These Pets Mean Business

Take your pick —  fur, feathers or scales — pets have been intertwined with human life for thousands of years and even though we don’t speak the same language, the bonds that are created are undeniable.

According to a 2017-18 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of households in the U.S. own at least one pet and with good reason — there are many benefits of pet ownership beyond  the utilitarian reasons of protection or rodent control. Studies show that spending time with animals  can produce many positive physical and psychological effects including reduced levels of stress, increased fitness, decreased blood pressure, increased socialization, decreased depression and increased level
of happiness. 

Pets can provide companionship, help with making new friends and help people learn to be  responsible. As a society we LOVE our pets —cuddly, cute and full of personality, we sometimes even bring them to work and having a pet or two at a small business can be an extra plus, proving to be an attraction all on their own.

It’s fun to visit a business that has an animal helper and growing up I loved hearing a story about a bar/ restaurant in a small mountain town with a cage of six chatty Minah birds. Locals and visitors would flock to see and “talk” with the birds located on the stairway transition between the two business sections. The birds were smart, great imitators and entertaining to the many customers right up until the day they began repeating a fight between the owners, complete with cursing and the sound of crashing dishes (the birds disappeared shortly after and were greatly missed).


Although none repeat stories, you won’t have to travel far to find some personable public pets, just visit some of Santa Margarita’s small businesses or  pop over to the library to find some friendly, feathered or furry celebrities.


Starting at the East end of El Camino Real, across  from Pacific Beverage, you can find Pecky, the newest “pet” to help inspire and entertain Peg Grady at Studio 58. Pecky, first thought to be an escaped canary by his singing, is actually a young California Scrub Jay who Peg has trained to come down for peanuts. Pecky now even comes inside the studio to perch on a table or chair, patiently awaiting his treat. 

Larry 1

Next door, at The Educated Gardener, you will be welcomed by the crowing of Larry, a personable silky rooster, often out on bug patrol and taking care of his two hens. While there, you will likely be greeted by Theo,  a beautiful blue eyed Siamese, the true owner of the nursery, in charge of pest control, pettings and food scheduling.  

As you continue to walk West crossing Encina St. you will find Jinx, a rather rotund, green eyed buddha  of a black Manx cat (actually Theo’s brother), who resides in the back patio of Rosalina’s.  Jinx is in charge of rodent control but is happiest just being a big cuddly teddy bear/ mushy, lovey cat, full of purrs and affection for his adoring fans. 


Your third stop is near the Post Office at Something Blue ­— Fine Sewing and Wedding Alterations. Here you will be ushered in by Primo, an adorable Welsh Corgi who is “great for putting nervous brides at ease” being  just the right size with a big personality. Primo is a big hit with the customers, giving high-fives, rolling over and showing off his “downward dog” moves.

Continuing a few doors down to the blue quonset hut that houses Margarita Bikes and Huston Saddles and Tack you will find Buck (short for buckle) the saddle shop cat. Buck, a big, orange, friendly tabby, is a transformed, previously feral, craigslist rescue cat from San Jose.  Buck is popular with kids in town. He’s not shy or afraid of dogs and will even  run out to see any who pass by.

If your timing is right, across the street at Pintor’s Gas Station, you will be greeted by Happy and Feta, two beautiful Australian Shepherds who come to work with their owner  Memo. Happy is appropriately named because he is always happy to greet customers and eager to play a game. Feta is the alpha female who keeps things in check.

Our last and most famous public pet can be found at the Santa Margarita Library, here you’ll visit Maddy, a sleek and sheek black tuxedo cat with golden eyes. Her owner was beloved Margarita resident and active community member, Anne McMahon, who was instrumental in founding the Friends of the Santa Margarita Library and frequently attended meetings at the Community Hall. Since Annes passing, Maddy has carried on with duties, often overseeing library patrons and making sure any meetings at the Community Hall run smoothly. 

Santa Margarita’s pets mean business and are ready to welcome you town in trade for some smiles, laughs, pats, belly rubs or a few treats.