Amazon didn’t invent the dog-friendly workplace. Canines have served as friendly greeters—and felines, hardened security guards—from time immemorial. Especially in a city as animal-obsessed as Seattle.
Consider this a tribute to some of the sweetest, sassiest, hardest-napping shop pets in town.
Know another good shop dog or cat (or rabbit, or parrot, or…) that we should feature? Please email style editor Zoe Sayler at [email protected]
Maggie, Maia, and Maeve at Sassafras
You’ve heard of designer dogs—but what about designers’ dogs? La Macón founder Shari Noble shares a rocker-inspired aesthetic with her Westie mix, Maggie, who’s down for all the pup-friendly purple hair dye, pink studded leather collars, and beret modeling gigs thrown her way (so long as they provide her much -deserved time in the spotlight). Those rare moments she isn’t the center of attention aren’t so bad, though: When else would she raid her fellow shop dogs’ food bowls?
Favorite treat: Whatever Maia and Maeve are eating.
“Maia has never met a creature with a heartbeat that she doesn’t love,” artist Nick Ferderer says of his pandemic pet and full-time “shadow,” a Goldendoodle and Labradoodle mix named Maia who can’t decide whether she’s a bigger fan of walking (she’s summited Mount Adams!), meeting new friends, or curling up on a bed of scrap cloth while Ferderer paints. “She’s never walked on or through my painting, but regularly has a splash of color somewhere near her face,” Ferderer says. After some particularly enthusiastic hellos from Maia, a couple new puppy friends walked away with yellow-painted noses and purple-painted ears. “She was spreading the joy.”
Favorite treat: Lamb lung. “Definitely.”
Maeve heard the phrase “all bark, no bite” and decided to give the naysayers a run for their money—the fifteen-year-old, 6.5-pound Maltese “has come out of semi-retirement to manage the security role at Sassafras, ” per KFly designer (and Maeve’s “pampering butler”) Katy Flynn, and she won’t let a lack of teeth stop her from asserting her dominance. But she doesn’t shy away from the finer things in life: She and fellow shop dog Maggie happily guided their owners to wineries “and places with cheese” on a trip to Walla Walla; she frequently joins Flynn on fabric-buying trips to Los Angeles; and when groomers “trim her down to a chicken bone,” Flynn transforms the pile of scrap materials that typically serves as Maeve’s bed into tiny custom frocks.
Favorite treat: “A little bit of chicken or cheese and she’s your new best friend she’ll obsess over.”
Cali had been at the Ballard Animal Shelter for four months when Canary Salon co-owner Heather Strock walked in looking for “anything but a pit bull.” But when she walked by, the golden-brown pit bull mix “started dancing and grinning like she had already decided I was her mom.” The rest is history: Sweet, docile Cali spends all day, every day at the Madison Valley salon, obediently steering clear of the salon floor and waiting for butt scratches in the retail boutique or break room.
Favorite treat: Whatever you give her. “She will even beg for a food she hates, like a blueberry, slowly eat it with a pained expression, then beg for another just for the happiness of getting a reward.”
Kimiko and Nala at Sairen
Like the two Kaitlins who own this Chinatown–International District boutique, these shop dogs are the perfect pair. “Fluffy bundle of joy” and “social butterfly” Nala brings the people-loving, pro-shop-dog expertise. Her “sleek and feisty” little sister Kimiko provides security services (usually in the form of sniffing customers’ shoes) and some quality dog-therapy time when she senses someone needs it. And opposites do attract: Nala and Kimiko play tag together every morning after a long night apart.
Kimiko’s favorite treat: Soft, chewy snacks she can be gentle with.
Nala’s favorite treat: “Anything she can get her paws on.”
If you took Pretty Parlor—a Capitol Hill boutique packed with pastel goodies and unique vintage finds—and turned it into cat form, that cat would be Minz the lavender point Siamese. Whether she’s lounging on her fluffy pink bed, curling up with a customer on the velvet settee, or accidentally knocking over the entire window display (it was just the once!), Minz is the “pride and joy of our boutique,” says owner Anna Banana. “She loves being our shop cat and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Favorite treat: Every flavor of Tiki Cat Crunchers.
Elvira, Zest, and Burt Macklin FBI at Neko Cat Cafe
Most of the cats at Neko are up for adoption, but three especially calm and friendly resident cats help the newbies adjust to life at the cat cafe. Elvira, who marketing coordinator Rae Kearns describes as “the goth girl who we all wanted to hang with in high school,” happily teaches adoptable kitties the virtues of shoulder snuggles, bolting around the room, and loudly sharing your opinions.
Favorite treat: Four-way shoulder snuggles.
“A plush kitty that came to life,” ultra-cuddly Zest warms up to new fosters with the verve of a one-cat welcoming committee: “We always trust him to be the first friendly face a new foster kitty sees.”
Favorite treat: Being held like a baby.
Burt Macklin FBI
“Burt Macklin FBI is a top agent. Or at least he would be, if the FBI needed a fluffy football-shaped kitty who wants to be held like a baby,” Kearns says. When he’s not investigating other kitties’ food bowls, he’s an “absurdly chill” lover boy who likes to spend his days engaged in serious PDA with a cat named Barbie: head bonks, “walking with their tails intertwined,” you name it.
Favorite treat: “Dinner is great, but leftovers are where it’s at.”
Don’t be fooled by Gwen’s fierce looks (OK, we wear she looks fierce in person): She’s a gentle, shelter-puppy-turned-lifelong shop dog who loves nothing more than laying on the sunny sidewalk waiting for customers, visiting her puppy friends, and babying all the little ones who come into the shop.
Favorite treat: Beef bones from Bobs Meats in Columbia City, or lamb lung from Mud Bay.
“De facto mascot” of Seattle’s beloved vintage guitar purveyor since the early days when Mike Ball ran the joint out of his basement, Ruby’s gone from “googly-eyed greeter” to occasional visitor (due in part to her propensity for eating midcentury furniture and anything that winds up on the floor). When she’s not working remotely, the “Class A rapscallion” is sure to make the most of her Guitar Bar time with “snuggles, sleeps, treats, and toots,” per Ball, “plus sporadic bursts of intense energy to greet anyone and see anything.”
Favorite treat: “Anything edible or inedible.”
At seven years old and 150 pounds, Mike and Mike Guitar Bar’s resident Great Dane and “overseer of employee morale,” Moose, is the definition of gentle giant, according to his owner, Curtis Parker. Though he’s been known to stir up a goose or two on his walks along the Fremont Cut, he spends most of his days chilling on the couch waiting to jump into his role as store greeter—a job he’s so good at that customers call before coming in just to make sure Moose will be there.
Favorite treat: Whatever the delivery drivers bring him.
Seattle’s original cabal of shop pets built an entire used bookstore around the concept (literally—there are little doorways built especially for the six cats who call the Capitol Hill location home).
Among them: Lily the chubby, short-haired calico, who “emits a tiny meow that sounds a little something like existential uncertainty,” per manager Ben Koch. A one-year-old sibling trio named Jinx, James, and Screamer/Stinker/Felix. Buster Blue Eyes, resident shoulder cat and lover of shelves too high to get down from. And Eleanor, the approximately fifteen-year-old, long-haired calico who’s been at Twice Sold Tales since before it moved from John Street to Harvard Avenue.
Ever wish you could take a shop pet home with you? One customer made it all the way back to work before realizing his book suitcase was moving: Buster Blue Eyes had slipped in, “not even dazed by the mystery traveling box,” Koch says. “We always double check his bags now.”