Louisville loves its local shops. When you think about the reasons why, it’s because locals like supporting the home team, and we like knowing the people we do business with. Besides just the owners of local stores, we have also become attached to the “shop dogs” that are a big part of these area businesses. We look forward to seeing them at every visit to various pet-friendly local stores, and they look forward to seeing us, as well. That’s why we decided to profile our furry friends today and let you know a little bit more about them. They deserve some recognition, don’t you agree?
Meet the Shop Dogs of Louisville
“Major” at Revelry
Revelry Boutique Gallery owner Mo McKnight Howe has had her dog Major for five years, since he was a puppy. She started bringing him to work with her for safety reasons, and “because I would miss him while working. Little did I know he would be my number one salesman!” Major is a big love and a gentle soul. He greets most guests, but don’t be surprised if you see him lying down on the job — he is very laid-back. Mo tells us that Major is famous and “has fans worldwide now. He has been featured on Human + Hound, Puppy of the Day and Labs of Instagram. Sometimes we get people coming into the shop just because they have seen him on Instagram — #MajorTheDog — yes, he has a hashtag! We are lucky to have him working the floor on a daily basis … sales have never been better!”
“Charlee” and “Kiki” at Liv Boutique
When you enter Liv Boutique, the first thing you see is not a dog, but a tiny chaise lounge upholstered in velvet. This is the throne of Kiki the chihuahua and sometimes her “sister” Charlee, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Kiki is the ultimate shop dog: she loves sitting on her chaise lounge, dressing up and getting her picture taken. Charlee is lazy, but mischevious. She once ate $800 in Derby hats when left home while her owners were away at market. Charlee and Kiki expect to go to work every day. Charlee actually has a car seat that probably costs more than a baby’s car seat. Here they are in their bed lounging, and as you can tell, Kiki can barely keep her head up because she is so sleepy. Owner Lucie Stansbury has four dogs, but these two are the only ones that come to work with her.
“Fields” at Clodhoppers
Originally, Fields was the dog of owner Cary Ricketts Cox’s boyfriend (now husband). Cary tells us, “When I started dating my husband, I fell in love with his fur ball companion, and she soon became mine! We were instant buddies.” She has been bringing Fields to Clodhoppers for about three years. She had to wait until Fields was 4 years old to bring her, making sure she was mature enough to behave in the shop. Now, according to Cary, “Fields is such a good girl and behaves on a regular basis that it only made sense to bring her! She is a people pleaser and loves being rewarded for good behavior and has major FOMO (fear of missing out) if she is left at home. She loves being the greeter at Clodhoppers! If you’re a dog person, she picks up on it right away and will walk over to you and say hi. If you’re not a dog person, she is also aware, and will leave you alone while you shop.”
“Whiskey” at VO2
Whiskey’s name came up time and time again when I was writing this article. One visit to VO2 Multisport in St. Matthews explained why. Whiskey is a 3-year-old, stunning black Belgian shepherd, better known as the “Mayor of St. Matthews.” When he is not at the store, he enjoys riding around in the back of his owner’s truck. You might remember Whiskey from the news last year: He was hit by a car on Breckinridge Lane and was found crawling down the street with two broken front legs and a detached eyeball. Unable to afford the $8,000 vet bill, owner Jeff Miller turned to GoFundMe and raised the money in five hours, with funds coming in all the way from California. Lots of people love Whiskey, now fully recovered, and it shows. Whiskey loves coming to work and likes to escape their home when left alone, probably trying to get back to VO2.
“Nelly” at The Shirt Shop and Home Fit
Nelly’s owner Erin Gentry works at HomeFit and The Shirt Shop, both located in St. Matthews Station. Her dog, Nelly, goes with her to both workplaces. Nelly loves looking out the window at both stores and greeting each customer that comes in. One notable trait that I always laugh about with Nelly is that she jumps up into your arms and wants to be held like a baby. She has quite a personality and loves people, so much so that she rolls over and shows her belly to strangers. Nelly is a rescue dog, possibly with some terrier in her, and has severe separation anxiety when Erin is away from her, so Erin brings her everywhere. Her genial and laid-back personality make her a perfect shop dog.
“Harpo” and “Star” at Sister Dragonfly
Otherwise known as the “cutest coonhounds on the block,” Star and Harpo are the shop dogs at Sister Dragonfly on Frankfort Avenue. Star is a red bone coonhound, and Harpo is a black-and-tan coonhound. Star is laid-back, loves customers and loves to model hats, while Harpo is a mama’s boy, often attached to owner Jane Bowling’s hip. Jane tells us that she lives “in the back of Sister Dragonfly so the gallery just feels like our great big living room to Harpo and Star. A living room where people just walk in and shower them with love. For that reason, the dogs can’t wait for us to open the store each morning! People make over them and often come in just to see them. Customers will also say they’re coming back with their husband or friend just so they can introduce them to the dogs. Most customers express disappointment if the dogs aren’t in. I’ve had people lie in the middle of the floor and snuggle with them when they (the people) are having a hard day. I could go on and on. They bring joy and laughter and softness to our day and to the days of our customers.”
“Luna” at Crescent Hill Trading Company
Luna is a legend on S. Bayley Avenue in Crescent Hill, one of the dog-friendliest places in the city. Shops in the area have treats and water for dogs out front. Crescent Hill Trading Company owner Kathy Schmitt tells us that they “actually have two dogs — both terriers. When I bought the shop six years ago, I used to bring Jackie, our older rat terrier mix, but she would frequently walk over to Heine Brothers, Caspian Grill or Eggs Over Frankfort looking for handouts. She’s such a beggar.” They adopted Luna two years ago, and she “is a great shop dog because she will lay curled up in her bed for hours, only getting up to greet children or others that she knows. She goes to the door and barks once when she has to ‘go.’ If it is sunny outside, she LOVES to hang out in the sun. Luna is very friendly with most other dogs, and both dogs have a ‘sixth sense’ of people that might be there to cause harm. I can’t describe it, but she knows. Luna directed a low growl at a guy once. Even followed him around the store. Later, that man was featured on posters around town for shoplifting. He never came back.”
“Toots” at Consider Boutique
Across the street from Crescent Hill Trading Company is another dog-friendly boutique with a notable shop dog, Toots. Toots was a neighborhood dog who walked into Consider Boutique almost a year ago, without a collar or a microchip, sat down and “smiled” at owner Kasey Emrich. Kasey says that this was the day that “my life changed.” Toots belonged to an elderly man in the neighborhood who had dementia and was not caring for her. She found her way to Kasey, and Kasey formally adopted her with the blessing of the former owner and his family. She is a happy little dog who loves people. She has lost 11 pounds recently and is so healthy now. She is spoiled rotten and for good reason: she is adorable, especially with her camo hoodie on. She plays with Luna across the street and loves other dogs, as well. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
“Lady” and “Junie” at Brownsboro Hardware
Every day around 2 p.m., Lady and Junie arrive with their owner Marilyn Lehrer to Brownsboro Hardware. While they don’t always wear their uniforms, like in the picture below, they are always ready for work. Customers love going upstairs to see them, where they hang out and “help.” They are featured in all of the Brownsboro Hardware advertisements, and they know their star status around this town well.
“Rosie,” “Riley” and “Ruby” of W&M Custom Jewelry
W&M Custom Jewelry owners Megan Walz and Becky McClellan have not one, not two, but three dogs at their studio, all yellow labs. Becky tells us that, “Ruby came first, because I hated the thought of her being home alone all day when she could be with us. We started slow, a couple hours here and there, and she loved it! It just made sense to bring her; she loves people and slept most of the day.” Then Rosie came along, and Megan thought it would be great for Ruby to teach Rosie how to be a big girl dog. Only problem was that Rosie wanted to snuggle all the time, and Ruby wasn’t initially thrilled with that idea. They quickly figured it out — basically Rosie would snuggle and fall asleep, and then Ruby would move away while Rosie was sleeping. “Then I got a crazy hair and decided I needed a puppy and found Riley,” Becky says. “She had to have an ‘R’ name since we had Ruby and Rosie — not kidding! Rosie and Riley are the best of friends. They cannot wait to get to the studio and play and SNUGGLE! Ruby keeps watch from under my feet, as she’s very mature now.” These labs have quite a fan club, especially the UPS man who “comes just to see them if he is in the area. He loves getting kisses (from the dogs) and giving them treats. Occasionally, he brings us packages, too.”
“LeeLee” at The Door Store & Windows
Laurie Scarborough, of The Door Store & Windows, adopted LeeLee, a Havanese, in 2008 when the pup was 3 years old. She started coming to the store from the start, as Laurie was an empty nester and didn’t want her home alone. Laurie tells us that “Havanese — Cuban dogs — were bred as companion dogs. Being my companion is really important to her. She is ready to go with me everywhere and anywhere. She loves the store, so much so that when we arrive in the morning, her first act is to run into the store and take a couple of fast laps around the showroom, and then plop down on the carpet wearing a silly grin and breathing hard, obviously happy to be here. She is missed when she stays home. We even dubbed her our ‘Attitude Adjustment Coordinator.’ She is petted and hugged by everyone. Although Lee is a not a gregarious dog, she always greets people in the store much like a hostess would.” If LeeLee cannot find Laurie in her office, she travels to other surrounding parts of the building, then goes into a full-blown panic and “has been known to sit at the back door and howl. She doesn’t yip; she howls.”
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