In a Mid-City pet specialty store, two eager pooches wait by the door to welcome visitors. Each guest's species determines which dog will greet him or her. "Sabra's more of our dog greeter, and Chyna's more of our person greeter," says Jessie Thompson, who owns and operates Fetch! Mid-City (3536 Toulouse St., 373-5417; www.fetchmidcity.com) with her husband Nick.
Chyna, an 8-year-old Weimaraner, and Sabra, a 6-year-old Weimaraner/Labrador mix, were both rescued by the Thompsons. Chyna was found abandoned after Hurricane Katrina. When the couple adopted Chyna, they were both working full time, so the dog was alone most of the day. They decided to get Chyna a friend, but weren't sure she'd get along with another dog. Sabra came to the couple from a friend who rescued her in Baton Rouge. "(Chyna and Sabra) met on the neutral ground," Nick says. "They sniffed each other; they didn't kill each other. We were like, 'We'll take her.'"
Named after reality TV stars, the dogs have similar backgrounds but very different personalities. Chyna, named after the female wrestler, was very high-strung at first. These days she is the mellower of the two, and she loves to cuddle."She's our dog that I really do think is a person reincarnated," Jessie says. "She's got people mannerisms." Sabra, on the other hand, is much more energetic.
Named after a winner of So You Think You Can Dance, Sabra is always ready to play. "I'll take her on a five-mile jog in the morning through City Park," Nick says. "We'll get home and it's hot and I'm drenched in sweat and she's like, 'That's it?'" The pair does share one trait, however, and that is the love of the hunt. "My parents have a camp in Mississippi and when we go out there they both turn into, like, majestic hunting dogs," Jessie says. "[They] will catch any duck, bird (or) squirrel."
After Katrina, the Thompsons noticed a lack of quality pet stores in the city, and made frequent trips to Metairie for their canine needs. Nick and Jessie wanted to provide the very best health and nutrition to Chyna and Sabra and thought about filling that niche themselves. "If I can't buy it in Mid-City, I'll open a store," Nick says. The two came across the location while jogging along Bayou St. John and decided it would be the perfect place to set up shop.
The store carries all things canine, including food, toys, treats and other supplies. There is a full-time groomer on staff. Specialties include healthy, all-natural foods and snacks, including those for raw diets, and local, fresh-baked dog treats. The Thompsons are always looking for new brands and products and adjust their inventory based on customers' needs. Fortunately, they've got their own product testers.
"We try everything on these two," Jessie says, gesturing toward the dogs. Customers often ask which products Nick and Jessie give Chyna and Sabra, because they look so healthy. "They're our best sales people, these two dogs," Nick says.
Our Favotire things
Walking along the bayou in City Park
Raw frozen bones
Cuddling (Chyna) and swimming (Sabra)