One of the joys of owning a bookstore is the ability to bring a dog to work. Dogs and bookstore generally are a great fit because dogs like to hang out and most people’s faces light up when they see a dog, especially a puppy, at the store. It’s been almost two years since my old dog, Ink, came to the store. Last week I got a six-month old rescue puppy, Allie, who has been coming to the store. No one is really sure what kind of dog she is, but she appears to be part lab, part whippet and part something else. I do know that she is adored by staff, and customers are starting to get to know her.
Here’s the thing about dogs and small town stores: everyone is just so happy for me. News has spread very quickly that there’s a new dog at the bookstore. People come by just to hi to Allie. Folks see me walking her in town and honk (which terrifies both of us) and wave. People bring treats in their pockets to meet her. They come in and ask how she’s settling in and scratch her head.
Allie has an expressive face and there’s very little that you don’t know about what she’s thinking. So far, she’s been great about not chewing books, but she has discovered our bookstore notebooks (for consignment, invoices and wish lists) and for some reasons finds their recycled covers absolutely yummy. And when caught in the act of chewing something or doing something “bad” she just gets this look on her face like, “I’m not really doing anything bad. It just looks that way.” And it’s hard to not chuckle at her when she’s got an innocent look on her face and cardboard stuck to her muzzle.
The bookstore staff has welcomed her with open arms. While she’s not a barker, she is very bonded with me and if I leave the back area she gets anxious, which isn’t fun for anyone. She also has the legs of a high jumper which makes her anxiety worrisome if she ever decided to bound over the puppy gate by the registers. We have a Dutch door for the office, so she can still hear what’s going on but can’t leap into the register area. I have to remind myself that it’s only been a week and actually she’s doing remarkably well. And honestly, the best part of having a dog at the store again is being able to take puppy breaks and walks.
In a very strange coincidence, at least three other people who either used to work for us, or work next door to us, have all gotten puppies, so it’s a regular canine play group some days! And, we’re selling heaps of The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete.