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What a year, am I right?

We say this at the end of every year, but WOW, what a year it’s been for us!

Our Kailua store has really come into its own, with a real sense of ohana in the Kailua community; our Calvin & Susie line of pet products for at home, at play, in the pantry, and on-the-go has grown beyond our expectations and continues to give pets near and far a touch of aloha.

The business side of Calvin & Susie is doing well, and we’re so happy that we get to keep on serving you and your pets. But what we’re really thankful for, what really gave us purpose during this admittedly turbulent 2016, were our customers.


Whenever you and/or your furry family member came into our store, you brightened our day and reminded us that we do what we do for the love of animals. You may not have known it, but your smiles (both yours and your pet’s!) and goodwill helped us through those tough days when we were exhausted from unloading deliveries, were cross-eyed from staring at the computer, or were just fighting off the sniffles.

So here are just a few of our staff’s favorite memories from 2016.

Thank you for sharing your year with us!

Leah: “…seeing how much they care about fur friends in need has been humbling…”

This holiday season has been truly wonderful with our customers.

It was a joy to create and give out the Thanksgiving Cornucopia baskets to the customers who were picked from the drawing. We received a lovely email from one of the winners that brought me to tears, and reminded me why we take such care selecting our products and helping our customers find the right items for their pets.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte event was so much fun too; watching the pups come in for a special treat!

And finally, the By the Chimney with Care Donation [and adoption!] event has swelled my heart seeing how generous all of our customers are. We truly have the BEST customers at Calvin & Susie, and seeing how much they care about fur friends in need has been humbling and heart warming.

I am grateful for these beautiful moments this holiday season and all throughout the year.

Ash: “Some take care of dogs who aren’t their own.”

We have very generous customers. Some take care of dogs who aren’t their own. One constantly buys dog treats for their neighborhood dogs. One buys food AND treats for her boss’ dogs without receiving a cent back. Another, I just found out, has been taking care of his neighbor’s dog for the past seven years! The dog is neglected, I think, so he’s been feeding it and taking care of it. Another customer had three packs of Primal Raw Meaty Bones and gave a bag to a leaving customer who had expressed interest in them, but was going to try them another time. A young couple was the first to donate a box of Cloud Star biscuits to our Kapahulu “chimney” [for our By the Chimney with Care Donation Drive benefiting rescue dogs and cats]; they said they’d be back – with their dog – to donate another item.

Stephen: “…I love them, and they’re so cute that I don’t care.”

Sometimes when we’re giving dogs treats [in the store] they get overzealous and try to “eat” our fingers instead of the treats! Even though it’s not always fun to get your fingers nipped, it doesn’t matter because I love them, and they’re so cute that I don’t care.

Last week, I was giving two separate dogs a treat. When I asked them both to sit, one of them jumped up and playfully nipped at my fingers to get the treat. As soon as I turned my head, the other dog did the same thing! So I got nipped at on both hands, but it was okay because they were really cute and I know they didn’t mean it! (Plus one of them has an underbite so I know he couldn’t help it!)

Nips aside (or kind of because of them?) it’s still worth it to work here!

Joanna: “…she had grown so attached to the new dog that she decided to adopt him.”

A customer who had recently lost her dog came in to the store with a dog that she was fostering from a nearby shelter. Though she was still very sad over the loss of her beloved dog, she admitted that her new foster helped her cope with the loss.

A few weeks later, that same customer came in with her foster dog and announced that she had indeed “failed” at being a foster. The customer said that she had grown so attached to the new dog that she decided to adopt him. She said that there was a term for this phenomenon but she could not recall what it was. I told her it was called “foster failure”! She laughed and agreed that that was the term her friend had used. I told her that I was a foster failure too (with my dog Jakey) and that it’s actually a positive event. I shared my own foster failure story with her and admitted that this was something that I was proud to have failed at.

Kevin: “…ever so gently ‘hugging’ you…always brought a smile to my face.”

My favorite memory is about a therapy dog who used to visit our store all the time, but sadly he is no longer sharing his warmth and joy with us on this earth.

Seeing him come in with that bag of treats in his mouth and ever so gently “hugging” you by coming up and nudging you, it always brought a smile to my face. One time, his mom had an emergency and needed someone to dog-sit for a couple hours; so we welcomed him at the store. He just laid down behind the cash register, basking in the air conditioning. He was so calm and at home, that customers assumed he was the store dog. They would ask where “our” golden retriever was, the next time they came in!

We’re all so sad that this special boy had to cross the Rainbow Bridge, but his presence made 2016 (and all the years he spent with us) so much brighter.

Joanna: “Their kindness and generosity inspire me to be a more selfless person.”

(Yes this is Joanna’s second story, but who’s counting when it comes to good memories?)

I am always in awe of customers who come in here to buy high quality food/treats for pets that they don’t own. Their kindness and generosity inspire me to be a more selfless person.

I recall helping a customer who was searching for a pet food that had minimal ingredients, high protein, and made from a clean source. We finally settled on ZiwiPeak. When I went to ring her up for her large bag of ZiwiPeak food (over $150), I asked her for her pet’s name so that I could assign the purchase to her pet’s profile.

She told me that she did not own a pet – she was purchasing the food for her neighbor’s dog. She said that her neighbor is elderly, and that she helps him out by taking care of his dog. She explained that her neighbor feeds the dog Dog Chow, but she wanted to find a food that has a higher quality of protein, with minimal ingredients, since she suspects that the dog has food allergies. She continues to purchase the food on a regular basis for her neighbor’s dog.

I also have a customer who told me that she helps to take care of the feral cats that inhabit an area near her work place. She regularly purchases large bags of Orijen 6 Fish Cat food and told me that she once spent over $1500 on oral surgery for one of the cats.

Louise: “I truly do wish to offer that work as a gift.”

As Calvin & Susie’s resident “Internet Mistress” (Social Media Manager), I don’t get to be in the stores i.e. with the furry customers, as much as I’d like. But that doesn’t mean that 2016 with Calvin & Susie didn’t tug at my heartstrings.

My favorite part of my job is that I get to read all the kind, happy, and often hilarious comments from you, our customers. Nothing makes my day like getting a Facebook message or email from one of you saying, “I never thought I’d find a food for my allergic dog…her skin has finally cleared up!” or “Your staff was so caring, they really took the time to get to know my dog…” And of course, “My dog insists we come in for treats!”

You have no idea how happy it makes us (and me!) when you and your furry family members are happy!

But most recently, the interaction that moved me most came from a designer we worked with. Graphic designer Katie Grip donated her time, talent, and energy to create a poster for our By the Chimney with Care Donation Drive to benefit rescue cats and dogs in Hawai‘i. When I asked her if I could send her some C&S treats as a thank you, she responded with, “Thank you for the sweet offer. I truly do wish to offer that work as a gift.” She went on to say that, keeping in mind how rough the year has been for a lot of people, she is “committed to volunteering and donating what I can at this time.”

Sometimes in everyday business dealings it’s easy to forget that there are living, breathing people beyond our computer screens. But Katie reminded me that a lot of those people have big hearts and generous spirits. Katie’s generosity was just the thing I needed to end 2016 on a high note!

Thank to everyone who helped make 2016 happy and positive – not just for us, but for our furry friends too! We look forward to seeing what new adventures 2017 has in store!

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and give a treat to your furry family member for us!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

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