Terrible Toby's Pet Depot has now been in operation in Kitchener for a full year, and to mark the milestone, the store started as a fundraiser to help support animal rescues.

What started as a passion project during the pandemic has blossomed into an opportunity to raise money for the local humane society.

“When I started it was just supposed to be some cool hobby and it was all about creating a fun brand,” said Owen Fleming, owner of Terrible Toby’s Pet Supply Depot.

The ‘terrible Toby’s’ name is inspired by his own lovable pup.

“Toby’s not terrible. He is my dog. I'm fairly confident he came from either an unethical breeder or a puppy mill,” said Fleming. “Once I got him better I started to make this online fundraiser idea. It just kinda stuck and it was like ‘OK, Terrible Toby’s. That’s awesome we’re raising funds, we’re helping animals.’”

Now a brick and mortar store on Krug Street, Terrible Toby’s has raised more than $10,000 dollars for animal homelessness.

“[I’m] pretty excited to be honest. I haven’t really taken it in, but it feels great,” said Fleming.

With plans to eventually expand to a second location, Fleming hopes to offer a friendly and fully interactive experience.

“I don’t want to be just another store, I want to be a community. I want to be a place where people gather to learn about dogs, and talk about animals,” Fleming said.

Longtime customer Carly Creor said Fleming offers an intimate and very personable experience when visiting the store.

“You can come in, you can ask him questions. He’s so friendly every time, he remembers you. It’s a lot more intimate and it’s very personable,” they said.

Adding: “Owen is great, he does so much fundraising for the community which is fabulous. He also holds so many events.”