Anyone familiar with the shop 2910 on the Square knows Mazel and Sadie, Stephanie Fleishman's store greeters. Sadie, 12 ½, and Mazel "10ish" are what Fleishman refers to as "Canton water dogs" (a.k.a. mutts) and the reason many customers stop by. (Her beloved Dillon passed away in early November. Fleishman says customers were almost as devastated as she was.) "People come just to see the dogs, as opposed to just buy something," Fleishman says.
Shop dogs—that is, dogs who go to work every day with their owners at local (non-pet store) businesses—are becoming the norm. Georgia, above, an 8-year-old mutt, watches over Steve Baker's Whollyterra art studio in Hampden. "She has been a sort of magnet to get people in the door—those suckers!" Baker jokes. Georgia gets annoyed if she has to work overtime, "so I almost always take her home for dinner," says Baker. "I think my wife trained her to do that."
Fiona even looks like she has good taste. The petite 2 ½-year-old West Highland White Terrier has been basking amongst the cashmere sweaters and high end suits at Samuel Parker Clothier since she was just a pup. Unlike owner Ken Himmelstein, Fiona spends much of the day lounging or napping on the sofa in the clothing department.
At Liberty Jewelry Manufacturing Company in Timonium, the dogs don't fit in laps. Two 100-plus-pound Newfoundlands—Caleb, 3, and Maizy, 16 months—have come to the family-run shop every day since they were puppies. "People seem to really enjoy meeting such large, but sweet-tempered and calm dogs," says store co-owner Cristina Riddlespurger. Despite their size, the duo is fairly low maintenance, insists Riddlespurger. Well, except for the daily vacuuming.