by Kirby Lindsay, posted 12 September 2012
Otis is a life-long Fremonster. At age 9, he’s grown up at the Center of the Universe and as he enters middle-age – Otis is a large, mixed breed dog – he appreciates a brief respite for water and/or treats during his daily walks around the ‘hood.
Marta McDermott, another long-term Fremonster (21 years,) accompanies Otis nearly everywhere. She also appreciates when Fremont businesses set out water bowls for dogs like Otis, or give out doggie treats. During the extremely hot days this past summer, a bowl of clean water provided a literal oasis during walks.
Small Kindnesses Noted
Lisa Yumul, a Concierge/Customer Service Representative at the Fremont FedEx Center, regularly demonstrates her sincere affection for the canine companions of this community. “I was a dog owner,” she explained about the water bowl she maintains outside the shop at 600 N 36th St, “until December 2nd.”
Yumul lost her friend Lilly last winter after 13 years together. “Since then,” she explained recently, “I’ve been sitting dogs.” This isn’t a casual gig for Yumul – at least one dog she took care of for over a month. She also has gotten to know many neighborhood dogs by name, as well as their human companions, and her dedication for them all is sincere.
In front of the FedEx door, she maintains a simple Tupperware bowl with water that, “I try to keep cold and clear and fresh.” Canine visitors can usually tell if Yumul is on-duty by the state of the bowl. And during the hottest days, she added a cardboard shade over the bowl, to provide more relief to her buddies from the ‘hood.
When asked if she’s considered taking in another dog of her own, Yumul admitted, “it depends on if he or she finds me.” She has visited the shelter, and spent time cuddling and communing with the canines, but her affection for Lilly held her back. She doesn’t want to find a replacement; she wants to welcome another companion of the heart into her life.
Noted, And Established
Like anyone that takes a daily stroll through our area, McDermott has come to know the businesses of Fremont. In her case, she takes extra time and gives more attention at businesses that cater to her canine companion.
Some of the businesses in Fremont with water bowls are Rudy’s Barbershop, Ooh La’s Hair Salon, Not A Number Cards & Gifts, Blue Moon Burgers, Brouwer’s Café, Essenza, Pecado Bueno, Norm’s Eatery & Ale House (which also sells a dog beer,) and, of course, Petapoluza Pet Supply, which has two bowls, for the discerning palate. On really hot days, Frame-Up Studios has put out a bowl, “but I’m not really consistent,” admitted owner Rob Bradley.
Some businesses offer doggie treats for those customers who bring their dogs with them, including The UPS Store. “They are great with the treats,” reported McDermott. At Petapoluza, owner Nick Zouroudis met Otis by name and tossed several treats to this very enthusiastic customer.
“Once he gets a treat,” McDermott explained about Otis, “he knows!” On a walk, Otis encourages McDermott into those places he knows give treats. Unfortunately, it is a habit hard to unlearn. Otis still wants to detour into Hub And Bespoke – Fremont’s clothing boutique for cyclists. Before the boutique took the space, in 2010, this was the location of Railey’s Leash & Treat (and before that Bark Natural Pet Care,) and Otis has yet to accept the change.
Portage Bay Goods also puts out a bowl of water, most days. “We put it out when we remember,” explained Store Manager Shalene Lundgren, “we don’t put it out when it’s raining.”
Lundgren acknowledged that the bowl serves both as a sweet treat for Fremont’s dogs, and a sign for their bi-ped companions. “I think people take it as a sign that they can bring their dog in the store,” Lundgren said. She acknowledged that the assumption holds true. “We love dogs,” she admitted.
The large, metal bowl used by Portage Bay sits in a whimsical green frame with the store logo pinwheel as a cut-out on the sides. One of the store’s suppliers – These Creatures – “they made it specially,” for the store, Lundgren reported. It further extends the store brand out to the sidewalk – and the passer-by that it may convert into customers.
The Small Touches That Mean A Lot
Fremont is home to a large canine and feline population. Taking care of those that walk on all fours may start as a humane act, but it also can be a good business practice.
When done with their walk, McDermott and Otis will walk to her work – at Hale’s Ales Brewery. According to McDermott, Hale’s often has, “an office of dogs,” as Otis shares the space with the canine companions of many of McDermott’s co-workers, and the brewery owners Mike & Kathleen Hale.
The opportunity to work in an environment welcoming to Otis means a lot to McDermott. She took Otis in at 9 weeks of age, nine years ago, after he’d already lived in two different homes and stayed at two different shelters. Even now, Otis has separation anxiety and doesn’t like being home alone, and McDermott has found his companionship enjoyable while she works, walks and rests.
Fremont welcomes people of every shape, size and stripe – and that has often extended to their pets. The fact that area businesses have expanded acceptance into action may come as no surprise. Let’s hope that the ripples of that goodwill continue to create a community that cares – for all its citizens.
- Our Most Distinguished Citizens
- by Kirby Lindsay, July 26, 2000 in The Seattle Press
- Dogs Now Learn To Play At Petapoluza
- by Kirby Lindsay, February 11, 2011
- Can Fremont Follow The Blue Path?
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 27, 2009
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.