Home For Peculiar Animals: Ms Jay, The Unsung Hero

The likes of it was unheard of, at least to me. An hour ago, the name J Jay Pet Station was unfamiliar but it only took so little to impress. Nestled in between two shop lots in Kota Damansara, Malaysia, is a well-furbished signage along with a distinct brown venetian blinds emblazoned with an inviting “Welcome”. The interior, however, tells a different story. Unlike many fancy pet stores, this was without frills and grandeur. From the touch of the cold cement floor to the animals that made it what it is, I knew then it wasn’t just an ordinary pet store. And little did I know, that in the heart of it lies an unassuming iron lady. Hers is a journey borne out of wits, courage and sheer passion. Welcome to Ms Jay’s home for the most peculiar animals.

exterior of Ms Jay, J Jay pet store
Behind the Venetian blinds is a world unlike any other…

Introducing Ms Jay

I walked to the rear end of the store and caught sight of a lady grooming a rabbit. To my surprise, the rabbit seemed to be at such ease with her touch. She plainly introduced herself as Jay with a welcoming smile. “I started this 10 years ago with the sole aim of helping animals. No doubt we are a for-profit business but as you can see we do it rather differently,” said Ms Jay.

Ms Jay pictured with a rabbit.
Ms Jay’s work with animals especially rabbits has made her a darling amongst rabbit owners. She knows everything there is to know about rabbits.
Source: Image from J Jay Pet Station’s Facebook

When I first entered the store, I was greeted by a brown English loop rabbit named Peter. And then, my eyes quickly turned to the many rabbits and cats in their respective cages. It became obvious that these pets were all rescued from a state of neglect so that they could have a better home in the future. “That is the core of my business. After almost a decade, it had always been about their welfare before mine,” explained Ms Jay.

Ms Jay The Accountant?

Indeed, it was a rare sight to see a young woman so passionate about her career, to the point where her own needs come second. “I had always loved animals at a very young age but I never in my wildest dream thought I would own a pet store. Before J Jay Pet Station, I was an accountant but I realised it wasn’t my calling. And so, the idea to open a pet store just dawned on me. Of course, along the way, there were plenty of challenges and red tapes to overcome. From having zero knowledge about running a pet store, I had to work my way up the hard way,” exclaimed Ms Jay.

Ms Jay having a light hearted moment with her rabbit.
Introducing the iron lady behind J Jay Pet Station, Ms Jay with one of the rabbits in her pet store.
Source: Image from J Jay Pet Station’s Facebook

A Pet Store With A Heart

Vanity can easily overtake wisdom. It usually overtakes common sense.

Julian Casablancas, AMerican singer & song writer

The human heart is a peculiar thing. Undoubtedly, we tend to desire the beautiful things in life without giving its content much thought. As long as it looks good so that others can be pea-green with envy. Now, take away the element of vanity and you will understand the need for J Jay Pet Station.

white rabbit with a fractured leg.
This looks like a flawless white rabbit, isn’t it so? Look carefully at her rear legs. This white rabbit hops with its three functional limbs, dragging the injured left hind leg just to move. These are just a few of the rabbits that were rescued from cruelty and neglect.

“People only want to buy or adopt pedigree animals simply because they look robust. Who would want something inferior to that?” lamented Ms Jay. Remember when Dr Jezamine Lim Iskandar, our local celebrity adopted a two-legged dog and drew criticism because she is a Muslim convert? While many were quick to mudsling (dogs are regarded as ritually impure in Islam), it is that very altruistic human quality that is needed to make a lasting impact. J Jay Pet Station is, by far, the only pet store in the area that has proven to be the unsung hero for these crippled animals.

a cute brown rabbit
Some of the rabbits here have been left for months or years without a home. Ms Jay houses and nurtures them until they are adopted by suitable families.

Rescued, Not Pedigree Bred

The inner workings of J Jay Pet Station are truly unique. Besides pet boarding, its star occupants are rabbits and cats, either rescued by Ms Jay or other good Samaritans. Then comes the medical care for each rescued stray which can amass to thousands of ringgit! After which, comes the long wait to be adopted by a kind-hearted soul. Ms Jay usually subjects her potential clients to an interview before deciding on their adoption. Once successful, she then duly charges a minimal adoption fee. Now, the whole process seemed ordinary, but here is the beautiful twist. If, in the event the owner is unable to care for the pet, Ms Jay will reimburse the full amount and attempt to find a new home for the pet. How many pet stores can add that to their credentials?

cute little bunny for adoption
This little cutie with a wounded leg was adopted and returned because it couldn’t get along with another rabbit. Ms Jay refunded the adoption fee and is now searching for a new home.
an ill rabbit under Ms Jay care
Not everything in life is pretty but that doesn’t mean there is no silver lining. This ill rabbit recently underwent surgery for an infected cyst around the eye is being cared for diligently by Ms Jay. No one will ever adopt her and so Ms Jay took it upon herself to give it the best possible care.

The Good, The Bad…

“We are not an NGO, but we operate like one with little support. After a decade, I even felt like throwing in the towel… I can’t do it on my own.”

Ms JAY OF J JAY PET Station

I could understand the root of her frustrations. “I guess it is heartbreaking that people don’t see animals as an equal. Taking them into one’s home is a lifelong responsibility. They are not objects but living breathing creatures just like us,” said Ms Jay.

Chinchilla for adoption at J Jay.
They may be different from us but it doesn’t make them any less inferior. Meet the resident chinchilla at J Jay Pet Station.

One of the most frustrating things is when pet owners do not do their homework before buying or adopting. “For example, I once had a client coming in to enquire about rabbit shampoo, and I advised her against bathing the rabbit. But she then questioned the availability of shampoo products for rabbits in the market. I do not fault her for such a question but by doing proper research we are only doing our furry friend good. Another frustration is the idea of buying pets as gifts. Unless you are absolutely certain that the pet will be well taken care of, do not ever encourage it,” explained Ms Jay.

A cat waiting for adoption at J Jay pet store
Pets are not toys to be gifted. Remember, just like humans, they need to be cared for the right way. Most of the rescued cats have suffered some form of injuries and are nowhere near perfect but they deserve a good home.

… And The Ugly

Whilst most pet stores see profit as a necessity, J Jay Pet Station is quite the opposite. “I never got into it for the money but I’m beginning to feel the pinch of it. Clearly, we are not an NGO but we function like one. Imagine doing it with little support from anyone just because we are not a non-profit group,” remarked Ms Jay. Whatever profit she makes loops back to paying for the welfare of these animals without much consideration for her own needs.

wounded rabbit nursed by Ms Jay
Profit is the last thing on Ms Jay’s mind. This scraggy bunny was rescued by a loving couple who then brought it over to Ms Jay for rehabilitation. On a happy note, the couple took full responsibility for it and this rabbit now has a good home.
Meet Stormi, a rabbit that was abandoned in a car park in Kuala Lumpur few months ago. A good Samaritan rescued Stormi from an appalling and scraggly condition (picture above) and brought it to J Jay Pet Station for proper care and nurture. Finally she was adopted and now (picture below), Stormi is a healthy and fluffy white rabbit. Source: Image from Farhanna Roslan

The J Jay Hope During Difficult Times

“Have you ever taken a day off?” I enquired. She smiled and said “Even if I did, I can’t remember.” With minimal staffing, Ms Jay took it upon herself to oversee much of its operations, foregoing thoughts of returning home to her visit her mother in Kelantan (10-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur), let alone holidaying for the past decade.

Celebrating J Jay 10 years in the business.
Recently J Jay Pet Station celebrated its 10th anniversary in style! The interior is simple but brimming with passion and love. Source: Image from J Jay Pet Station’s Facebook

Once a naysayer on the use of publicity and social media marketing, she now acquiesced to it. “Initially, it was easier to throw in the towel than to do business the right way. But things have sort of turned around with the support of good friends and investors. I am beginning to see the power of media in making a change for these animals. Our ultimate aim is to become a holistic pet centre, providing education and healthcare for rabbits and cats,” enthused Ms Jay.

And The Great 2020 Pandemic Hits

Like many other affected businesses during MCO, J Jay Pet Station is still tiding over the storm but with gusto. When the MCO was imposed, her staff couldn’t report to work. She did not think twice about staying put in the shop for months. With only a cardboard as her bed, she single-handedly ran the store out of pure dedication and passion for days on end.

“They need our help now more than ever, but I cannot do it on my own. I hope that the culture of adopting rather than buying permeates. Give them a chance for they too deserve a new lease of life.”

ms jay, j jay pet station owner
Ms Jay and her hamsters
There is a sense of belonging for these animals here. No doubt, they are the outcast but Ms Jay has created a safety bubble for them. Who would like to adopt these adorable hamsters at J Jay Pet Station?

The Voice For The Voiceless…

I watched her groom a rabbit that was up for adoption. “Let us try, if it doesn’t work out I’m always here for you,” she whispered into the rabbit’s ears. She was once asked a simple question. What is the one thing you want most right now? Her answer moved me deeply. “Besides being the voice for these voiceless animals, I want to be able to see my mother back at home,” said Ms Jay.

I left holding back my tears. In my life I had come across people of all sorts, but Ms Jay is a rare jewel. To emulate her work requires a profound sense of passion and dedication. It is something that most of us can only dream about. For only needing the simple yet poignant things in life to achieve a remarkable feat, I envied her. For championing the rights of these unfortunate yet adorable animals, and for loving them when others wouldn’t, J Jay Pet Station is the true definition of this adage:

‘Amidst all the bangs, dramas and grand passions, it’s kindness and just ordinary goodness that stands out in the end.’

Grant Morrison, Scottish playwright and comic book writer
Meet Ms Jay's pet Sachin
A little bit of kindness goes a long way. Meet Sachin, the resident dog at J Jay Pet Station. She is a stray who found comfort and home under Ms Jay’s care.

Ms Jay Needs Your Help

If you can provide a home for the above animals, do drop my J Jay Pet Station for further details. Also any form of donations to help cover the medical bills for these rescued animals are highly appreciated. Visit J Jay Pet Station’s Facebook and Instagram for more details on their noble efforts.

But if you’d rather adopt a rescue dog instead, consider your local animal rescue centres, like SPCA, PAWS, or any private rescue centres. Adopt, don’t buy, and save a life along the way.

Jeevitha KUMAR

About Jeevitha KUMAR

Hiker, mountain climber, diver, globe trotter, and all-round adventurer, she is probably one of a handful of medical doctors who has left her footprints (almost) all over the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*