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All For Paws: Caring For Your Best Friend In the World

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Caring for pets is a big job. Particularly if you’re a new pet owner, from time to time, you may need some advice from people you can trust. Jackie Duncan, owner of All For Paws (216 Prospect Park West, 718-788-7052) has devoted a lifetime to caring for pets. Not only does she sell everything that’s needed for small animals, it’s the place where people bring their questions, before they go to the vet. It’s been this way since Jackie first opened the shop’s doors in 1986. Since that time, Jackie has calmed the concerns of countless customers. She’s learned that many of these concerns often involve an animal’s food intake: Should I change my pet’s food? Is it digestible? Is it meeting the animal’s needs? Does my pet have an allergic reaction to the food? Why does my pet get a tummy ache after eating? Because Jackie has spent a lifetime studying animals and reads everything she can about all the latest trends in the business, she is has become a trusted authority. “Things have changed a great deal in the past 20 years,” she says. One of the biggest changes she notes is that people “are more aware of the care that animals require,” she says. “The way you treat your kids and your animals is what you have in your home,” she adds with certainty. It goes without says that pets, like people, should be treated well, “if you want a calm member of your family,” she says. One of the things that can upset a happy household is overfeeding your pet. People tend to overfeed their animals, thinking they’re doing something good, of course. But it’s often not very good for the animal. Overfeeding animals is not always the fault of the customer, Jackie says. They may be just following the directions on the package. She points out that some pet food companies state that a required amount of food should be given to a pet; but “They’re in the business of selling animal food,” she says. In other words, the more you feed, the sooner you’ll buy another bag of their product. Her motives are different. “I want healthy animals,” she says. That’s why Jackie sells only, “exceptional food” for pets. People are surprised to learn that, “It’s less expensive than the common brands,” and it’s healthier than many of the products on the market, she says. Because the food states exactly what’s inside the product, customers “don’t have to worry about their pets having allergic reactions to items not listed on the label,” says Jackie. Of the food, she says, with an authority that will get no argument: “If I recommend it, I better be able to stand behind it. I take pride in that.” Her customers are pleased, too. “People are very satisfied, not just with the price, but with the quality of the food and the way the animal digests it.” Some come in and say that their pets, “have never liked anything better.” Such information is no secret, she says. It’s all available on the Internet, but too many people don’t have the time to look for it, she says. On the other hand, “Reading is the passion of my life,” says Jackie. Also at the shop are fish tanks, cages for small animals such as rabbits and hamsters, crates for dogs, cat boxes and carrying cases, toys and bottles for small animals, ceramic and plastic dishes, bedding for cats and dogs, and so many other items. There’s also an enormous amount of merchandise for bird lovers. “We have a tremendous number of bird folk who come in,” she notes. The difference between her shop and the others that may be out there? “My knowledge,” Jackie says, again, with uncompromised certainty. It’s a business she’s studied for decades, and says, “I’ve never liked anything better.” Visit All For Paws Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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