Noah's Last Stop Shares Love Of Animals
Published 4:30 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010
Have you ever wondered what Noah wanted for Christmas?
Guy Brochard, of Noah's Last Stop pet store in Prospect, has a few ideas.
“My best Christmas present ever was 18 years ago,” Brochard said. “That was the year I got a llama for Christmas.”
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Like Noah, the namesake of his pet business, Brochard loves all creatures – great and small.
“I always wanted to either own a zoo or work at one,” he stated.
The dream of having a zoo was on the way to reality when Guy and his wife Terry moved to Prince Edward County from Long Island.
“We moved from New York,” Brochard noted. “We both were raised just outside the city.”
Right after they were married the Brochards bought back a pony that had been Terry's as a child.
“The stable was going out of business, so we bought Comanche back,” Guy said.
<!– 1upcrlf2 –>Otherwise, it could have been the end of the trail for Comanche.
“We bought him back, and he lived with us until he died,” Terry added. “He was 43 years old.”
The couple kept several horses and ponies on a half-acre in Long Island before coming to Prince Edward in the early 1980s. Their intention was to raise horses, but soon found themselves venturing into new fields – ones populated by llamas, pot-bellied pigs, and fainting goats.
It all started one Christmas Eve when Terry and a neighbor Suzanne Thomas drove to Natural Bridge Zoo to pick up Guy's gift – Nicholas the llama. They put the llama in Suzanne's truck and a donkey, a gift for Suzanne's husband, in Terry's pickup. The next morning the two wives switched trucks for an early morning Christmas surprise.
“Everyone knew how excited I was about getting that llama,” Guy said with a smile.
“They even named our road Llama Lane!”
When it came time to name rural roads in the area, county officials didn't hesitate – the road leading to the Brochard's was, without a doubt, Llama Lane.
“I love my llamas,” Guy reiterated. “They spit, and they're not nice to other people, but I love them anyway. We had Nicholas 15 years, and when he died instead of getting one llama, I got three.”
Other exotic animals followed – emus, alpacas, monkeys, and Patagonian cavies – one of the world's largest rodents.
“I'm crazy about all of them,” Guy said. “It's doesn't matter to me if we make money on them. It's something I feel compelled to do.”
Once settled in their home in Prince Edward County, the Brochards began providing animals for petting zoos at community events like the Five County Fair and the Appomattox Railroad Festival. In 1997 they started their pet business, Noah's Last Stop, in Farmville. Eight years ago they moved to their present location in Prospect.
While caring for such a wide variety of animal personalities requires a great deal of labor, for Terry and Guy it is obviously a labor of love.
“We both have our associate's in animal science,” Terry commented about their degrees. “We've been working with animals all our lives.”
Guy has continued his “real job” with Carolina Lithotripters in order to finance his passion for sharing his love of animals.
“Since we started the business we've been going to the schools and doing educational programs,” Terry noted.
At local schools, the man with all the animals is known as “Mr. Noah.”
Guy, as Mr. Noah, is often amazed at how even the youngest of children retain facts about the animals he shows and tells about.
“Guy was giving a program to second-graders,” Terry related. “He asked them about cold blooded animals, and one little boy raised his hand and said they get their temperature from the environment. He remembered Guy telling him that when he was in nursery school two years before.”
It was, in fact, an observant little boy who gave the pet shop its name.
“A nurse I used to work with came out to the house one day with her son,” Guy recalled. “He told his mother our place looked like Noah's last stop!”
After Noah stopped in Prospect, the Brochards began thinking of more ways to share their furry and feathered friends.
“We'd been thinking about a petting zoo for two years,” Terry said. “We have all these animals at home, and nobody was getting to enjoy them but us.”
The pet storeowners had observed an increasing number of visitors who came in their store just to see their animals.
“Sometimes on Saturdays we'll have ten or 12 people come in to look at the animals,” Guy added. “Everything was in our back yard at home, so we thought – why not open a petting zoo at the store. On the days I'm off I'll go down and do a whole program.”
One obvious benefit of their petting zoo is that is offers a nearby field trip opportunity for local school children.
“Often the field trips at school are $10 a person,” Guy added. “People can't afford that now.”
Another advantage is that the animals in Noah's petting zoo are tame.
“Everything here we raised at home,” Guy said.
In constructing their petting zoo, the Brochards followed the hilly terrain around and below the store to provide a natural habitat for the animals. While there are no lions or tigers in residence, visitors can see llamas, emus, alpacas, Patagonian cavies, miniature horses and donkeys, fainting goats, rabbits, and a variety of geese, ducks and other fowl.
“I've been on field trips to the zoo where they have lions and tigers,” Terry said. “Where is everyone standing? They're feeding the goats or pot-bellied pigs.”
“I'd like to get a few more animals once we get going,” Guy said.
“I always want to get two of everything,” he added in true Noah fashion.
One of his dreams is to buy an ark-like playground structure.
“I saw this wooden jungle gym boat that I would love to buy for my goats,” he said. “It cost about $1,400, but I could just see the goats climbing up there and going down the slide. That would be the coolest thing!”
Mr. Noah should have a boat, but a boat full of goats?
“I will have one some day,” he stated.
This goat lover is definitely not kidding!
“I have to say that our life is never boring,” his wife added with a smile.
“The pet business makes no money,” Guy observed. “I have to keep my 'real job' just to feed them. For example, we had a Yorkie who had to have a c-section. You've got $800 in vet bills before you sell a puppy – and she only had two.”
“The way I look at it, if you have animals you have to take care of them,” Terry added.
She recalled an incident during the spring when she called the vet and asked him to perform surgery on a cow.
“I said, I bet you do a lot of this in the springtime,” she related. “He looked at me and said, 'Miss Terry, nobody does a c-section on a cow!”
“I think our vet is good to us because he thinks we're crazy,” Guy chuckled. “But how could you stand there and let a cow die?”
Guy and Terry are excited about their petting zoo and the opportunity it offers to share their animals with the community.
“Sometimes people look as us like – why would you do this for your animals,” Guy concluded. “Well, why wouldn't you. There are very few things in this life that are consistent. Animals are – and they don't ask for anything but love.”
“I'm crazy about all these creatures,” he nodded.
One thing is for sure – Noah knew what he was doing when he made that last stop.
Winter hours for Noah's Last Stop petting zoo, 5865 Prince Edward Hwy, Prospect, (starting the week after Christmas and through the winter) are Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the cost is $4 for adults; $2 for children (children under two are free). For more information call 574-5545.