By Ingrid Howard
All across Mountain Brook Village, shop dogs can be seen greeting customers at the doors of their owners’ shops. It’s no different at the Cook Store. In addition to pottery and cookware, customers are likely to find a fuzzy pup snuggled in a chair by the entrance.
Lucy, a 10½-month-old goldendoodle, has been the store’s “shop dog” since she was 7 weeks old.
“She loves to greet the customers,” said Wesley Lassen, who has owned the store for 20 years. “We live and die for the mailman to come, because he gives her a treat.”
Before Lucy, there were two shih tzus that frequented the store. They belonged to Lassen’s mom and aunt. But when they passed, Lassen started thinking about getting another shop dog.
Her husband had a golden retriever once before and suggested they get another one.
“I just couldn’t deal with the hair,” Lassen said. “Plus, that was too big for the shop.”
But Lucy, whose parents are a goldendoodle and a poodle, doesn’t shed at all. And since she was the runt of the litter, she weighs only 26 pounds.
“Her brothers and sisters are more than 40, 45 (pounds),” Lassen said. “She’s very small.”
A Village Character
When customers enter the store, they greet Lucy, who typically sits in her chair by the door and lies on her back, ready for a belly rub. Customers ask Lassen how she trained Lucy to be so well-behaved.
“I think she was just a good dog, period,” she said. “I got a good one.”
Frequent walks also help Lucy burn her energy, Lassen said. They go on three walks during store hours, in addition to the play time they have at home.
“I walk her before we open, and then I walk her after lunch, and we have our stops,” she said. “We always stop at Village Sportswear, and we stop at Mountain Brook Flower Shop and get Cheerios from Monty. We used to stop at B Kids, and we always stop at Leaf and Petal because they love her there. She’s very popular in the village. And in our third walk, we walk down to the school. We walk down the trail a little bit. And we stop at Village Pet Care because they always give her a treat.”
If Lassen ever goes on a walk without her pup, people notice.
“I walked from here to Village Sportswear one day – she was at doggy day care. I think five people stopped me and said, ‘Where’s Lucy?’” she said. “A few of the people I had no idea who they even were.”
At home, Lucy is ready to run, Lassen said. She loves playing fetch and tug-o-war there. But at the Cook Store, her calm and welcoming demeanor makes many customers return.
“I think the customers love it,” Lassen said. “It just makes it friendly and homey and, because she’s good, people love to come see her.”