In the midst of COVID-19 and the apparent death of the high street, many people have asked us: why a pet shop? There is no simple answer, but this is us – and this is why we here at The Nature Nook want to bring the best quality pet supplies to you and your fluffy, feathery or scaly family.
Fresh out of university we bounced between jobs, some of which we loved. I personally got the honour of being a parrot keeper. Jason also worked in a zoo, as an animal educator, spreading his love and knowledge of the natural world. Makenzie, meanwhile, went on to graduate with a master’s degree in conservation. But COVID-19 stripped us – along with thousands of others – of our jobs and left us thinking: what next? And that’s when the fantasies of The Nature Nook, originally born a few years previously in cramped student flats, once again filled my head. We worried that now wasn’t the right time. But there is no good time to take a leap of faith. Ultimately, it simply came down to – if not now, then when?
Animals are so important to humans that there are a number of careers in which we could all realise our dream of being surrounded by creatures great and small, but one thing has always stuck in our heads. As people who are extremely dedicated to animal husbandry, and the relationship between man and beast, we could see the same common myths and misconceptions being perpetuated. So many well-meaning people who simply want the best for their pets are unable to access the products or correct information they need. Perhaps it is the remnants of a political degree that make me so keenly displeased about this kind of injustice. Whatever it was, we wanted to be able to change the lives of pets and pet owners alike. After all, why should a pet not receive the same standard of care in a home than they would in a zoo?
We established The Nature Nook to create a pet shop that is more than just a pet shop. One with an ethical focus where animal welfare always comes first. One where your future pet chooses you and your pet care journey is guided by experts. One in which we encourage you to foster a relationship with not only the animals you take home, but also those found in your garden and beyond.
Who are we to tell you how to look after your pet? Why should you trust us? I’ve already touched upon some of our passions, but here is why we think we can help you.
My journey started with a pigeon named Henry who I rescued after he was unfortunately hit by a car. After I released Henry back out into the world I felt myself longing for the company of a bird again. And that is how I have ended up with a whole flock… well, you can’t just have one, can you? At different times I have had no fewer than 11 parrots, but even that wasn’t enough. I started volunteering for a zoo that specialised in birds and took care of hundreds of parrots of many species. After a significant period of voluntary work, I was offered a paid position and gained invaluable experience of parrot husbandry. I have since broadened my pet knowledge beyond the avian, having worked in a pet shop and expanded my own family to include multiple small animals, too.
From a young age, Jason was, as described by his parents, ‘precocious’. Family stories often tell of a five-year-old Jason grabbing his mother’s hand and running her to the most obscure small animal any zoo could offer (and there were many zoo visits upon his demand, I am told). He would then spew forth a slew of facts and niche information about the said animal. I don’t think anyone was surprised, therefore, when he graduated with an honours degree in Animal Behaviour. Complete with animal tracking and conservation experience in South Africa, zoo work experience, a job with the RSPCA, a zookeeping qualification, and an animal husbandry internship, Jason is beyond qualified for his real passion – writing. Sharing his love for animals and all things nature is really what Jason does best.
Makenzie’s passion for this dream started with a gorgeous chinchilla called Oatmeal, who stole the hearts of everyone who visited our student house. Oatmeal took a man with adoration for animals and channelled that energy into a passion for pet welfare. With a master’s degree in conservation, Makenzie’s experience does not start or end with his wealth of knowledge on animal husbandry – it also spread onto plants. His green thumb filled our house with gorgeous pot plants, and he quickly developed a love for the dual purpose of our plants and gardens to not only brighten our lives but provide a vital green refuge for critters of all sizes in our urban jungles.
Follow this blog for regular updates as we bring our vision of The Nature Nook to life. There will also be plenty of pet care tips from Alex, information on wild animals and the natural world from Jason, and ways to bring conservation to your very own back garden from Makenzie.