Going Humane – New Business Models As Pet Stores Opt to Adopt
by Kathy Mordini
What a difference a year makes. Just last year, Greg Gordon from Naperville, Illinois’ Dog Patch Pet and Feed made the move to go humane. As the owner of a pet store, that meant that he would stop selling puppies and start adopting out rescue pets instead.
In that year since, you could say that Gordon and his store has come full circle – from selling pets to being very active in the rescue community in Chicago and beyond. Gordon has been partnering with Annie’s Little Angels Small Dog and Cat Rescue since November and sold its last puppy at the end of January.
Since that time, Chicago-area rescues have embraced his store and many volunteers that wouldn’t shop there in the past are now shopping at Dog Patch. They also heavily promote the store as well. The Puppy Mill Project – a Chicago-based advocacy group that once was about to protest at the store – now heavily supports his new mission as well.
Passion for rescue
As I’ve gotten to know Gordon in the past year, one thing is very clear, he has become very passionate about his new mission. He readily talks to other businesses considering making the same move and has expanded his work in the rescue community.
Just recently, Gordon received clearance to start pulling pets from Chicago Animal Care and Control. He also has been working with Save our Souls (SOS), a group from Oklahoma, to take in puppies saved from wildfire areas of the southwestern U.S. Along with adopting out an increasing number of puppies from the group, Dog Patch has also raised funds to help that group continue to transport to communities where puppies have a better chance at adoption.
Gordon is one of three pet stores in Chicago that has made the move from sales to adoption. Wilmette Pet made their change almost two years ago and Thee Fish Bowl in Evanston also has gone humane. Wilmette Pet fosters for Adopt-A-Pet and that organization handles the adoptions. Gordon does all the adoptions on his own through the store.
Communities ban sale of pets
These success stories are very important as the move continues to ban the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores around America. According to Best Friends Animal Society, there are now 26 communities in the U.S. that have banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.
As animal advocates work toward that goal in Chicago, The Puppy Mill Project will be looking to more rescue groups to partner with pet stores as more stores go humane. Many small, local pet stores in Chicago and elsewhere have been successful without ever selling dogs, cats and other pets and have long worked with rescue groups for adoption events and advocacy.
The Puppy Mill Project also has big plans for Puppy Mill Awareness day on September 30. The group plans a peaceful protest on Michigan Avenue – heading North from the Michigan Avenue bridge up the Magnificent Mile to the John Hancock Center starting at noon – to spread the word about puppy mills and advocate for adoption.