By TERRY McCONN of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Americans spend an estimated $41 billion a year on their pets.
That’s more than the gross domestic product of all but 68 countries in the world — larger than the GDP of Iceland and El Salvador combined.
Part of the pet money is spent here in Walla Walla. It’s obviously a pet-friendly community, evidenced by PETCO lining up in April to begin capitalizing on our appetite to assure what’s best for our animal friends.
Joel Sherman, general manager of the local store, is impressed with the commitment. For example, “You have a dog park up and running, which a bunch of other towns can’t seem to do,” Sherman said.
He noted that Walla Wallans own an “interesting mix” of creatures, what with the farm animals and working dogs. So the local store is tailored to serve those needs. It also stocks a vast array of products seemingly unthinkable a few years ago.
Ron Matthews, owner of City Zoo Pets in Eastgate, has been in the business 34 years. “It’s just unbelievable,” he said recently about what now is available. “It’s just unlimited what’s out there.”
In addition to many more varieties of dog collars, shampoos, combs, brushes and toys than every before, pet owners now can buy heated water bowls and mats, training devices — and even Halloween costumes and diapers for their furry friends.
“The big issue seems to be about food,” according to Sherman. But both stores also sell a lot of other health aids, such as those designed to ward off fleas and ticks, address teeth tartar, and heal broken paw pads.
“We try to strive to take as complete and utter care of animals as much as possible,” Sherman said.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-3300, ext. 283.