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Oliver the African Watusi makes a surprise visit to Atascocita Petco

March 20, 2019

Liberty couple Vincent and Shelly Browning decided to take a 2,000-pound risk and test a Petco policy welcoming all pets.

The Brownings brought their 14-year-old African Watusi named Oliver to the Atascocita store. They were impressed with how the employees and the customers were open welcoming a cattle Oliver’s size — he weighs nearly a ton. People were able to pet him and take pictures with him.

Vincent, who is a 1992 Bud Light World Champion Bull Rider, has raised Oliver since he was 6 months old. Oliver has traveled the southern states meeting new people and partaking in events, the Brownings said.

Vincent and Shelly picked Petco because they wanted to take Oliver somewhere where he has never been before.

“We went in (Petco) and (an associate) came out to see (Oliver) in the trailer, and she said ‘bring him in,’ and I said ‘are you serious’? She talked to her manager and her manager said ‘yeah bring him in as long as you clean up the mess.’ We brought him in there and he did great,” Shelly said. “We didn’t take him down the aisles or anything. We just sat him up front and let everybody pet him.”

Petco has a policy that states all pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash, regardless of breed or pet type. The pet must be a properly leashed and domesticated animal.

The Atascocita Petco, located at 7067 FM 1960, has seen a variety of domesticated pets walk through its doors over the years from pigs to young calves. Petco Associate Chrystal Armour said Vincent and Shelly are regulars, but they have never met Oliver.

“At a recent visit, they mentioned Oliver and that they’d like to bring him in one day. I said we’d love to meet him and that he could come in any time, as long as he’s domesticated and on a leash. Shortly after, they paid us an incredible visit that we won’t forget any time soon. Getting to meet such a beautiful and sweet animal was an amazing experience for all of us. We love all of our guests’ animals and the wonderful bond they share,” Armour said.

Oliver is not the only Watusi Vincent and Shelly own, in fact they have 11 at their ranch in Liberty.

The Brownings said they plan on bringing Oliver there again in the near future.

“I didn’t think a major chain like that would be open to us bringing him in, but we were just kind of testing the waters on that all-leashed-pets-welcome policy they have,” Shelly said. “It was exciting and just something we really wanted to do anyways. So it just really kind of fit that we got there (and) came at the right time when the right people were there. They welcomed him with open arms, everyone was so excited.”

Jonathan Williamson, Petco’s vice president of animal care, education and merchandising, said he was glad the Atascocita associates were able to enjoy this experience with Oliver.

“At Petco, everything is guided by our vision for healthier pets, happier people and a better world,” Williamson said. “We’re proud to celebrate the human-animal bond by welcoming all domesticated companion animals to our stores. We’re so glad that our guests and store partners got to experience this fun and happy moment with Oliver, the African Watusi, because that’s what Petco is all about.”

kaila.contreras@chron.com

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