IT’S ALL GOOD: ‘Brenda’s’ is an animal-lover’s paradise

I just love small town living. It gives me a warm, cozy feeling that I don’t believe I would find in a city. It makes me feel like I’m home, no matter where I am.

And I especially feel at home at Brenda’s Main Street Feed, located in Durham. It is a paradise for animal lovers.

When I walk through the door I am greeted by Seele, Brenda’s Rottweiler. Seele always gives me the once-over, sniffing me from head to toe, because I have just come from working at a kennel. And while she is so occupied I hug her and kiss her on the head, and she makes happy noises. It sounds like a grumble, but to me it is really a “Please don’t stop” kind of thing, or so I like to think. I just love throwing my arms around this big bundle of love.

As I move further into the store I am careful to watch my step. A chicken who goes by the name of Lucy is running around, and if that doesn’t make me feel like I live in the country, I don’t know what would.

Years ago, when I walked in, Brenda was on a stepladder with a different chicken perched on her head. Neither she nor the chicken batted an eye, like this scenario was the most natural thing in the world.

Lucy is not the only critter who has the run of the place. There’s a Mini Lop rabbit – Ally is her name – hopping about. She’s brown and white and beautiful, and does not seem to be afraid of any of us. And she loves Brenda, following her every footstep.

Then there was George, a big gray and white cat. I say “was” because he left this earthly realm years ago. But forgotten he is not. He was such a character. For some unknown reason, he loved to lie on people’s handbags that they laid on the counter. You could count on it every time. He was a large fellow, so retrieving your handbag was no easy feat. I seem to remember Brenda luring him off the aforementioned handbag with treats. Maybe he thought he was guarding my millions. That was nice of him.

I’ve been a Brenda’s Main Street Feed customer for 35 years now, so I’ve seen a few dogs and cats come and go. They have always felt like family to me. Well, not the snake. There was a snake for a while, kept in an aquarium behind the counter, and it was the only time I was glad to be near-sighted. Not a fan.

And it’s not just the critters that are such a delight. The people are, too.

I am always given a warm welcome as soon as I cross the threshold. I feel like these folks are happy to see me, and when they ask me how I’m doing, they really want to know.

Small town living. There’s nothing like it.


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