Sara and I met through a soccer team we were on for several years. I have always known her as bubbly, smart, and positive. When me and my husband got married, we adopted our kitty Luna! Sara was actually the one who helped us at Petsmart when we adopted her. Luna’s original name was Gumball! We fell in love with that little kitty almost instantly. Sara was full of good and helpful information as we were new to owning a pet and especially new to owning a cat. I am so appreciative to her about helping us become parents to the cutest fur baby and also being able to give me information on helping to care for my pet I have now, and possible future pets! I interviewed Sara Parker about her experience working at Petsmart. She talks about what she learned, what her recommendations are, and some advice to those looking to get pets! Thank you, Sara!

I hope you all take something away from this interview, if you are a parent to a pet, thinking about getting one or a second one, etc. Let me know in the comments what you’ve learned and what was helpful to you! 

 What made you want to work with animals?

I like animals more than people honestly! They don’t know right from wrong so they can’t be cruel or self-serving, they just do what they can survive; and with domestic animals, they love you unconditionally and it makes me happy to see them, cuddle them, pet them, and just be around them, knowing they’re loved and cared for. They just make me happy.

Did you go through any training when you first started at Petsmart?

Yes, I did an online training that took about 4 hours, but most of my acquired knowledge came from hands on work. I shadowed two managers and two experienced workers for about a week, they taught me most of what I know.

Were there any animals in specific that you worked closely with?

I worked with all the animals. One of the jobs of pet care employees is to take care of the sick animals. Most often we had hamsters who had wet tail, (very common, basically diarrhea for hamsters which can be deadly if not treated), and guinea pigs with ring worm, (less common, but spreads easily through contact), so I became very familiar with them.

What were some experiences/advice that you have from working with animals that could help people better take care of their pets?

Do your research, and if you don’t know, ask! Ask forums specifically for your type of animal, call your vet, ask employees who are selling you the animal, they may not know everything but it’s far better than being unprepared.

Do you have any pets yourself? If so, what do you love about having one?

Yes, I have had two bearded dragons, I currently have two cats and a dog, plus some fish. I love the bearded dragons because they’re easy to care for (if a bit expensive at first), and super chill. Plus it’s fun to watch them eat! I love my cats because they’re fun to watch play and have such interesting personalities, and I love my dog because she such a loyal, sweet girl! She just wants to hang around you and both give and get attention.

When someone is considering buying a pet for the first time, what advice would you give them?

Start small and be prepared. Do not get two puppies if you have a full time job that makes you leave home, they’re family, not decor. I hate hamsters personally, but they’re good starter pets, or adopt an older cat, they’re usually pretty self sufficient and don’t require a lot of training. Be ready for the curve balls. They will make you angry. They will make you laugh and cry. Be prepared for any potential costs. Things happen, animals eat something they shouldn’t, they get out, they get in fights, they pee, poop and shed. It all comes with the territory. You have to clean them, clean up after them, you’ll probably have to baby proof some things. Don’t expect it to be easy, but it will be worth it.

If people are just curious and want more information about buying a pet, do you know of any good resources? Would you encourage them coming to Petmart to ask questions and looking around?

Absolutely! Petsmart employees are usually well versed with the care of all animals, and they have pamphlets for every animal that will give you a good starting place to understanding whatever animal you’re interested in. If you want a more exotic pet, there are lots of Facebook groups you can join and ask questions, experienced people on there can help lots! Also, if you’re getting a dog, such as a puppy or adopting an untrained older dog, I would HIGHLY recommend getting training somewhere, somehow. I recommend Tania at the Layton Petsmart, she’s really great, but it will be pricey. That goes back to the be prepared thing.

What did/do you like the most working at Petsmart?

I liked working with the sick animals honestly, you got more one on one time with them, it was hard when they passed as animals sometimes do, but when they got better it was amazing to see the improvement. And when people brought in their dogs and I got to pet them.

If you have any other experiences you would like to share, tips and tricks, or advice, please do so!

GOLDFISH DO NOT DO WELL IN BOWLS, they’re dirty fish and need two gallons of water per one inch of fish and they can get as big as the container they’re in, they’re good for ponds or large tanks. If you want a fish for a bowl, get a betta, but even then I’d recommend a tank with a filter. – If you’re getting a dog, again, do your research! Some dogs are not good for small children, some need to be run everyday, some will lay around all day. Find a breed that works for you and your lifestyle. And if you get one with long hair, curly hair, known to shed a lot, make sure you have enough money to get them professionally groomed every 1-3 months. You do not want to deal with matted dog hair, plus regular grooming helps reduce shed, lowers risk of skin diseases, and makes them smell better. And once you find a groomer you like, stick with them, it’ll make grooming easier and less scary for your dog if they know the person. – If you walk your dog (as you should, everyday) make sure the pavement isn’t too hot for their paw pads in the summer (they can blister), and get booties for the winter, all the salt and chemicals on the ground can also cause blisters on their paws. -Hamsters will eat other hamsters, only have one per cage. – I’ll say it again for the people in the back, IF YOU DON’T KNOW OR NEED HELP, ASK.

My biggest takeaway: Do your best to be prepared, do your research, and ask for help. Also, one thing that I loved that she said was that they know no right from wrong, nothing from them is cruel or malicious. It goes to show how much Sara cares for animals and the genuine love that animals have.