Another Day at the Paw-ffice

These Adorable Local Shop Pets Will Make You Smile

It's never a "ruff" day at the office when your coworker is covered in fur or feathers.

By Dariela Delgado August 16, 2022

Max at Brant's Bookstore

Have you ever walked into a shop and been greeted by a friendly employee who licks you and jumps on you?

Yes, you read that right. The employees we're talking about are shop pets. They're mascots, serious nappers and, of course, friendly greeters. And in pet-friendly Sarasota, you can find many local businesses that have a dog, cat or even bird attending their customers. We'd like to introduce you to a few.

Max at Brant's Used Bookstore

 Max, pictured at top, has been a dedicated Brant's Bookstore employee for about five years.

"When you come visit the store, Max will immediately come say hello, then he will go back to bed and fall right back to sleep," says owner Barbara Barone. Every once in a while, Max—a rescue who's about five years old—will follow customers around—to answer their literature questions, of course. He's not a fan of squirrels, other dogs, or leaf blowers, but he loves people.

Favorite treat: While mom has him on a diet, Max loves pumpkin and turmeric biscuits and beef jerky.

Trixi popping her head through flowers

Trixi working her magic on floral arrangements.

Trixi at Fantasy Flowers of Lakewood Ranch

Trixi, a five-year-old miniature golden doodle, elicits as many smiles from customers as the flowers at this Lakewood Ranch shop do. She's Fantasy Flowers' dedicated door greeter, and she's gentle with everyone, including kids, rolling over on her back and allowing them to pet her belly.

Trixi also knows how to comfort customers who are buying flowers for difficult situations, like a funeral. "A lady who came in to buy funeral flowers was cuddling Trixi, and said how much she needed that," recalls Fantasy Flowers owner Michelle Bridges. It just makes sense that Trixi is awarded Employee of the Month every month.

Favorite treat: Trixi has been known to munch on sunflower stems and carnations.

Fran with a purple scarf

Fran, the vintage expert, is ready to answer your fashion questions at Canned Ham Vintage. 

Fran at Canned Ham Vintage

Fran is jokingly called "a furry roadblock" by Canned Ham Vintage owner Ashley Rogers, who adopted the 60-lb. chow chow about five years ago. You can often spot this laid-back pup napping under the store's sewing machine. She greets customers by lifting an eyebrow, then returning to her siesta. Fran's schedule isn't set in stone, but if you are lucky, you can catch her in the store every now and then.

Favorite treat: Cheese, cheese and more cheese.

Macow bird looking through a cage.

One of the 14 birds at Sun and Surf Beach Shop. 

The 14 Birds at Sun and Surf Beach Shop

Sun and Surf Beach Shop, on Anna Maria Island, is known as "the store with the birds"—and for good reason.

"We have Congo, Brutus, Romeo, Bullwinkle, Maxwell, Strap Bird, Birdy, Buddy, Sam, Piglet, Bailey, Antigua, Jerry, and Robin," says owner Jennifer Duytschaver. Whew! That's quite a brood. Sun and Surf's vocal, brightly feathered avian greeters will keep you entertained while you shop for beach gear like sunscreen and bikinis.

Favorite treat: Each bird has a favorite nut, ranging from peanuts and pistachios to almonds and cashews.

JR sitting with sunglasses on

JR demonstrating how to protect your eyes from the sun. 

JR at Soto's Optical Boutique

JR is as gentle as a teddy bear, so don't be intimidated when you walk in Soto's Optical Boutique and see an 85-lb. black Labrador smiling at you. JR has been in the optical business for about 11 years and is happy help patients and clients with their eye health and eyewear. "Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people embrace and love JR. Everyone likes to stop by and give him cookies," says Ron Soto, owner of Soto's Optical Boutique.

Favorite treat: Peanut butter cookies.

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