I'm studying English at Leeds University, eager for experience in writing.
Published November 6th 2012
Pet paradise, for owners or admirers of animals
If you live in Leeds and own pets (or bored children), hidden just off the A64 is an absolute gem of a pet store. After the poor service I received at mega chain Pets at Home concerning our fish tank (a member of staff directly contradicted a simple piece of information displayed in an official Pets at Home leaflet), family business Paws for Thought was next on the list. There are two stores within a few miles of each other, but the location on the A64 is bigger and, more importantly, closer to Leeds city.
I've been going to Paws for Thought for nearly four months now, sometimes to get bits and bobs, livestock, supplies and equipment, and sometimes just for fun. This is where the bored children come in! If you've got some antsy kids, an hour or so to kill, and a smart eye to saving a few pennies, Paws for Thought is the perfect place.
The shop has two floors full of creatures to gawk at and coo over. These include a huge range of birds (my personal favourite is a silver crested cockatoo called Sparky), guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, fish, frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes, spiders (shudder), and even (prepare yourself) kittens! I'm not even exaggerating; there are literally hundreds of scaly, furry and feathery creatures to discover in this store. If you (like me, and more embarrassingly, my 21 year old boyfriend) are petrified of spiders, or for that matter, snakes, lizards, anything, all of the tanks in the arid section of the basement are clearly labelled, so bring your glasses if you need them. Even if you forget them, the staff are so friendly, I can vouch that they will point you in the right direction. I should also mention that there are crickets in boxes, and if they creep you out, it's probably best to steer clear of the lower level altogether.
Aquatics! And round the corner: amphibians, reptiles and the dreaded arachnids!
If it's not a leisurely visit you'll be making, Paws for Thought will still cater all for your needs. As you can probably tell by the pictures, the shop is racked full of those bits and bobs; cages, tanks, feed, bedding, toys, literally everything a pet owner could ever need. I've only ever been once when something I needed wasn't in stock, and the staff went out of their way to telephone their partner store to see if they had it, which they did, so instead of trailing around pet shops aimlessly to find it, I drove the extra few minutes down the road, and got it there instead. The range of equipment and supplies stocked is astonishing; they sell frozen livestock, ranging from rabbits, to cater for the larger, carnivorous pets, to bloodworm, for little fish, huge economy bags of food and bedding and a pet's paradise worth of toys and accessories. If you somehow don't find what you're looking for, the staff are more than willing to help you out.
To demonstrate the friendliness and genuine care of the staff, I'll recall my latest visit to the store. About a month ago, on my twentieth birthday, I came home to find an eight-week-old bunny rabbit, courtesy of my kind boyfriend and the frequently aforementioned shop. Yesterday I went back to get his claws trimmed, which I was nervous about, as I've kept bunnies for years, and I know how stressed they can get getting little procedures like this done. The kind girl handled Bruce (yes, Bruce) very gently, even when she was having a bit of trouble with one of his paws, she held him expertly and patiently until he calmed down. She even noticed straight away that he had been bought from the store, asked us questions about how he was settling in, and gave us a wealth of advice concerning jabs, neutering and that awkward phase that teenage boy rabbits go through. It was obvious that the recommendations she gave us came from personal experience. I've had a similar encounters with the friendly folks that deal with the aquatics downstairs, who were very comforting and honest when we were starting up our tank and lost a few fish, which I now know is completely normal.
So if you're anywhere near Leeds and want a pleasant, experience from staff who are kind, patient, willing to answer questions and, most importantly, who know their stuff better than anyone I've ever met, Paws for Thought is the place to go. Alternatively, if you want to entertain your children (or yourself!) and ogle the cute and frightening creatures they have, pay them a visit. The easily navigable website is posted below, and will help you decide which location will best accommodate your needs, and help you find your way there.
I never thought I'd have nearly eight hundred words to say about a pet shop but there we go; the place is truly remarkable, and has won me over for life!