November 20, 2008 in Voices

Pampurr-ing pets, and owners

Store offers food, treats, and boarding services in Post Falls
Jacob Livingston Correspondent
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Amanda Deeds holds Critter, a miniature pinscher, at the Pampurred Pet Boutique in Post Falls. The family business is owned by Amanda’s mother Bonnie Sportato.
(Full-size photo)

Even though Amanda Deeds doesn’t have children, she does have little ones running around the house.

As an animal lover her entire life, Deeds is like many pet owners who consider their four-legged friends more than just companions – her two dogs and cats are members of the family. That’s why Deeds and her mother, Bonnie Sportato, and sister, Marie Berger, opened Post Falls Pampurred Pet Boutique near the heart of downtown earlier this year, dedicated to providing high-quality food, apparel, boarding and a host of other animal services for residents of the River City.

“It’s all about the animals,” Deeds said about the business’s focus, while two fluffy, flat-faced Himalayan kittens, Jack and Chuckie, played with a toy in the store’s front room. Not at work that day were the store’s mascots: Deeds’ other “babies” Tito, a boxer; and Luscious, a Shih Tzu.

Opened in early March, the Pampurred Pet Boutique features a full line of pet accessories, including Pup Pants, carrying bags and T-shirts, boarding rooms for both dogs and cats, a pet bakery stocked with Doggie Bon Bons, and it is the only place in town that sells holistic foods that are high in protein and free of grain fillers. In addition to those services, the store will soon have veterinarian Tracy Ridgeway on hand just down the hall, where the attached garage is being renovated into office space.

“These guys really work on selling high-quality food and supplements. So it’s everything I recommend as a doctor,” said Ridgeway, who takes a holistic approach in her veterinary practice by providing acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and recommending grain-free food for pets. “I think it’s an asset to Post Falls,” she added.

The store is the first business venture by Sportato, an animal-lover-turned-small business owner who decided the area needed a pet-friendly place that matched her devotion as a small-dog owner. She originally envisioned the boutique as a pet boarding and specialty store in Hayden, but obtaining permits for building new kennels proved difficult.

Last fall, however, a small home for sale adjacent to the Post Falls Library caught the family’s attention. The building, a former veterinary clinic, already had kennels in a back room, so the family purchased the property and spent several months repairing and reconfiguring the rest of the interior. The owners added a fenced-in backyard, kennel cubicles for seven small dogs, and a cat area for four felines.

Since the store’s grand opening, business has grown in a number of ways. “We found out that there was nowhere in Post Falls that sold good dog food. People were having to drive into Coeur d’Alene to get their pet’s food,” Deeds recalled.

After listening to customer feedback, the owners expanded their menu offerings, which now include Orijen, Taste of the Wild and Natura Pet Products, and they place special orders for pets with specific dietary needs. While the boutique’s brands are more expensive than most store-bought packages, ranging in price from about $20 to $60 for a big bag of dog food and almost $2 for a can of cat food, they aren’t loaded with the mainstream brands’ grain fillers that lack nutritional value.

The benefits of the grain-free diet are numerous, Deeds said. They include healthier coats; the animals don’t need to eat as much because of the higher protein content; and veterinary bills are lower due to fewer visits to the clinic for allergic reactions.

Post Falls resident and animal owner Jerry Moffitt said he’s seen a big difference in his 17-month-old Newfoundland Suebee’s health since switching diets. The rashes that used to appear on Suebee’s skin after eating grain-filled food have almost disappeared.

“She’s doing great, she loves her food,” Moffitt said, adding that the store is a welcome addition to the neighborhood because he can walk over from his home.

Providing peace of mind for owners and their pets is just one of the services provided at Pampurred Pet Boutique, the owners said. And for someone like Deeds who has been surrounded by pets her entire life, having been “born into loving animals” while growing up on a farm with sheep, pigs, cows and more than a dozen dogs, she said the best part of the job is being around animals and fellow animal lovers all day.

“Seeing the difference in their health, just kind of seeing the before and after of the animals is great,” she said. “It’s the little stories I love, and helping educate the customers … even with something so little as changing their pet’s diet it can make a big difference.”


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