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Where’s My Mealworm?

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor

The store is a sight to see; it should be renamed a museum. The question is what type of museum it is going to fall into being labeled? From the exterior, you figure you’ll  be walking into an antique carnival museum, kind of like the the one down on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

But it’s not an antique carnival museum, it’s somewhat of an antique shop, but mostly it’s a feed and animal supply store, which is stated in its name, The List Feed Store and Animal Supply. It’s just that the name and purpose aren’t really noticed when passing by on Highway 6 in Santa Fe.

What catches your eye, depending on which direction you are going, might be the huge chicken statue or what looks like the seats of an old carnival ride. Open the door, step inside and clanging bells or a friendly hello are what you hear. 

Looking around, if you are a person born during another era, you notice a whole lot of stuff that looks familiar. The shop hosts countless iconic advertising memorabilia from ages gone by. 

The aroma of animal food and animals begins to enlighten your awareness of what you have just entered. Then you see leashes and collars. You turn to your right and note the feed tins. Pet supplies. Yes, it’s a creative pet supply shop, you think. 

Wandering around, your eyes catch on the little turtles, iguanas, finches, fish, snakes and other small animals. Then you know that you are also in a pet store. You know it’s a pet store and not a zoo because there are prices written on the glass of the aquariums. 

The building is at least 100 years old and has been selling feed supplies under one owner or another for as long as anyone can remember. 

Dorina and Greg manage the store, but you would think the animals are in charge when you step inside. They do seem to hold a place of reverence. For instance, Kaiser the rooster goes feed shopping with his human on a regular basis and perches right on top of the counter.

Kaiser occupies himself on with the antique coin counting machine. Meanwhile, Dorina counts out the mealworms he will be enjoying for the next several days. He eats 30 mealworms a day. His human likes him a lot and indulges him.

The next customer comes into the shop looking for normal chicken feed and does not have a chicken in her arms. 

Another customer brings his poodle into the shop for grooming by a licensed pet groomer. 

Loving animals is on the top of the list to hold down the shop and both Dorina and Greg have a deep fondness for animals. “I don’t think I sit down till it’s time to go to bed, you have to really love this to do this kind of work,” said Dorina.

Her personal pet is a Sugar Glider, which is a flying squirl. It did try to fly but didn’t get very far. 

Greg loves animals and tends to them, but what he was hired on to do was build the cabinets and shelving units per the owner’s directions. This includes hidden stalls filled with horse supplies and equipment. 

The doors to the stalls are not recognized as doors until you ask staff to show you what’s going on and then voila, there are the bridles, bits, reins, halters, and other items needed for riding a horse. 

Greg now does all necessary handyman work at the store along with animal care. 

Tracie works at the shop tending to the animals as well. She makes sure the birds have fresh water, cleans up messes, and proudly cuddles the kittens. “I do a lot of detail work for the animals,” said Tracie.  Plus, she shows off her Yorkshire, which is for sale via the shop.

Though they love the animals under their care, they know they are temporary caregivers. “This place is a stopover for all the animals. They are here waiting for their best friends to take them home,” shared all three.

Even if you don’t need pet supplies or want to go home with a cute little animal, the staff treats you like a guest. They take pride in the amusement they can offer to people who wander into the store.

The store’s owner handed full-time management of the shop to Dorina and Greg about a year ago. Though they don’t own the store, they care for it and all the little critters within the property and the customers too with a wholehearted approach.

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