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Meet My Staff...

This is Pepper, who I adopted in December 2000 from an animal shelter across the street from me. The block that my shop is on is loaded with dog shelters, kennels, and dog training places. There are literally hundreds of dogs on my street! Over the years I've helped the shelters doing repairs, picking up donated dogfood, and working with the dogs themselves. I've always enjoyed doing volunteer work with animals.

Pepper showed up at one of the shelters a few years ago. She's a beautiful German Sheperd/Husky mix who was bred by an amateur breeder. Unfortunately, as a puppy she was placed in a household where a young child would drag her around the house by the leash, like some kind of a toy! When she arrived at the shelter, she was a mental wreck, terrified of adults, children, and especially leashes. I worked with Pepper for about 2 years, gradually getting her to come out of her shell. I finally decided to adopt her, and she moved in here with Rags and I. Now that Rags is gone, Pepper has taken charge of our shop, guarding us from all evil (when she can get up the courage!) She's a sweet, affectionate dog who got off to a bad start and needs a secure, steady environment.

I encourage business owners to consider adopting a shelter dog as a shop companion. With a few precautions, it can be a great home for a dog, particularly one who's had a troubled past. As a one-man shop, I appreciate the extra eyes and ears. Pepper hangs around the office while I'm back in the shop, and I've trained her to alert me when anyone's out front or at the door. She's great company and a real help.

My Old Buddy Is Gone...

This is 'Ol Rags, who was my faithful senior shop supervisor from 1993 to January 2002. He'd had some bouts with cancer a few years ago, and it finally caught up to him. He developed a form of cancer that got into his nervous system and caused him to lose his orientation and continuously walk around in circles. I couldn't let him go on like that. The day I took him in to be put to sleep was the hardest day I think I've ever been through.

I'll never know his exact age, but he was somewhere between 15 and 17, which is a very long life for a dog. He was a sweet, gentle old friend, as many of you who visited the shop remember. For all those years, he was always here watching over me. He would generally follow me around the shop, moving between various favorite spots to always keep me within eyesight. He decided that his job was to supervise me around the clock. It was very strange the first few weeks after he was gone, to not have him there.

As far as I can tell, Rags was a mixture of Irish Wolfhound and maybe Welch Terrior. I adopted him in 1993 when I moved into this building. At the time, I was part of the volunteer staff at the Wildlife Waystation, spending weekends doing construction and being a tour guide. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding, and I wish I had the time to keep doing it. For anyone around the LA area who'd like to do volunteer work with wild animals, I strongly encourage you to join them and support them.

The Wildlife Waystation doesn't normally accept or care for any domestic animals, but in '93 a long time supporter of the Waystation passed away, leaving a generous donation with the request that they find good homes for her 3 dogs and 7 cats. Rags was the senior dog of the group, along with a male dog that was his son, and a female. The three of them were put in a pen together but unfortunately, Rags and his son got into an ugly fight.

So, Rags was put into a pen in the Baby Animal Trailer, of all places. Everyone was amazed that he was completely comfortable surrounded by hundreds of baby possums & squirrels. I was thinking of getting a dog for the shop, and the staff told me about him. As soon as I saw him, I knew that he was the dog for me. I took him home that day, and he was my buddy from then on.

Pepper's taken over the duties, but I'll never replace Rags. Rest in peace, my friend...