Paige Sawayer: Bookstore Dog misses her routine

  • Thursday, March 6, 2014

Paige Sawyer/For The Times Bookstore Dog sniffs for delectables as Ann Carlson waits patiently. BD had been a fixture in Harborwalk Books and now has a new, used bookstore where she can get friendly belly rubs.

The little brown and white puppy may have been the smallest in the litter but she held her ground when her much larger sisters and brothers picked on her. Ann Carlson liked the spunk this little puppy had and decided this would be the one she would adopt from the St. Frances Humane Society.

The Lab and Brittany Spaniel mix was taken home and given the name Beach Dog or BD for short. The big question was how to house break BD while Ann ran Harborwalk Books on Front Street and BD was in her kennel several blocks away on Meeting Street.

Francis Marion Park was less than 100 feet away from Annís business so she started bringing BD to work and training her to use the potty at the park. Like all responsible pet owners, Ann picked up after BD with doggie bags from a dispenser in the park.

It wasnít long before BD was lying on the mat in front of the counter and enjoying belly rubs from Annís customers who were fond of animals. When BD grew tired of the affection, she would move behind the counter and stretch out so no one could interrupt her morning nap.

Most people love dogs and Annís faithful book readers grew fond of seeing BD and would ask about her when they entered the store. Numerous customers would come in with their cameras and have pictures made with Georgetownís book store dog.

As her celebrity status soared, Ann thought it was time for a name change. Beach Dog became Bookstore Dog which she didnít really mind since everyone continued to call her BD.

An early morning walk around East Bay Park introduced BD and Ann to one of the county workers whose daily job was emptying the trash containers. The park was busy over the weekends with family outings, birthday celebrations and picnics. Left over food was never taken home but discarded in trash containers next to the tables, playground swings and sliding boards.

The employee would spot BD and save her a hot dog or some other edible goodie he had found. BDís Brittany Spaniel smarts put two and two together and immediately began associating trash containers with food.

As BD grew older, Ann started walking her more and watching her nose twitch at the aroma of discarded food in more than the dozen metal trash containers that line both sides of Front Street from Queen to King. BD was very insistent when she knew there was discarded food and would not leave until Ann fished out the delectable goodie her brown nose had detected.

Regardless of cold weather or rain, BD makes her daily trek, crossing Front Street back and forth several times until she sniffs out a morsel of food or left over from someone who ate too much the night before at one of Georgetownís many restaurants.

For two weeks after the September 25th fire that destroyed eight historic buildings, BD would stop in front of 723 Front Street and look up at what used to be Georgetownís only three-story building and her daily home for 14 years.

Gone was the front door with the bell, the mat she laid on, Annís business along with the residence of John and Wanda Rogers. A large pile of debris and burnt odor now filled BDís nostrils while she tried to figure out what happened.

Spending more time at home, BD doesnít like the hardwood floors in Annís living and dining rooms but she continues to have the run of the house. Every night around nine, BD shows off her Labrador skills with a running high jump on Annís bed and snuggles close for a good nightís sleep.

Like most dogs and people her age, BD is not as alert to noise and sounds as she once was but her eyes are still good and her head raises when her nose senses a chicken bone or left-over hamburger.

Now, she has another mat to lie on during the day. Ann and Sandra Quinn opened Waterfront Books in the Fogel Wharf this past weekend. The familiar and sweet old smell of books, cards and canvas will fill her nostrils once again and maybe, by chance, if someone will be kind enough to rub her belly every now and then, BD will find her comfort zone one more time.

Paige Sawyer is a resident of Georgetown. You may contact him by e-mail at paigebsawyer@gmail.com.

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