blog post and get 25% off* any dog or cat toy, or pet leash. Good luck, and be sure to share your own tips and ideas on how you and your pet help each other stay fit.

*Offer good on white tags only and valid through June 15, 2010.

Listen Up

We all have different reasons for owning a pet: companionship, unconditional love, helping children understand nature and our role in the natural world, and just plain fun. But do you use your pet as a sounding board?

The results of a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press and seem to indicate that many people do. According to the poll, a full one third of married women believe their pets are better listeners than their husbands. More people polled felt that dogs were better listeners than cats.

The poll also indicated that most people think their pets are generally happy, with only a small percentage responding that they have ever sought help for signs of depression in their pets. Seems like animals can listen to our problems without being affected by them emotionally — or maybe they understand that they help us by listening and just being there.

If you want to return the favor and decipher what your pets are trying to tell you, check out this kid-friendly activity on Understanding Your Pet at

What do you think? Is your pet your favorite confidant or surrogate therapist? Which pets make the best listeners? Has your pet ever betrayed a confidence? We love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

Happy May

After a long hiatus, The Animal Store Blog is back. It’s May, it’s spring, the weather is getting better (even in Chicago) and we’re all heading outside, right? Well, maybe not. There is new concern that our children may be suffering from Nature-Deficit Disorder.

In his book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv argues that in one generation, we have moved from long, lazy summers of hiking, swimming and camping, to summer months overbooked with structured indoor activities and marred by electronic addictions that are divorcing our children from the natural world around them. Louv believes that increased awareness of nature can have far-reaching benefits, including improved fitness levels, increased creativity and imagination stimulated by exploration, and a deeper understand of our place in nature’s hierarchy.

Our pets have had a long winter stuck indoors, too. Help your whole family reconnect with nature by making a commitment to taking regular walks. Pay attention to the nature around you; you’ll be amazed at what you might discover right in your own neighborhood.

To get you started, just mention this post for a 20% discount on the purchase of a new leash, harness or collar*. And before you start your regular outdoor activities, check your pet’s tags to make sure they are secured to the collar and have up-to-date information.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Theanimalstore.

*Offer good on white tags only and valid through May 15, 2010.