LAKE FOREST — Customers walking into the new Pet People store in Lake Forest are likely to get a friendly welcome from Ollie, the store dog.
Ollie is not any dog. He is specially trained with an approval from the American Kennel Club that his temperament is suitable for his position.
“He went through training for a year to become a canine good citizen,” said store manager Kristi Lautenbach, a Lake Bluff resident and Ollie’s owner. “He’s pretty much comfortable in all social situations.”
Pet People opened October 27 on Deerpath Road in downtown Lake Forest offering food, toys and other supplies for dogs and cats.
Though Pet People sells items for pets besides dogs and cats at many of its locations, the Lake Forest shop specializes in those two animals because it is a smaller store. Lautenbach and her team will special order items for other animals such as bunnies.
Pet People does not sell animals, but there will be opportunities for people to take a pet home from the store, according to Terry Montigny, the company’s community relations manager.
“We work with local shelters and animal rescuers to hold special events in our stores,” said Montigny. “That way we can help give homeless animals a home.”
Customers’ pets are welcome too. There is a separate room in the back of the store with large windows, where people can bring their pet to bathe it, groom it or both. There is a $12 fee.
“We provide the shampoo and everything,” said Montigny. “You just leave with your pet and we’ll take care of the mess.”
Great care is given to selecting the food choices Pet People offers people to feed to their pets. Much of it is organic, and some comes frozen. Along with food for mealtime, there are treats and biscuits.
Much of the food sold is fresh rather than processed. Raw and freeze dried meals are part of the product mix, which Lautenbach said are healthier for an animal’s skin and teeth, weight control and overall well being. The freeze dried food is beneficial when an owner is away and someone else is feeding the pet.
“You can provide the same nutrients and (the caretaker) does not have to measure it out,” said Lautenbach. “You can do it for them or give them instructions to make it easier. It’s a much healthier way to feed a pet.”
There is also an opportunity to spoil a pet with the bakery section. Custom order cakes are available as well as bulk treats with 18 different varieties.
Along with everything a dog or cat needs to eat, there are toys. There are basic playthings and others meant to challenge the animal’s intellect. One category is puzzle toys.
“When the dog or cat figures it out they get a treat. It might be a maze or something they have to move. It gets harder as they get better,” said Montigny. “I’ve tested them all. I promise you,” she added referring to what she has taken home for her basset hound.
There is a large section of cat trees. Many are custom made and specially designed.
Montigny said the company prides itself on the training it gives employees before they help customers on the sales floor. Workers go through a 12-week course learning about the products.
“We have really well educated associates in the store,” said Montigny.
Pet People is located at 240 E Deerpath Road, Lake Forest. For more information, visit www.petpeoplestores.com or call (224) 436-8138.