When you walk into the shop created by Debbie and Kristy Yettaw, they want you to feel like animals are people too reports Press-Telegram.

Debbie, a laid-off transportation worker, and her 21-year-old daughter Kristy celebrated their grand opening onJuly 10.

Inspired by her daughter’s love of animals and a troubled economy, Debbie says they took Kristy’s passion, coupled it with a plan and went after their dream.

“Kristy has this big love of animals that you can’t help but be infected by — the enthusiasm behind it,” Debbie said. “She worked for a place similar to this part-time during the summer, and we realized that here in the Lakewood area we don’t have one of these stores.”

Kristy began to express her eagerness to open their own business.

“I was telling my parents, ‘We should open up one of these stores,’ because my mom didn’t have a job because she was laid off, and I wanted to run a business of my own,” she said.

Her parents took her seriously and told her to put together an inventory list to see how much the project would cost.

So in November 2009, Kristy sat down to write out a business plan. Research underlined the theme that pets were no longer just pets, but are often considered family.

“They are actually members of the family and some of them are spoiled worse than you would spoil your own child,” Debbie said. “The amount of care that people put into their furry daughters and sons is amazing.”

Soon the family found a location, but as they looked at pricing, they worried whether questioned ifthey could sustain themselves.

“Once we found the location, and this one seems to be perfect because it’s more residential than commercial, we saw how we have the neighbors walking their dogs,” said Debbie. “I can’t tell you how many times while we were putting the building together, how many people walked by to see how we were doing, how we were growing.”

Photo by Sonya Stone