Gigi and Luca is a pet boutique in Lighthouse Point, Florida, named after owner Elizabeth Correa’s two dogs.
Until her recent “lightbulb moment”, Elizabeth was selling “breeder” puppies. We are happy to report that, as of two months ago, she is “breeder” puppy free, and committed to placing rescue dogs in forever homes.
In fact, she has already adopted out twelve rescued dogs in the past two months.
Elizabeth opened Gigi & Luca Pet Boutique in February 2005. At first she only sold accessories, but a few months later, food was added to her inventory.
When customers started requesting puppies, she found breeders in Florida, and out of state, and was selling them by Christmas 2006.
Elizabeth did not view the puppies as mere money makers, but cared about the homes they were going to. If she was not satisfied with the potential owners, she turned them away. If they already owned a dog, she encouraged them to bring them in, to make sure everyone got along.
When word spread that she was selling puppies, people started coming in, wanting to surrender their dogs. She found herself trying to match those dogs, with new families.
On the one hand she was selling “breeder” puppies, on the other, helping homeless dogs find new homes. This went on for a couple of years, and during that time, she found homes for approximately twenty five dogs.
About six months ago, a customer told her about a rescue group called Animal Aid. She started learning about the world of animal rescue, overpopulation crisis, puppy mills… This led to many sleepless nights, wondering how she could make a difference.
Her epiphany came when a man walked into her store, looking for a Min Pin puppy. She did not have a “breeder” puppy, but was fostering a Min Pin from a rescue group. At first he was not interested because of her age and size. That quickly changed when he met her and fell in love with her. She is now a princess in her new family.
It was at that moment that she realised, that as long as she was selling “breeder” puppies, rescue dogs did not have a chance.
May 2010 marked the beginning of her new mission – to help rescue dogs find new homes. All the dogs currently in her store come from Animal Aid.
The are fixed, up to date on all their shots and quarantined prior to arrival, to ensure they do not have kennel cough.
Elizabeth is fully committed to helping abandoned animals, however, she is feeling the effects financially.
The buyers of her “breeder” puppies never seemed to have supplies, so they purchased everything from her. She now finds that 90% of the people adopting rescues, have everything they need, and as a result, has seen a huge drop in sales.
It will be a loss to the animals, if she is forced to close her doors because selling puppy mill dogs is more lucrative then helping abandoned dogs find new, loving homes.
She is not a shelter, and does not accept owner surrenders. She only adopts out dogs from licensed rescue groups.
Here are some ways you can help:
- spread the word that Gigi & Luca Pet Boutique has gone rescue
- pop in to walk a dog, or just sit and play with one that needs extra attention
- donate gently used toys, beds, collars…
- pick up your supplies or gifts there
If you are a rescue group or shelter, and are interested in partnering with Elizabeth, please contact her directly.
To learn more about puppy mills and why you should be careful where you get your next dog:
Read about companion animal overpopulation, and how you can help stop it:
Gig & Luca Pet Boutique is located at 1825 NE 24 St., Lighthouse Point, Fl. 33064 (954) 784-8755. http://www.gigiandluca.com/
To read more about puppy mills and why you should not buy from pet stores:
Did you enjoy this article? Receive email alerts when new articles are available. Just click the “subscriber” button above.