Bark n’ Bitches Humane Pet Store, Los Angeles

Terrier – ‘Raspberry’

As I approached the Bark n’ Bitches store on North Fairfax Avenue, I saw the sign ‘PLEASE CLOSE DOOR BEHIND YOU!’ It all made sense as I cautiously entered to be bombarded by about ten over-excited pooches all vying for attention. Bark n’ Bitches is not your average pet store, nor is it just a boutique. They do of course stock a superb array of items from collars and premiums foods to all-natural grooming products, but apart from that, Bark n’ Bitches is the first of it’s kind in LA – A humane pet store that takes in rescue dogs from the city’s shelters and finds homes for them. Since it was launched seven years ago by Shannon Von Roemer, Bark n’ Bitches has gone on to re-home over 2,000 dogs.

Bark n’ Bitches

LA is without a doubt a city of extremes. On the one hand, people spend inordinate amounts of money on providing the very best for their pooches from pet hotels to ‘pawdicures’ (yes dogs have manicures now) and organic diets. On the flip-side, there are also a huge number of people who do not have their dogs spayed, or will breed them for fighting which results in thousands of homeless dogs born in the US every year. Spay USA reports that one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can result in over 67,000 dogs in six years. Scary. Shelters in Los Angeles are over-run with dogs and sadly, a huge number are euthanised. ‘The shelters do what they can with what they have but unfortunately some have kill-rates as high as 85%’ says Bark n’ Bitches Store Manager Johnny.

Johnny and Yorkshire Terrier ‘Coda’

In an effort to find loving homes for these death-row dogs, Bark n’ Bitches scours the city’s shelters for dogs who can be re-homed. ‘We have to be realistic about which dogs will be easiest to get adopted. They need to be in good health and we temperament test them as best we can before we take them. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to re-train them if they have problems with aggression. I love pit-bulls if they’ve had irresponsible owners who train them to fight, then they will, because they are loyal to a fault’, says Johnny.

Jack Russell – ‘Marina’

Some of the dogs just need a little cleaning up and some basic socialisation to prepare them for their new home. ‘Pearl, who came to us recently hadn’t been groomed in so long and her coat was so matted and dirty that she was throwing herself against things. When we started grooming her and saw how bad it was, we had to shave her completely’, explains Johnny. Socialising the dogs in the store also seems to have a hugely positive impact on them. Daphne, one pooch waiting for a new home has really come out of her shell. ‘When Daphne came to us she would just spend the whole day hiding under a shelf away from the other dogs and people. She’s still cautious but she’s really come a long way’ says Johnny.

‘Daphne’ – stretching

Once the dogs are taken in, they live in the shop until new owners can be found. ‘Some of the dogs don’t even make it here to the store because we already have new owners lined up for them. Others can be with us for a few months before they are re-homed’, explains Johnny. Bark n’ Bitches will have up to 12 dogs with them at any one time, making it a 24 hour operation. ‘This is truly a labor of love. It’s a constant battle to keep them all clean and fed’, says Johnny.  They also rely on a loyal network of volunteers to help out, including fosterers who can’t have a dog full-time but can look after them in their own homes when possible.

Maltese ‘Lucy Liu’

Now before you rush in and take one of these pups home, you will need to be vetted by Bark n’ Bitches. ‘People can’t just walk into the store and leave with a dog the same day. We need to know about their life situation. Do they have the time to care for the dog?’, explains Johnny. I can confirm that having to travel back to London the following week was the only thing stopping me from taking one of these dogs home, which broke my heart a little bit.

‘We’ve adopted out over 2,000 dogs since we started. I think we might have a little party to celebrate’, says Johnny. I think they should. It would be well deserved.

ST

Bark n Bitches, 505 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA http://barknbitches.com

 

Sara is the Founder & Editor of StyleTails. A writer, design-lover and long-time animal-hugger, Sara launched StyleTails in 2012 to inspire people live a more beautiful life with their four-legged friends. Along with her canine sidekick George, a rescue Yorkie with a big attitude, Sara regularly commentates on luxury pet product and lifestyle trends and has been featured in Elle Decoration, BBC Radio, and is also an expert contributor to WGSN, the leading design trend forecaster.

2 Comments

  • Reply June 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    Aw… what an excellent place. I love everything about it: the look of the shop, the store’s name, and I love that the animals roam around freely. I lived in LA about 5 years ago and never knew this place existed! Lovely blogpost.

    • Reply June 19, 2012

      Sara

      We’re glad you like it! Make sure you pop by there if you’re ever in LA again. It’s well worth it
      ST

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