Feeling stressed? Run down? Need an all-natural, feel-good boost of oxytocin and dopamine to keep you trucking through the week with a smile on your face?! Well, we’ve got you covered with this roundup of adorable dogs from the bustling sidewalks of the Market at Pepper Place. While there is an abundance of beautiful produce, colorful flower arrangements, mouthwatering food, foot-stomping live tunes and friends to run into at Pepper Place on Saturday morning, there is also a pleasing parade of pups to behold. So much so that we thought it worth documenting.
So, like model scouts on the prowl, we set up shop at the market and honed in on 42 awesome dogs. Ranging from 10 to 215 pounds, these sweet pups are not only a heartwarming sight, but they are also brimming with their own surprising and completely charming personalities. We got to meet these happy hounds and cuddly canines. So, without further ado, let’s meet the pooches of Pepper Place!
The Pooches of Pepper Place
Churchill, or “Churchie,” the 5-year-old, 215-pound English Mastiff is just a big ol’ lovable, lazy dog. She likes the lake and gets a little active, but only in short spurts. She sleeps with the young daughter of the family. The family has a soft spot for English Mastiffs; their former mastiffs — Thatcher, Balfour, Churchill and Wellington — were all named for English Prime Minsters.
Nine-year-old Pomeranian Rupert doesn’t care about anything other than food and affection from humans. If you stop petting him, he’ll gently alert you by putting his paw on your hand, so that you’ll continue to shower him with love.
Super-lazy Merrick is slightly socially awkward. He really likes other dogs, but he doesn’t know how to interact with them. “We always joke that he’s the dog at the dog park that’s like that kid in the corner eating glue,” says his owner. “But he’s super excited to be there!”
Rescued from Two by Two Animal Rescue in Helena, Alabama, Hope loves the father of the family most of all. The part-Catahoula dog will hop on the couch and lay in his lap. And her 20-pound Nylabone is second only to her adoration of him.
This Standard Poodle’s signature is her mohawk. She’s a sweet pooch who’s convinced she’s a human. “She’s a straight-up nutjob,” says her owner. “She’s unrepentant when she steals from you, because she just assumes you are supposed to serve her anyway.” He particularly enjoys it when he comes after a long day and it’s as if she’s trying to speak in her dog-like warbles and wailings.
Stubborn and tenacious, Dudley the English Bulldog has a playful side to him, enjoying a playful game of tug-of-war with his owner or jumping in the pool for a dip. “He’s great with kids, and kind of a clown around the house,” says his owner, adding, “I guess anything you do is kind of funny when you look like that.”
Beauregard the Rhodesian Ridgeback is training to become a therapy dog. He loves other dogs and his squeaky ball. Also any human food, particularly cheddar cheese, gets him very excited.
This Blue Heeler, Finley, is an energetic working dog and a pup of 13 weeks from a cattle farm in Tennessee. To get her energy out, she is learning to play Frisbee, and she loves to play with the older dog, Layla (see below), in her new family.
Eight-year-old Layla, a Rottweiler mix, only has eyes for her owner; although, her new younger sibling, Finley, has brought back her youthful spark.
Two-year-old Miniature Schnauzer Jake loves to snuggle. When he’s not munching on his favorite Blind Dog Biscuits, Jake loves to play fetch much more than the owners expected. He goes bonkers when the 9-year-old daughter of the family comes home from school.
Nigel, a 1-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is also a quarter Cocker Spaniel, which gives him a little added height. His owner Idie Hastings owns Hot and Hot Fish Club and nearby Pepper Place hotspot OvenBird with her husband, Chef Chris Hastings. Idie found Nigel, or rather Nigel found her, at the Cavalier Rescue. The calm pup kept walking straight up to her to lean on her. “He fits in beautifully with our three dachshunds — Butter, Hans and Coco Chanel. And he is in training to be a Hand in Paw therapy dog,” says Idie proudly. SB Tip: Stop by OvenBird’s dog-friendly patio for a Saturday morning brunch with your pooch!
Three-year-old Jacobi is a Briard, a French sheepdog. The shaggy pooch is from a breeder in California. He’s protective, but not aggressive, and laid-back, usually hanging out on the air-conditioning vent. “His breed is a hunting dog, so he chases the other dogs in the park, not the balls,” says his owner of his active spurts.
Frankie the 3-year-old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a bird-hunting dog, and she loves people more than her fellow canines. “She’s a leaner,” says her owner. “She likes to come up to you and lean on you.”
Seven-year-old Duncan always seems to be smiling and loves to socialize with both humans and animals. And he’s a natural model.
Belle came from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, and she is very timid and shy at first, but she will warm up to people. She loves to cuddle and go on outings. When she first came to her “furever” home, she had separation anxiety and broke out of her crate, chewed a hole through her owner’s bedroom door and got out trying to find him. Luckily, the well-adjusted 3-year-old pup doesn’t do that anymore!
Ten-month-old Charlotte, a Cocker Spaniel, loves everybody, especially her owners’ five grandkids that live around the corner. She lights up when it’s time to ride in the car, and around the house, she carries her little baby blanket with her everywhere she goes.
Duke is a 10-week-old Italian Mastiff pup, who is a heartwarming mix of playful and sleepy. “He sleeps, eats, has five to 10 minutes of explosive energy, and then he sleeps some more,” says his owner. Little Duke is the mascot for Gaines Family Farmstead, a Birmingham-based family company that makes premium dog treats, using only American grown, 100% natural sweet potatoes — preservative-free, grain-free, salt-free, soy-free and no artificial flavorings. And Duke even has his own Instagram account at @365DaysofDuke, so you can watch him grow!
Gracie & Darby
Gracie the 5-year-old Golden Retriever was raised by cats at the vet for the first eight weeks of her life, so she’s a cat in a dog’s body. Naturally, she loves to lounge in her favorite chair, look out the front window and watch people. Darby is 4 and doesn’t go anywhere without her ball in her mouth. But her favorite thing to do is to climb up on the couch and put her paws on her owners shoulders and hug them.
In classic dog fashion, Charlotte the Standard Poodle gets all riled up when it comes to squirrels and tennis balls. She loves being around her owners best, though. And when they’re not looking, she sneaks onto their bed and makes it her personal throne, even elegantly crossing her front paws.
Nina, a Greater Birmingham Humane Society rescue dog might be an American Pit Bull Terrier-Boxer mix, but her owners just refer to her as a “Birmingham Special!” “She’s still a puppy, so everything she does is kind of quirky, but she’s really good at getting airborne; she’s a jumper,” say her owners.
Mattie the Silver Labrador Retriever is playful, energetic and loves people. Any time the owner grabs her keys or puts on her shoes, he knows it means he’s going on a walk or a car ride, and he is ready to go!
Riley, the Long-Haired Miniature Dachshund, is very mild-mannered and relaxed for a pup of only 4 months. She likes going out on the town, particularly to Good People Brewing Company, where she is happy to be showered with attention.
This 1-year-old, 182-pound English Mastiff named Crowe still doesn’t realize how big he is and often clumsily runs into things. He loves to play with the kids in the family. He is rambunctious when he wrestles with the 14-year-old son and he is very gentle with the family’s son with special needs. But this loyal pooch can’t live without the mother of the family, following her everywhere, including work.
Beauregard, or “Beau” for short, is a French Bulldog-Boston Terrier mix. “He’s laid-back and the sweetest thing ever,” says his owner, adding, “and he has a fan club a mile wide!” The 7-year-old pooch loves wrestling with his owner and because he lives with two cats, his owners are convinced he thinks he’s part-cat.
Henri, a French Bulldog, is only 3 months old, but he’s got all the sass of a seasoned pooch like his half-brother Beauregard (above). “He’s a bossy little daredevil,” say his owners. “And he loves to wrestle with his big brother.”
Two-year-old Humphrey the Weimaraner likes to go hiking, mountain biking and kayaking with his owner. “He’s a big goof,” says his owner affectionately. His nickname is “Bumps,” because when he wants something, he bumps his nose into you.
Pronounced “Gwynnie” (like the “Original Goopster,” Gwyneth Paltrow), this 5-year-old retired racing Greyhound was named after a medieval French dog that achieved sainthood after saving a baby from a snake. Guinnie is a rescue from the Alabama Greyhound Rescue and Adoption Center. “They are great pets,” says her owner. She is pretty laid-back; the owners call her a 40-mile-per-hour couch potato. But she still breaks into a sprint from time to time. “At the dog park, she chases the other dogs and tries to nip at their heels, so I have to put her racing mask back on her, so she doesn’t get them. But she’s just trying to ‘win’ the dog park,” says her owner.
Finn’s owner found him on Facebook. “I kept looking at him on Facebook and thinking somebody else would take him, and I kept looking and nobody was taking him,” she says. So, unable to stop thinking about him, she adopted Finn. “He is the funniest little dog; he does not meet a stranger,” she says. “He bounces everywhere he goes.” At home, Finn has a fake pacifier that he carries it around in his mouth like a baby. And he loves bird-watching — just watching, not chasing.
Three-year-old Penny the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs her space and likes her quality alone time. The honest young girl of Penny’s family admitted that Penny and her half-brother, Ringo (below), don’t like to get their paws wet when it rains, so they prefer to simply use the loo indoors during rainy weather.
Two-year-old Ringo likes to be with somebody at all times. “He has to be pet or played with continuously,” says his owner. “He cannot stand to be by himself.” He especially loves his half-sister Penny (above) and, although she loves her privacy, he is happiest in her presence.
Five-month-old Phoebe is from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, and she loves her new “furever” home, especially the young kids of the family. The family describes her burgeoning little personality as simply “sassy.”
Maddie’s owners found her in an Auburn pound. The 6-year-old Labrador-Retriever mix is very laid-back, preferring to chill and hang out most of the time, but when she sees a tennis ball or her leash she goes crazy. And every now and then, the owners catch their sweet pooch drinking out of the toilet.
Four-month-old Otis the Boxer wants to be everyone’s best friend, including cats. “He is very mischievous,” says his owner. “He likes to get into trouble.”
Floppy-tongued Waylon, the 6-year-old Boxer, is goofy, playful, highly energetic and a people-pleaser. “He likes any games whatsoever,” says his owner. “He just loves activity.” He is gentle with the family’s new baby and the family cat!
Sophie the 4-year-old rescued Goldendoodle “is the sweetest, most cuddliest little person in a curly dog suit that you’d ever want to know,” says her owner. “She’ll jump up on the couch and lean her back against the couch and sit like a human.”
Tilly the 3-year-old Border Collie-Shepherd mix is very social and loves being in crowds. She is drawn to certain dogs and becomes fast friends with them. She also jumps up on her owners’ bed in the morning to wake her owners up by prodding them.
Loyal, trusting and playful, Stella the 7-year-old Husky goes everywhere with her owner and is extremely smart. “When she was 7 weeks old, she knew how to sit and stay,” says her owner. “I can put a steak in front of her, and she won’t touch it until I tell her to. And she can talk. she says ‘I love you’ and ‘mama’.”
Teddy, a yellow Labrador Retriever, has two personalities: sleepy and full-throttle. He’s very sweet and affectionate. “He has a brother that is a champion duck dog, but we discovered that he can’t swim, so it’s a good thing he is just a pet,” says his owner, adding, “If you say the word ‘park,’ he perks up!”
Affectionate little Sparky loves to snuggle and burrow into blankets. The super-friendly pup lights up and smiles when it’s time for walks and outings.
Trafford & Dexter
Trafford the 7-year-old white German Shepherd-Labrador Retriever mix is more laid-back than her canine counterpart, Dexter the 3-year-old Miniature Australian Shepherd. Hyper Dexter loves playing Frisbee and going to the market. Found on the side of the road in Auburn, Trafford has a perplexing and vehement distaste for Pugs and the owners have no idea why, but they steer clear of Pugs whenever they see them.
So, head to the Market at Pepper Place for some smile-inducing dog-watching, or bring your own pup for a Saturday morning of socializing among people, dogs, produce, flowers, music and more!
Next Saturday, June 24, from 7 a.m. to noon, Pepper Place will have a hot-air balloon at the market (on 28th street between 2nd and 1st Ave south), offering free tethered hot-air balloon rides, thanks to a national utility consortium promoting Dial 811 – Call Before You Dig. And the 9 a.m. chef demo will be led by high school kids from the Jones Valley Teaching Farm Lab at Woodlawn High School, proving that young people can not only cook, but also inspire others how to use fresh, locally grown ingredients to do the same.
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