Today, we are celebrating the unsung heroes of our local boutiques. They might be a bit furrier and seemingly lazier than your average shop employee, but what they lack in elbow grease, they make up for with lovable charm and adorable personalities that keep customers excited to return for another visit. Yep, these shop dogs are the sweethearts of the Memphis retail scene. Meet 20 of the Bluff City’s furriest — and most charming — shop employees.
20 Shop Dogs of Memphis
Argus of T Clifton Art Gallery
Saint Bernard, 9.5 years old
Tom Clifton of T Clifton Art Gallery describes his Saint Bernard’s personality as infectious. “He amazes people with his size, delighting all ages. He is 154 pounds of pure love,” says Tom, who says that, besides morning walks, gallery visitors — especially ones with treats — are what makes Argus wag his tail. “Once you come with a treat, he remembers you! Be sure to ask him to ‘work’ for the treat — sit, shake, speak. Finally, when the clock chimes 5 p.m. (yes, he knows the chime), he leaps up and grabs his rubber chicken that squeaks. He likes to squeak us a song while we close the gallery for the evening.” Of all Argus’ charms, Tom is most enamored with how gentle Argus is with children and the elderly. He recalls a sweet memory of his gentle giant interacting with his late mother: “When my mother was still alive, but very weak, he would go with me to see her at the nursing home. Argus would gently sit by her wheelchair and roll his head into her lap.” Nothing beats a big dog with an even bigger heart!
Scout & Millie of Chestnut Hall
Scout, Black Labrador Retriever, almost 9 years old
Millie, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, 6 years old
Labrador Retrievers Scout and Millie manage the warehouse behind the Chestnut Hall showroom on a weekday basis. “They are greeted by the designers with a kiss and a pat every morning, and the warehouse guys keep a watchful, protective eye on them as they sun themselves during truck deliveries,” says Michael Baty of Chestnut Hall. “Scout is a quiet, wise ‘old soul.’ She loves to spend time at the lake where she ‘fishes’ at the dock, swims with her family members and feverishly retrieves anything thrown at any distance into the lake. Millie is a silly, rambunctious, excitable goofball. At Chestnut Hall, Millie enjoys sleeping in the oddest positions and sneaking into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat with the designers. Millie has a very meticulous sense of fashion and adores her colorful collars. Warning! Do not try to remove her beloved collar!
Jake of Oak Hall
Dalmatian, 9 years old
“Jake is the calmest, sweetest dog. When people meet him, they cannot believe how calm he is, and after petting him, they are amazed at how soft his hair is. He feels like velvet,” says Bill Levy of Oak Hall. “Jake loves to come to Oak Hall every day and meet people, especially kids. When he sees a young person come in, he always gravitates to them.” And it makes sense that this downy Dalmation has a soft spot for children. “Jake is also a therapy dog and goes to St. Jude Hospital to visit patients twice a month. It is really heartwarming to see how Jake can bring smiles to the faces of these children and their parents at a time when they are faced with such tremendous challenges. For a few minutes, he helps them forget what they are going through.”
Bedford & Mac of Judy McLellan | Crye-Leike Realtors
Bedford, Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Age 4
Mac, Tri-Color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Age 3
“Bedford is extremely loving, shy and needy. He comes up to me 20 times a day to be loved and reassured,” says Mickey McLellan of the Judy McLellan Crye-Leike Realtors team. “Mac is very loving, confident, outgoing and adventurous.” Mickey recalls a funny incident when he and Judy couldn’t find Bedford one day, “We were frantically looking throughout the downstairs and in the yard and jumped in the car to check out the street. We decided to come back to the house for one more look. Turns out Bedford had followed Mac up the stairs but was afraid to come down. So he was sitting at the top of the stairs with a ‘please get me down from here’ look on his face.” Even though one pup is outgoing and the other is shy, Mickey says both boys’ favorite thing to do is snore!
Emmitt of Baer’s Den
Golden Retriever, 3 years old
Baer’s Den shop dog Emmitt loves to jump in the car and head to Baer’s Den every day. His owner, Jeremy Baer, describes him as a naturally sweet-natured dog with an energetic, silly goofball streak. “Emmitt greets all of the new customers who walk through the doors. Whether new friends or old friends, he just lights up for people,” says Jeremy. “Emmitt was rescued from a pretty bad situation in Alaska. I remember it like yesterday when he got off the plane and we met for the first time. I thought he was so beautiful, but little did I know how much of a handful he was going to be. Looking back now, Em came into my life at a perfect time. Kody, Emmitt’s ‘shop dog’ predecessor whom many loved, was very sick and did not have too much time to live. Emmitt was able to console me in a dark time in my life. He is bringing so much love and enjoyment back to all the customers who loved Kody and who are now falling in love with Emmitt. Emmitt is much more than a ‘shop dog’ — he is a loyal friend and a faithful companion.”
Bruno of Millstone Market & Nursery
Bernese Mountain Dog, 7 years old
Bruno is always smiling and loves to follow his owner Tricia Hunt of Millstone Market & Nursery around her beautiful garden shop. When he’s not resting in a shady spot, he is wagging his tail and greeting customers like only a true shop dog can. While he is terrified of flies, he can’t get enough good ol’ belly rubs, so make sure to give this lovable pup a belly rub next time you’re grabbing flowers and greenery at Millstone!
Mr. Mister of Ménage Fine Stationery & Gifts
Beagle/Border Collie/Sheltie Mix, 4 years old
Susan Ryall of Ménage Fine Stationery & Gifts describes her shop dog, Mr. Mister, as super-chill, adding, “His outfit of choice is a robe and slippers.” But, he’ll rip off his laid-back robe and kick off his house slippers if he sees his ball or the UPS delivery man. His love for those two things is rivaled only by his excitement for visiting his grandparents, Dee Dee and Pop Pop. “Recounting sweet memories of only four years is like skipping a rock across water – the moments I can see are just as memorable as the moments I can’t,” says Susan. “But it is real sweet to get a good beagle howl for the people he loves.”
Sawyer of Johnson’s Fabrics
Weimaraner/English Mastiff Mix, 2.5 years old
Sawyer’s personality seems to lean toward his Mastiff genes. “Sawyer is pretty chill and relaxed. Most days he can be found napping on his cushion in the office,” says Megan Davis of Johnson’s Fabrics, adding that only people can rouse him from his rest. “He is up in a flash to welcome anyone who comes in the office. He loves chewing his rawhide bone and loves attention from the sales team. He makes everyone’s day brighter!”
Baylor & Roux of Memphis Boat Center
Baylor, Labradoodle, almost 2 years old
Roux, Labrador Retriever, 14 years old
Roux has been a part-time employee of the Memphis Boat Center for almost 14 years. “When she was a puppy, she had to be sent home on several occasions after dropping blocks of wood onto customers’ feet. She needed to mature a bit before coming back to work,” says Hart Robinson of the Memphis Boat Center. But things have changed since Roux was a pup. “These days, you might have to step over her to get through a doorway. She’s lost nearly all of her hearing and one eye, but she’s always excited to be at work.” Baylor, on the other hand, is a bit more hungry for attention. “She loves coming to work to see all of her friends who come to visit. She is happiest when someone is petting her,” says Hart.
Buckley, Sophie & Fred of Mike Murphy Builders
Buckley, Yellow Lab, almost 11 years old
Sophie, Shepherd Mix, 10.5 years old
Fred, mix, age unknown (He’s been a Murphy for 5 years and could be up to 7 years old)
“Buckley loves going to the office, job sites and anywhere else I go,” says Mike Murphy of Mike Murphy Builders. “Sophie can’t be trusted outside of the house or office, and Fred is the youngest but quickly became the boss of the other two.” Buckley’s favorite thing in the whole world is fetching the tennis ball by the pool, followed closely by hanging out with Mike; while Sophie and Fred are all about walks around the neighborhood.
Emmy Sparkles of Mirror Mirror Salon & Blowout Bar
Mini Goldendoodle, 1-year-old
Emmy Sparkles is a registered therapy dog who loves to play fetch, people-watch, get belly rubs and sit in laps as customers get services at Mirror Mirror Salon & Blowout Bar. “She wags her tail when she sees people and runs to greet them,” says Stacy Harmeier of Mirror Mirror. “I cherish the moments when she is snuggled up with our 5-year-old at bedtime.”
Johnny Rivers of Outdoors Inc.
Terrier mix, age unknown (probably 12 to 14 years old)
Sweet, fun-loving, loyal and playful, Johnny is a true rescue dog. “My wife and I found Johnny while we were on a Canoe Trip on the Wolf River, just below the Bateman Bridge, in the early spring of 2014,” says Andy King of Outdoors Inc. “It was just after a big flood event, and Johnny was stranded on a tiny island in the middle of the river, obviously malnourished and with a dislocated hip. At first, we thought he was either a fox or an opossum. When I got out to check on him, he leapt into my wife’s lap, and a friend of ours paddling with us said ‘Looks like you got a new dog — you better call him Johnny Rivers!’ We did, and we kept him, and he has been our loyal friend ever since. Johnny joins me nearly every day at work, whether I’m at one of our stores or working at our main office.”
RELATED: Meet Nila, Winner of the Best Dog Mid-South Contest!
Gracie of Paper & Clay
Rescue dog, 2 years old
One of Gracie’s favorite things to do is play fetch. “She naps while I work but brings me her ball periodically. She’s careful to place it right where I can see it — like in my lap or on my foot,” says Paper & Clay owner and painter Brit McDaniel. “Once I called Gracie from the other room and she came running in so excitedly that she jumped right over the coffee table and body slammed her humans, who were lounging on the couch. I saw her face change when she realized, mid-jump, that she was coming in too hot — still makes me laugh!”
Annabelle of Terri Hannah Home & Garden | Two Doors Down Bridal Registry & Gifts
Havamalt (Havanese/Maltese Mix), 4 years old
“My husband and I looked into getting a Havanese after shopping in Carmel, CA, and spotting several of them laying in the shops on the counters. They were like sweet little rag dogs that were so friendly. So, now we have one that does exactly the same thing,” says Terri Hannah, owner of Terri Hannah Home & Garden and their bridal registry store, Two Doors Down — which are actually “two doors down” from each other. Annabelle goes to work every day, prancing back and forth between the two stores but wouldn’t deign to show up without looking her best. “She is definitely a clotheshorse who begs when you pull her clothes from “her” drawer in the morning,” says Terri. “It is the cutest thing you could ever see!”
Smittie of The Urban Gardener
English Labrador Retriever, 2.5 years old
Jen Smith and Allison Clark of The Urban Gardener describe Smittie as a silly, mischievous, fun-loving, smart puppy. “She loves more than anything to swim and will stand up in the pool like a dancing bear and beat at the water. She runs like a gazelle, with a huge smile on her face nose up to the wind,” says Smittie’s “mom,” Jen, who co-owns The Urban Gardener with Smittie’s “aunt,” Allison Clark. “One of her favorite things to do is perform her tricks for customers in exchange for a treat. Most of all,w she adores greeting her customers and thinks they are all her ‘aunts and uncles’!” Allison adds, “Smittie is our third lab in the 22 years we have been in business, and God always sends us the personality that fits our needs and the needs of our customers. She is a silly girl who makes people laugh!”
Head out to these local shops and get your canine cuddles and fabulous shopping done all at once!
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