It ain't easy when your pet is green.
Portland is home to multiple dog hotels, a themed pet kennel for every neighborhood, and even a chichi dog spa out on Sauvie Island. But when it's time for that trip to Aruba, no one wants to take care of your boa constrictor, your bird or sometimes even your chinchilla.
Except, that is, for a little pet food and supply store in Cedar Mill called Pet Barn.
"Mostly it started out we had a lot of regular customers with large birds," says Pet Barn sales associate Emily Hankins. "They'd go on vacation, they'd be in the hospital—we started boarding for close friends."
But it turned out it was more than just bird people who were without a place to stash their pets, and soon they were stocking crickets to feed even more exotic pets.
"We had a red-tailed boa last year," says Hankins. "Her name was Athena. We were told she was super-snuggly. We just had her around our necks all day. Some people bring in their aquatic frogs. We have a regular with degus. Degus are like gerbils—kind of, not quite."
Some customers have become such regulars that pet-food buyers will look for them every time they come into the store.
"The most popular is Jerome," Hankins says. "A lot of people come in looking for Jerome, he's an African gray parrot. He's 22 years old—he's as old as me! He always says, 'Hello!' whenever the door rings."
Nothing that will fit in a cage is out of bounds. Though they haven't boarded spiders as of yet, tarantulas wouldn't be a problem.
But there is at least one class of pet that Pet Barn won't take care of for you. "No cats, no dogs," says Hankins.
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