The Story of Stewie's Healthy Paws
By: Stewie, Chairman of the Board
Stewie’s Healthy Paws is a family owned and operated business inspired by the love between two brothers, Butchy and Stewie. More to the point, Stewie's Healthy Paws is the culmination of my Daddy's life-long dream to own a pet shop, my Mommy's dream of having a business of her own, the too short life of the happiest Basset Hound ever, my big brother, Butchy, and me, Stewie.
In May 2015, Butchy was diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma an all too common disease found in Basset Hounds. For almost a year, Butchy received bi-weekly and sometimes weekly chemo treatments with his Veterinarian Oncologist. Butchy had a positive response to chemo, for a while, but in March 2016 the Lymphoma became very aggressive. Butchy went to Heaven at the young age of 7 years and 5 months on March 7. The saddest day, ever.
My memories of my big brother start in December 2015, when Mommy and Daddy were Christmas shopping for Butchy and my sisters, Nickie and Katie. Mommy said when she saw a pet store in the shopping center she immediately knew that I would be waiting in the store for her. Mommy told me that she and Daddy saw me sitting in a crate as they walked through the door and they knew I was waiting for them and that they would be taking me home.
You see, I was at the store because I was rescued by Michigan Animal Crew, from a kill shelter, just two weeks earlier. When I met my Mommy, Daddy, and big brother for the first time, on that snowy December morning, I was all alone in the world and very sad and scared. I felt unloved, I was under nourished, I was covered with flea dirt, my white fur was stained yellow from flea treatment, and I had surgery only days earlier. I believed I was a nobody and that I would never be loved. Mommy tried to pet me and hold me, but I could not stop shaking and I just wanted to hide in the back of the crate. But Mommy knew that I was hers and she was not giving up on me. Mommy and Daddy went home and got my big brother and brought him back to the store so we could meet.
Big brother was soooo big! He was 80 pounds and towered over me, but I knew by the way he looked into my eyes that he already loved me and I already loved him too. Big brother and I sniffed each other for a minute or two and then he went about entertaining everyone in the store. Big brother was very friendly and a big ham! He loved sweaters and since it was close to Christmas he was wearing his favorite extra fancy Christmas sweater. He was super cute! Big brother appointed himself the store greeter and bounced around welcoming everyone to the adoption event. I just watched in amazement and hoped that he would be my big brother and that this would be my forever family.
I heard Mommy talking to the Michigan Animal Crew and they told her that there was no information about me to share. They did not know how long I had been at the shelter, how I got there, what breed I am, or if I had a name. They told Mommy she could take me home right now and name me whatever she wanted too because they could tell I would have a good home and a happy life. Boy were they right! Mommy filled out the paper work, we took a picture, and headed for my new home. On the drive home my sister, Katie, named me Stewie.
The first few days in my new home were kind of hard. My sisters tried to play with me, but I was not very interested. I was scared and hiding a lot, but my big brother did everything he could to get me out of my shell including trying to get in my crate with me! I knew my big brother was sick because I heard Mommy and Daddy talking, but all he wanted to do was play with me. Within in a few days we were inseparable. We played toys, doggy chase throughout the house, we ran up and down the stairs, we played puppy wrestling, and we ran in and outside every chance we got because we had Mommy trained to give us treats to come in! We ate together, slept together, and got baths together too! We were best friends and we had so much fun over Christmas going to Poppy and Mimi's house for presents and dinners with my new Auntie and my cousins Alyssa and Ashy, my fur cousin Roxy, and my Great-Uncle Rob.
A few months after Christmas big brother started sleeping more. He did not want to play much and he stopped enjoying our in-and-out treats. But I loved him and anything he wanted was okay by me. I watched over him as he slept in his bed and on the floor in Mommy's office. Wherever big brother went, I went too. The only place I could not go was to his doctor appointments, but I waited right by the door for him to come back. He would come home with different colored bandages on his paws and he would feel very sleepy. I would lay with him and get him whatever he needed. I was so attentive to big brother that the family joked that I was Butchy's Cancer Concierge!
By early March, I knew big brother was getting sicker and that he would not be long for his physical body. On March 7, a Monday, my big brother went to Heaven. Our family was devastated. We missed big brother's joyous big dog presence and bigger personality, his hound dog howl, his big floppy ears and his eternal optimism no matter the challenge. The house was quiet and sad and we knew things would never be the same without big brother. Mommy and Daddy were sitting at the kitchen table crying and talking about how they could make changes so we could be together more.
They talked about things from a long time ago, dreams and plans from when they were young, and the many different visions they both had for someday. Mommy turned to Daddy and said, "Why do we have to wait for someday? What did Butchy and Stewie teach us about being happy and living for today? Why are we waiting, why not take what we know about business and let someday be right now? Let's focus on today, be happy and live in this moment with Butchy's memories and Sweet Stewie."
Daddy looked surprised because Mommy usually thought of reasons why things could not be done! Daddy reminded Mommy that he always wanted a pet shop and thought he would like that when he retired. Mommy said, "Then let's have a pet shop and let's have it right now!" One thing to know about my Mommy is that when she says we are doing something, it is as good as done! Mommy is a very smart attorney (she helps veterans get their benefits!) she is also a professor. Daddy is a Navy veteran (he helps veterans too!), a quality manager, and professor. When Mommy and Daddy put their heads together great things happen! Mommy and Daddy started researching boutique pet shops that afternoon, they wrote our business plan, found our building, made a logo with big brothers paw print, and put our premium supply chain in place.
This is the story of how my big brother and me helped Mommy and Daddy create Stewie's Healthy Paws, a healthy pet market for dogs and cats. One more thing, when I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about Stewie's Healthy Paws, and that our store would provide premium foods, treats, essential pet supplies, and grooming services, I jumped up in Mommy's lap and gave her tons of kisses! Me and Mommy know that Stewie's Healthy Paws was meant to be. Mommy says I am magical and that big brother is guiding us to a peaceful and happy life. You see, my family rescued me and together me and my big brother rescued our family. Now, I get to go to work with my Mommy and Daddy every day! I am loved.