For Shirleen Dubuque, owner for 15 years of New Canaan's mom-and-pop pet shop, Village Critter Outfitter, "specializing" in local tastes and community needs goes far behind the New Canaan High School pet collars and holistic dog food.
Each month, the niche pet shop hosts guest talks with area veterinarians and adoption events for smaller animal rescue groups that recently have brought into the Cherry Street store a miniature horse, expert on puppy chewing and mouthing, pet dental health specialist and docile "bully breeds."
On Saturday (which is "Dog Biscuit Day" according to Village Critter's comprehensive pet calendar online), the shop is hosting a Wilton-based parrot rescue group.
"We're trying to give visibility to these smaller groups and to bring in speakers that our customers and other 'animal people' want to hear from and talk to," Dubuque, a Stratford resident and owner of three dogs herself—Max, an 11-year-old Bichon Frise, Duke, a 10-year-old Airdale and Oreo, a 6-year-old Bichon-Yorkie mix—said Wednesday as customers packed into the well-stocked store whose front window recently turned to a St. Patrick's Day theme.
Asked how business has been affected, if at all, by Pet Pantry that moved into New Canaan on the other side of the business district, Dubuque pointed to the specialty products that draw many locals who regularly patronize Village Critter.
"We carry products that are high quality, whether they're chemical-free or holistic or organic foods—that differentiate what's offered here," Dubuque told Patch.
The Saturday visit from Wilton Parrot Rescue runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Village Critter Outfitter the following week will host Animals in Distress. Here's a link to the shop's full calendar.