published Monday, April 11th, 2011

Pet owners remain loyal through down economy


A love of pets is the reason Joan Nash and her sister Kathy Levi opened Bone Appetit Bakery 12 years ago.
Photo contributed by Joan Nash
A love of pets is the reason Joan Nash and her sister Kathy Levi opened Bone Appetit Bakery 12 years ago. Photo contributed by Joan Nash


Students at Yale Law School may be all about torts and trusts, but recently a number of them took a half-hour, non-credit lesson on the benefits of canine kindness. The visiting instructor: Monty, an 11-year-old border terrier mix. You might say they lapped it up. Students visiting the law library could “check out” the certified library therapy dog, whose credentials included four paws and a calm demeanor. “I got the second appointment Monday,” said Elizabeth Roehm, a second-year student, who grew up with dogs in Austin, Texas, and was determined to get time with Monty.

— The Associated Press

According to American Pet Products Association’s recently released 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, the down economy has not had a negative effect on the pet industry.

The number of American households owning a least one pet is at an all-time high of 72.9 million.

“Although the economy has been a major factor for many industries, the pet industry continues to see unprecedented growth and diversity,” Bob Vetere, president of the association, said in a news release.

Joan Nash, co-owner of Bone Appetit Bakery, a pet boutique and gourmet bakery on Frazier Avenue, said business at her store has been consistent.

“The only negative effect we’ve seen is the purchase of (breed-specific) gift items and expensive pillows and bags,” she said. “But we’ve seen a major increase in the sale of leashes, collars and toys.

“When we opened our store in 1999, people wouldn’t spend more than $10 for a collar. Today they’re spending $30. People will spend more to get quality things that will last.”

Nash said her store’s typical customers are young professionals and empty-nesters who have some discretionary income.

Pets are living longer, healthier lives, the study shows. Pet owners are providing veterinary care, specialty foods, supplements and alternative treatment options that contribute to an animal’s increased life span, the study noted.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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