Like most dogs, Freddie and Lucy are territorial about their home turf — they don’t mind if people stop in to visit but heaven forbid another dog should darken their door. Hence the sign in the window of Toronto’s Ethel, 20th Century Living (1091 Queen Street East), above, which warns, ‘Sorry, no dogs . . . There are already two here that think they own the place.’
Freddie, the tough, little, one-eyed Jack Russel, and Lucy, the more amicable beagle-cross, are but two of the tail-wagging mascots I’ve come across in my styleNorth travels. My love of dogs is no secret so whenever I’m met by a canine greeter, I put the establishment on a mental list of favorites. Ethel co-owner Greg Perras says lots of customers stop in just to say “Hi” to the dogs.
A few doors down from Ethel is Winkel (1107 Queen Street East), a decor and paper goods store where owner Kari Measham says her seven-year old pug Hubble, above, also has a “following” including a pug friend named Harvey who visits most weekends.
A surprising number of Toronto vintage furniture and decor stores have house dogs; in addition to the five featured here, I’ve also met mascots at Hardware (760 Queen Street East) and Koma (1239 Queen Street West).
Fridays are seven-year old Francesca’s day to visit Hawk Eyes (103 Roncesvalles) so she can cuddle mascot Talulah, a two-and-a-half year old Brussels Griffon who can reliably be found in the store’s window (provided it’s not too hot). When shop owner Rachelle Turner takes Talulah out for a tinkle she puts a note in the window that reads, ‘Taking Talulah to the loo-lah, back in a flash.’ “I assume most people understand,” she says with a laugh.
Just around the corner from Hawk Eyes is Black Pug DMK (1712 Queen Street West), a shop where the mascot is actually the brand. Three-year old pug Haru (means ‘spring’ in Japanese) is at the shop Fridays. Why just one day a week? “Because she’s a bit of a handful,” says shop owner Daisuke Ito. “One day is enough.”
Possibly my favorite retail mascot is calm, gentle Mildred, the lovely fox terrier who resides at INabstracto, Kate Eisen’s marvellous vintage furniture shop at 1160 Queen Street West. Kate notes that Mildred is a real “designer dog. She’s slept on everything from George Nelson to Warren Platner.” Below left, Mildred poses on an Etcetera chair by Jan Ekselius, and right, she gets comfy on an Overman sofa. Fortunately, terriers are hypoallergenic and Eisen knows a good furniture cleaner if she ever needs one.