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MANNMay08p38-39Bus.qxd

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Page 38

P e t - O - L o v e a n d D e d i c a t i o n L e f t t o r i g h t : W e n d y R e d M a x w e l l , C a t h e r i n e M c N a m e e a n d C h a s H i l l m a n a r e p a s s i o n a t e a b o u t p e t s !

  • By Alex Allred

T T h e o n l y t h i n g t h e P e t - O - R a m a i n M a n s f i e l d i s m i s s i n g i s a c o f f e e b a r a n d d e e p , c o m f y c h a i r s t o r e l a x i n . O t h e r w i s e , i t i s a p l a c e w h e r e r e p e a t c u s t o m e r s a n d f i r s t - t i m e v i s i t o r s c o m e j u s t t o l o o k a r o u n d a n d s w a p a n i m a l s t o r i e s . W h i l e t h e s t a f f b u s i l y c l e a n c a g e s a n d f i s h t a n k s , s t o c k s u p p l i e s a n d t e n d t o t h e i n d i v i d u a l n e e d s o f t h e i r a n i m a l s , i t i s n o t u n c o m m o n t o s e e a w h i t e t u f t e d m a r m o s e t p e r c h e d a t o p W e n d y B r o w n s h e a d . N o r i s i t u n u s u a l t o s e e W e n d y R e d b e i n g t r a i l e d b y a V i e t n a m e s e d w a r f p o t - b e l l y p i g o r c h a s t i s i n g J a c k i e , t h e African Grey parrot for dropping a phone into the rabbits’ cage.

To clarify, the two staff members named Wendy adopted new last names based on their own hair color. Wendy Red plays surrogate mother to most newborns, taking them home to offer round-the-clock care as needed, while Wendy Brown designs creative climbing contraptions for 6-month-old “Mia,” the white tufted marmoset. What is a white tufted marmoset? An exotic monkey.

“They don’t throw poop as aggressively as a spider monkey does. Owning one,” Wendy Brown cautioned, “would be like having a 2 year old for the rest of your life.”

With a staff of eight, manager Christy Whitehouse is

proud of the kind of commitment and dedication her store offers both the animals and their clientele. For years, Christy was a stay-at-home mom until she wanted to earn a little extra money. Working cashier at the Pet-O-Rama was a natural fit. For good luck, “I brought my golden retriever, Toby, to my first interview,” Christy laughed.

Eventually, Christy was promoted to manager. While no prospective employees have come with their dogs on a job interview, Christy does screen all applicants. They must be animal lovers. They must have excellent people skills, but most importantly, they must be willing to put animal care above all else.

They do not stop at mere cage cleaning, but provide absolute socialization for all the animals. The African Greys and a Greater Sulfur Crested Cockatoo, for example, are rotated regularly so each can meander about the store, mingling with customers and practicing new, although not always intelligible words. Puppies run about for meet-and- greets and always have a buddy to wrestle with and, “Now I’ve got this little pig following me everywhere!” Wendy Red joked.

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MansfieldNOW May 2008

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