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Jenn Hatfield’s favorite part of the pet shop is spending time with the animals and getting to know them better.
Reagan Gen­siejewski | Col­legian.

Strolling along Howell Street in downtown Hillsdale, the casual observer might miss the small, wooden sign with green and white paint that reads, “Nature’s Call Pet Shop.” Those who enter, however, will expe­rience the pet shop’s unique atmos­phere made pos­sible by the owner, John Hat­field.

Upon entering “Nature’s Call Pet Shop,” cus­tomers meet animals they wouldn’t typ­i­cally find. A parrot and an iguana roam freely, greeting cus­tomers as they enter. Fish tanks line the walls in varying shades of blue. Across the aisle, rats, ham­sters, and snakes scurry and slither around their cages, and Rolo, a friendly rabbit, hops curi­ously around cus­tomers’ feet.

Hillsdale’s pet shop started almost seven years ago when Hat­field decided that the town deserved a pet shop done dif­fer­ently. Since its inception, Hat­field staffed the shop with a knowl­edgable team who can inform cus­tomers of the needs and char­ac­ter­istics of their animal. This includes matching people with the animal that would best fit them and their lifestyle.

Caring for animals was a hobby of Hatfield’s as a child, and it grew into a career when he began to help a friend out with his pet shop. That is where he learned most about how to care for animals and realized his passion for tending to animals and placing them in good homes. After his friend’s pet shop closed, Hat­field wanted to open one of his own. Born and raised in Hillsdale, he chose to open the store where his passion all began.

Hat­field is as up front as pos­sible with cus­tomers, he said, and pro­vides detailed guide­lines about long-term care for animals.

“It is better for them to know now than to figure out down the road,” Hat­field said.

He dis­plays his passion for his cus­tomers and animals alike through how seri­ously he takes his job.

“I have lives depending on me,” he said as he cleaned a fish tank.

Jenn Hat­field, John’s wife, has worked alongside him for seven years. She and her husband make a great team, she said, because they com­mu­nicate with each other so well.

“John is caring. That is the biggest one. He is very helpful. He very much likes to make sure that everyone is edu­cated on what they are taking home with them,” Jenn Hat­field said.

Junior Emma Johnson recently explored the store for the first time and said she was fas­ci­nated by the shop and its admirable owners.

“I talked to Jenn and she was telling me about the bearded dragons they had,” Johnson said. “She told me how some­times the lizards will either wave or fan out their beards to each other. I just thought it was really inter­esting hearing about them.”

Some Hillsdale com­munity animal lovers agree that the store is cap­ti­vating, but rec­ognize it’s a pet shop with a mission: to inform to its cus­tomers so that they may have the best expe­rience.

Jenn Hat­field empha­sized that the shop focuses on informing cus­tomers of all the animal needs, maybe more than other pet providers like Walmart.

“It is important to have a good expe­rience here, but it is more important to be able to go home and enjoy what you got,” Jenn Hat­field said. “That is our goal here.”