- Published on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:18
- Written by Breanna Bright
For the past 4 years Busch Pet Products has created unique ornaments to raise money for animal shelters and organizations for the holiday season. What makes their ornaments so special is a handsome cat named Howie, who helpfully poses for pictures each year as a way of giving back to his four-legged community. Iluvlocalplaces was given the inside scoop, and allowed access to meet the great and generous Howie.
Even this photogenic feline will admit that he couldn’t do it all on his own. Shop owner Stacy Busch-Heisserer puts a lot of effort into making her store special, and Howie is just one aspect of that. The store cat is allowed free rein of the place, greeting customers and chilling out on the cat trees. “He’s very friendly, comfortable with people, and gets along with dogs. Even those who don’t like cats like him.” Stacy says that sometimes even those who aren’t pet owners will come in just to see Howie.
The idea for the ornaments came when Stacy noticed all the attention Howie was getting. “He likes to be photographed,” Stacy said, “everyone says how handsome he is.” Using his popularity Stacy had professional photographs done by Elaine Rohde Photography, and placed her favorite inside each ornament. A different picture is used each year.
Stacy has always been an animal lover, her parents were both handlers and owned a kennel. Stacy decided to go into business for herself after seeing the success of small pet stores to whom she sold dog food. She has made a name for herself in the small business community, remembering customer names, and keeping a collage of pet pictures on her wall. Stacy says that she loves to hear from people, and is always thanked for her professional help. “It feels good when someone comes in and thanks me for helping their pet.”
Stacy adopted Howie when his owners could no longer take care of him due to allergies. She keeps him in the store as a customer service rep, and though he tends to sleep on the job, and take rather long lunch breaks, she says he’s a great sales-cat.
Howie has been the store cat for 3 years, and this is his fourth Christmas doing the ornament sale. This year the proceeds are going towards the Cape chapter for the Greyhounds Pets of America, an organization that helps retired racing dogs find new homes. When interviewed about the fundraiser Howie was pretty quiet, responding mostly with paw-licking and blank stares. Inside this shy and humble shell, we could tell Howie was happy to help.
To see more of Howie and Stacy, check out their Facebook page.
Click here to learn more about Greyhound Pets of America.