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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?
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.
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.
… 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.
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.
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
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
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.