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Bow Wow Meow Press

Pet Store Gives Him New Leash on Life

by Richard Ilgenfritz (June 2007 - Main Line Times)

PENN VALLEY - You could say Melvin Miller has gone from law to paws. After decades with a very successful law practice, the Gladwyne resident has traded in his career in business and real estate law to help our four-legged friends. Buzz's Bow Wow Meow, a new pet store in the former Albrecht's Market, is Miller's way to combine capitalism and compassion. The name of Miller's store comes from his nickname, "Buzzy." "It's an absolute passion for me now," said Miller during a recent interview.

Miller says his goals for the new store are to help people develop what he calls the human-animal bond and at the same time find new homes for animals that are rescued from puppy mills and confined to shelters. So, how did the 66-year-old go from law to saving animals? "How it all came about is an evolution of about 30 years," Miller explained. In the late 1970s, Miller said, he and a former girlfriend had a dog. When they split up, he unexpectedly realized that he had become emotionally attached to the dog.

After giving the woman his car and "bribing" her two sons with a television set and a motorcycle, he kept the dog. "That's when I learned about the human-animal bond. For the last 30 years, it was like a snowball going downhill," Miller said.

About 25 years ago, Miller became a life member of the Pennsylvania SPCA. Then, sometime during the mid-1980s, he visited the kennels where dogs are kept that were on the verge of being euthanized. What he saw had an impact on him to this day.

"I saw healthy young animals ... and I said there is no reason why they have to be put to sleep," said Miller.
Now, he wants the store to be more than just a place where people can come in and buy pet food, toys and other items for their furry pals. He wants to see a day when puppy mills no longer exist and to help animals in shelters find homes.

One thing that customers won't find inside the store are animals for sale. According to Miller, most of the animals that are sold in pet shops come from puppy mills, places that often breed animals in large quantities and often in inhumane conditions.

Instead, he works with groups, including animal shelters that facilitate adoption of "orphaned" pets.

Although he has no pets for sale, Miller has set up two areas that house cats that are available for adoption through area shelters. Information on the adoption process and those shelters is available at the store. Like legal work he has done for shelters over the last few years, the adoptions are done on a pro bono basis.

"I look at it as a two-way street. Not only are we saving a life that is not human, but they do so much for us," said Miller. "My point is that there are millions of dogs and cats that are healthy and lovable -- or can be lovable with little bit of training -- that are [unnecessarily] euthanized. "We can learn a lot from them," Miller added. "... It's been documented that they lower blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks. There are documented studies that dogs have detected cancer in human beings."

Currently, Miller has three dogs and three cats as well as a horse. All seven of his animals have rescued from shelters, Miller added. For more information on the store, located at 701 E. Montgomery Ave. in Penn Valley, or about the free seminars, visit the Web site at www.buzzysbowwowmeow.com.
Reprinted from the Main Line Times

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