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The people who put pet care first

CityNews has rounded up the best in the business when it comes to looking for a pet, and how to look after the ones that are already part of the family.

Be it a fluffy kitten, a loyal dog or a talkative parrot, for many people pets can seem like family members. 

We always want the best for our loved ones, so it’s important to also look after our furry, feathered and scaly friends.

Canberra Aquarium mixed reef.

Coral propagation captures Anton’s imagination

Canberra Aquarium Maintenance has been providing marine aquariums, or, salt-water tanks, to the Canberra community for the past 10 years, says owner Anton Polak. 

Recently, he says the team have also been engaging in sustainable, hobby coral propagation. 

“We really care about the livestock,” Anton says.

“We have pest-free coral that have been propagated time and time again, so never seen surf, never seen sun and they tend to do a lot better, they thrive indoors.”

In addition to their pest-free coral, Anton says they quarantine all their fish for two weeks, as marine fish can become diseased easily. 

“We offer healthy, pest-free fish. That makes a big difference, because people’s whole collections can be wiped out,” he says.

“Other shops are following suit now, because they realised how important that is for the long-term viability of people’s tanks.

“You don’t want to spend $10,000 on a marine tank and then all your fish die because they weren’t quarantined.”

Maintaining and building aquariums is also a major part of the business, says Anton, and they can organise routine tank maintenance visits to residential and commercial sites.

Canberra Aquarium Maintenance, 7c/173 Flemington Road Mitchell. Call 0400 411185 or visit

Discount Glass pet doors.

Affordable, practical solutions for pet freedom

Proudly family-owned since 1986, Discount Glass is the longest established glazing business in Belconnen, providing Canberrans all their responsive and planned glass needs for 38 years, says co-owner Olivia Rogan.

Discount Glass has rapidly gained a reputation for installing quality pet doors, which allow easy access in and out of the home for cats or dogs without compromising the home’s security, Olivia says. 

Pet ownership has surged since the covid pandemic, and with Canberra’s cat containment laws, Olivia says this is a particularly popular service. 

She says each pet door they install is unique to the needs of the pet and the layout of the home. 

“Glass can make a big difference to the house in many ways people might not at first think,” says Olivia. 

“We install glass that helps with comfort, safety, practicality and decorative purposes.”

On average, Olivia says Discount Glass measures, quotes and installs about 20 pet doors a week.

She says the team pride themselves on being approachable and friendly, and they offer no-obligation, free quotes and assessments to give people options that work for them and their home.

“Our team is like a little family in themselves, and we really love helping others with their glass solutions,” she says.

Discount Glass, 4 Purdue Street, Belconnen. Call 6253 1099 or visit

Sandy Borgo of Charlie & Chums.

Gorgeous giftware that celebrates all sorts of dogs

For Sandy Borgo, owner of Charlie & Chums, dogs are so much more than just a pet.

“Dogs are always there for me and I for them,” she says. 

“My dogs are my solace in life and I’m not the only one, many people find their pets are their best friends. They keep you active and give you happiness in life.”

Sandy’s love for dogs encouraged her to buy a particular keychain while travelling in Venice, and when she returned home she was inundated with compliments on it. 

“Everybody just marvelled over it, they thought it was fabulous,” she says. 

Sandy says that although it was from Venice she knew they must’ve had to buy it wholesale from somewhere. 

“So I sat there and searched the internet,” she says.

“I started with that and jewellery and a small amount of pet products, in pop-up stores, and then progressed into a shop for four years.”

Sandy is now online only, but she still has a huge range of products available.

“I’ve got dog collars and leads, dog and cat wooden plaques, and bright metal dog and cat metal plaques,” she says. “The bright metal plaques list the pet traits. 

“We have dog hooks and dog-treat jars.”

Also available is giftware, including spec holders, ladies’ ponchos, scarves and brooches, says Sandy. 

Sandy says she also has sculptures of dogs and cats  made from old 44-gallon metal drums, from the company Think Outside.

Charlie & Chums. Call 0402 097580 or visit

Aviary offers a great time away with the birds

Parrots, finches, doves and quail are among the birds ready to interact at the Canberra Walk-in Aviary, says owner and manager Mick Logan. 

The aviary is great fun for all ages. 

Now is the best time to get up close and personal with a range of friendly, free-flying birds, he says.

“While not all birds will interact with you, visitors get the chance to observe, up close, species of birds that otherwise would be hard to see in the wild,” Mick says. 

“We provide a small plate of food and a tub of mealworms and you can wander around and feed the birds. 

“Provided the weather is fine, you can have a great time feeding the birds, taking photos or just observing our feathered friends.”

The aviary is a 1000sqm planted walk-in enclosure that has more than 500 birds from about 65 different species from Australia and the world, Mick says.

“We accept student and senior concession cards,” he says.

The aviary is open every day, 10am-4pm, with last admissions at 3.30pm.

Canberra Walk-in Aviary, unit 13, Federation Square, O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls. Call 6230 2044 or visit

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