After 20 Years in New Canaan, Village Critter Outfitter To Close Thursday

New Canaan’s independently owned pet store, for two decades a pillar of the business and animal rescue communities, will close for good this week, its owner said. Calling the coming “consolidation” a mutual decision between herself and Pet Pantry Warehouse, Village Critter Outfitter owner and New Canaan Dog Days founder Shirleen Dubuque said the Cherry Street store will close at 6 p.m. Thursday. “It is totally bittersweet,” Dubuque said as long-faced, longtime customers came into the shop downtown, many of them with their leashed dogs in tow. “The relationships that have grown through this business, you can’t buy. They have evolved, we have created really wonderful relationships here.”

Pet Pantry purchased Village Critter Outfitter and Dubuque said she will help with the transition and store fixture Abbey Schettino will make the move to the Grove Street business.

SLIDESHOW, VIDEO: New Canaan Dog Days 2014

[acx_slideshow name=”New Canaan Dog Days 2014″] [To pause the “New Canaan Dog Days 2014” slideshow above and get some information about the dogs pictured there, just move over it with your mouse.]

Adam and Molly Fewster recently moved into an in-town home in New Canaan from Charlotte, N.C. with their human daughter and Charlie, a 7-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever. Out for a stroll on a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon, the family began seeing signs for the annual New Canaan Dog Days event and decided to check it out—they were glad they did, as it offered up a nice social space for the Lab to do what he likes best. “He likes laying around in the backyard, sunbathing and playing with his little sister here, that’s about it,” Adam Fewster said as dozens of dogs and people milled about a cordoned off section of Cherry Street for the popular gathering of area canines. “He likes to chill out, lay on the couch and go for walks downtown.”

Presented by Village Critter Outfitter, New Canaan’s independently owned pet shop, and co-chaired by Aetheria Relaxation Spa, New Canaan Dog Days saw Cherry cordoned off for three hours between Main and East Avenue while dog-people entered their four-legged family members in fun contests, collected giveaways such as tennis balls, received great information from local sponsors and participating businesses and all in the name of benefitting two area, animal-focused nonprofit organizations. “It’s going fantastic,” Village Critter Outfitter owner Shirleen Dubuque said during a brief break in the day.

Talking ‘New Canaan Dog Days’ with Village Critter Outfitter’s Shirleen Dubuque

The extremely popular New Canaan Dog Days will be held 12 to 3 p.m. Sunday on Cherry Street downtown, presented by locally owned business mainstays Village Critter Outfitter and Aetheria Relaxation Spa. Benefitting pet-focused nonprofits PAWS and STARelief, Dog Days is a grassroots effort that is supported largely by Village Critter Owner Shirleen Dubuque (also owner of some lovely rescue dogs and other pets). We had a chance to catch up with Dubuque and put some questions to her about her own business and its niche, how New Canaan Dog Days has evolved since its 2009 launch and what our four-legged pals can expect of the event. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: One of the things that’s special about New Canaan Dog Days is that it was created and continues to be driven by local, independent businesses such as yours, where the owner is on site and that special small-town, village center feel is alive.

Peeking behind New Canaan Dog Days

On Sunday, New Canaan will see hundreds of town residents and their dogs descend on a cordoned-off portion Cherry Street for an annual, grassroots community event that organizers say is designed to celebrate our unconditional love for four-legged family members. New Canaan Dog Days—presented by our town’s owner-on-site pet store, Village Critter Outfitter, and local business Aetheria Relaxation Spa, both on Cherry Street—runs 12 to 3 p.m. on June 8. It benefits a pair of animal-focused nonprofits: STARelief, which provides life-saving pet food, veterinary care and medications to families in need with the goal of keeping pets out of shelters and in their homes; and PAWS, which rescues dogs and cats, offers shelter, takes care of medical issues and provides adoption services. Locally based event sponsors include New Canaan Veterinary Hospital, Bankwell, Fern’s Pet & House Sitting and To preview the event, we connected with Fern Pessin, who produces it, as well as Shirleen Dubuque, owner (and owner-on-site) of Village Critter Outfitter and Beth McCarthy of Aetheria Relaxation Spa.

Q&A: CT Dog Rescue Group Coming Saturday to Village Critter Outfitter

A Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters where they’ll be euthanized because they’re sick, there’s no space or just that their “time is up” is coming to New Canaan’s independently owned pet store Saturday to talk about its fostering program. Green Fur Kidz will also bring some of its rescue dogs to Village Critter Outfitter on Cherry Street for the 12 to 3 p.m. event. took the opportunity of the Green Fur Kidz visit to put some questions to Shirleen Dubuque, on-site owner of Village Critter—who not only invites rescue organizations into the store but last weekend was very hands-on in rescuing a lost dog herself. We talked a bit about Village Critter’s active participation in animal rescue, and found out some things we didn’t know about Dubuque herself, including the singular fact that she is that rarest of breeds among us pet folks: Cat-lover and dog-lover at the same time. Here’s our exchange.