I remember the first time I met “Enos,” a timid puppy rescued by Project Halo, a local animal rescue group. A small little puffball only three months old, he was scared of everything around him. I was sitting on the ground near him and talking to him softly. After a few minutes of my jabbering, he walked slowly to stand closer to me. I put my hand on his back and gave him a soft back scratch. The next thing I knew, he was crawling in my lap and cuddling close. We’ve been inseparable since that day five years ago.
What started out as a possible foster situation, quickly turned into a forever situation. Named after a character from Dukes of Hazard, the name Enos didn’t fit my new friend. On the ride home, this sweet pup looked at me, winked, and then licked my face. “You’re a flirt,” I said laughing at him. Immediately I thought of a family friend named Smitty. The original Smitty was a WWII veteran who loved Atlantic City, a good joke, and flirting with the ladies. Enos became Smitty.
In the five years we’ve been together, Smitty and I have been through a lot. I’ve cried into his fur and laughed at his shenanigans. We moved from a home with a big back yard to a condo building with an elevator. We’ve slept on a mattress on the floor for four months, and he fell out of the bed once we finally got one. I’ve learned about patience and about putting someone/something before myself.
Caring for a pet is a lot of work. I’ve been lucky to find people and businesses around Charlotte to help me with all of my “Smitty” needs. Here is a list of some of my go-to people and places.
Veterinary needs: Providence Veterinary Associates
I can’t imagine going any where other than Providence Veterinary Associates for Smitty’s vet needs. He loves them, well, he loves them until they put the thermometer where the sun doesn’t shine. When he looks at me with betrayed eyes, I just mouth “sorry” and make a mental note to give him a treat once we get to the car.
Smitty was born with a birth defect that caused his left leg to be deformed. Instead of his paw facing forward, his paw faces behind him. The swollen joints and stress to the pads on his paw have caused him to be on pain medicine since he was three years old. The care the doctors and staff provide is exceptional and they always answer my neurotic dog-mom questions.
Food needs: 4 Paws Holistic
When Smitty was about three years old, I noticed that he would frequently have an upset stomach. I did research and discovered that his symptoms pointed to a possible food allergy. In my neighborhood of Myers Park, there is a pet store called 4 Paws Holistic. Once I realized he may have a food allergy, I went in with my dog-mom questions and concerns about Smitty’s symptoms. They immediately said that his symptoms were common in dogs with allergies to chicken. I got a month supply of chicken free food to see if anything changed. During that month, Smitty’s symptoms cleared up. Over two years later, his symptoms have not come back, but 4 Paws got a lifetime customer.
Boarding and grooming needs: Dogs All Day
Dogs need social interaction and stimulation. I wanted to find Smitty a place that he could go for a day of play, but that also would board him when I had to leave town. After trying a few different places, I found Dogs All Day on South Boulevard. Walking in, you immediately know that the staff members are true animal lovers. I feel so comfortable dropping him off and I love that I get report cards about him. I take Smitty there, I walk him in, drop his leash, and he immediately walks to the staff member that will take him back to the play area.
Not only does Dogs All Day offer boarding, but they are also a one-stop shop for dog food, treats, and grooming. I take my shaggy dog there to get his twice a year buzz cut.
Training needs: Love that Dog Charlotte
Moving from a four-bedroom house with a big fenced in yard to a one-bedroom condo on a busy street was a difficult transition for Smitty. We tried one trainer, but it wasn’t a great fit. Once again Dogs All Day came to the rescue as their former general manager, Katy, started her own dog training business. Love that Dog Charlotte and Katy are a blessing. Katy has such a way with Smitty, and he gets so excited every time he sees her. She helped put Smitty, and me, at ease in our new surroundings.
Dogs need medicine too: Rite Aid at Park Road Shopping Center
My timid puppy became an anxious dog as he got older. After frank conversations with his trainer and his vet, we made the decision to put Smitty on a low dose anti-anxiety medication. I had no idea that you could pick up pet prescriptions from your local pharmacy, until I had to do so. The Rite Aid at Park Road Shopping Center will fill prescriptions for pets. I remember the first time I picked up a prescription for Smitty and I had to state my relationship to him to the pharmacist. I asked how they classified “dog-mom” and the laughing pharmacist told me to list my relationship with him as “caregiver.”
I’m sure there are other great pet places around the city, but these are some of my favorite places for Smitty.
Smitty and I have been through a lot together, and I can’t imagine a better pup friend for me other than Smitty. As I was writing this article, Smitty was asleep and fell off the bed …again. Some things never change.