Two huge mums and pumpkins filled the back seat of my car, as I headed toward Maryland Avenue in Annapolis to prepare for Fallfest. It was a beautiful day, and the dream to open a pet boutique was about to come true that weekend. Inspired by my feisty Jack Russell and tabby cat, the idea was to create a space where people could come together to celebrate life with their companion animals in a shop -- and in the community.
Fast forward 21 years, I'm ready to drive to 12th Ave S in downtown Naples,
Florida to open the doors to a new home for this small business we named Paws pet boutique. Thanks to so
many extraordinary people along the way, the journey between the 2 car rides exceeded all expectations. Taking a quick ride down memory lane, I think of the many dog-friendly events Paws hosted to benefit a variety of animal charities... Lots of Ben's Dog-friendly Boat Cruises benefiting Animal Legal Defense Fund (rain or shine -- we certainly had both!) --- Yappy Hours/'Canines & Cocktails for Cause' on many a Friday night --- 'Wag & Wine' summer series at Great Frogs Winery --- Halloween 'Click & Treat' Photo Days with Red Leash Pet Photography --- Fall Dog Fashion Shows and even 'Crabtowne Canines' Parade Marches with our pups and Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat crew.
The memories run deep thanks to the many people who supported our small business and joined our Paws community over the years. Grateful we were given the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars for a variety of charities -- Animal Legal Defense Fund, SPCA of Anne Arundel County and Lab Rescue to name a few.
While the dog-friendly, charitable events are entwined in our Paws philosophy, being a spot where people can bring their pets for a happy shopping experience has been equally important. We love helping find something special that celebrates dogs, cats and the bond we share with them. From our manual cash register and newsletter snail mailings (we folded each one ourselves!) in 1999 to a small business with an online pet boutique, email newsletters and daily social media post updates, a lot has changed (including my natural hair color☺). However, our philosophy to make a difference remains the same (I'm still married to my business partner, Larry)!
Thanks to all who are part of our Paws community, wherever you live! Let's see where year number 22 takes us all, and work on making more happy memories together. Come see Gracie, me, Larry and Tracy in our new digs if you're down this way.
Thank YOU for supporting our dream, and cheers to a new Paws year!
p.s. Thanks for voting us Best Pet Boutique in Annapolis multiple years. We'll never forget the honor.
Thanks to Red Leash Pet Photography for the photos below from Ben's Waterfront Bash and Cruise.