Long-standing Edinburgh pet store to stop stocking animals amid welfare concerns

Craig Davidson and Livvie Innes of Dofos Pet Store on Leith Walk with their dog, Royston.  Pic: Greg Macvean
Craig Davidson and Livvie Innes of Dofos Pet Store on Leith Walk with their dog, Royston. Pic: Greg Macvean
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FOR decades it was the go-to destination for kids across the Capital to drag their parents to in search of a beloved pet.

A menagerie of animals including birds, dogs, cats, reptiles – even a chinchilla – yapped, purred and squawked from all four walls.

But all that is to end as Dofos on Leith Walk announced it will no longer stock pets amid animal welfare 
concerns.

“You look at how many pets are up for adoption and how many pets go unwanted. It sat a little bit funny with me for a while,” said co-owner Craig Davidson.

So Craig and brother Ross plan to team-up with animal shelters to free up more space and find abandoned and mistreated pets homes in a Capital first.

Having recently opened a second branch in Morningside, the brothers hope their radical approach could pave the way for others to follow suit.

“We’ve always done a lot of charity work,” said Craig. “It’s been at the heart of what we’ve wanted to do since we started.

“We’re working with a charity just now for rabbits, so anyone who asks about rabbits we send them to a charity called Rabbits Require Rights.

“Only time will tell whether this clicks on. We’ve got a groomer up in our new shop in Morningside and we’ve had great success from that.”

Looking to the future, Craig says he has to stay tight-lipped about some exciting campaigns they have on the horizon as they continue adapting to being a pet shop with no pets.

Opened in 1953, the family-run business has passed through three generations who have all worked to bring pets to the people.

In its 65-year history, Dofos has stocked reptiles, wild birds, cats, dogs, rodents and many other species on the wildlife spectrum.

The pet centre closed the doors of its popular premises on London road and reopened on Leith Walk in 2015.

That was the cue for Craig and Ross to start thinking about the reasons why they ran the shop – before deciding pet care should be front and centre.

The first changes made when the new shop opened was to the range of pet food available – swapping low quality brands for more nutritious ones.

But the biggest and boldest change came earlier this year when the two brothers agreed it was time to cease selling livestock from the store.

Instead, they would work closely with local animal 
shelters and charities to house animals looking for new owners.

The brothers also decided they wanted their business to be eco-friendly as well as pet-friendly, and are on the way to making the company plastic-free.

“A lot of the foods we were selling were massively bulked out, made with cheap 
ingredients, but they weren’t cheap products,” said Craig.

“They’re not good. They’re full of grain and carbs, which are cheaper than meat and if you look at what a dog needs in their diet, they need a high meat diet. People will hide ingredients by using maize.

“We looked at bringing in honest ingredients, honest food from a family-run company.”