Rivendell Books in Montpelier, Vt., has a REAL LIVE tortoise (not a giant one!) making its home in the bookstore. How cool is that? If you walk to the children’s section, at the back of the store, you’ll find Veruca under the "Vermont Authors" section, with a sign above him explaining the following:
Russian Desert Tortoise
He’s a male
You can spot Veruca’s bin on the bottom shelf of the bookcase below.
I don’t know Veruca’s history at Rivendell or how long he’s put up with the curious stares and over-eager hands of Montpelier’s children and adults, but each time I’ve popped in to take a peek at the guy, he’s been surprisingly lively. I’m amazed at the speed he can pick up as he crosses the sandy gravel that lines his plastic bin!
When I first started working at Wellesley Booksmith over seven years ago, our store had been in existence just a year and a half. In its previous life the space had been a bookstore that was part of the Lauriat’s chain AND at one time or another it had been home to a cat. Frequently customers coming into our reinvented store space would ask if the cat was still there. "Alas," I would tell them, as I secretly thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have to break out in hives at work each day. I love cats, but I’m highly allergic to them, so the presence of a store cat would be bad news for yours truly.
I do love the idea, though, of a store pet (who may or may not also be the store’s mascot). A store dog would be especially welcome in our space! We allow dogs to come into the store with their owners and have many a shaggy visitor stopping in on a VERY frequent basis, knowing full well that at either point-of-sale counter they can (and do) receive a biscuit from one of our booksellers. (Talk about a clever way to get your customers in the door — this way their dogs literally DRAG them in anytime they’re walking around the neighborhood.)
Of course having a few furry friends traipse through our store on short visits doesn’t even begin to put us in the same animal-loving camp as Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, which is home to an impressive menagerie of critters, both of the furry and feathered variety. Their newest co-workers are two chickens named Pimento and Olive!
Have you been in/worked in/known about a store that had a living critter or two on staff (though presumably not on the payroll)? If so, please enlighten us readers as to what you thought of that arrangement. And/or tell us whether or not YOU would want to bring your pets with you to work.