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Sit, Stay and Play at Work

By Becca George

Many people have furry companions that enrich our lives. They are part of the family and spend a great deal of time doing what the family does. For a few local Murfreesboro residents their dogs don’t just tag along in their social life, but they go to work with them as well.



Dudley, a 95lb flat coat retriever, is a staple at Dreamingincolor. “He is my greeter,” laughs Deneen Micucci, owner of Dudley and Dreamingincolor, “People come to see him, if he
is not here they ask where he is. He is a big friendly bear.” Dudley loves visitors, explains Deneen, and gets excited when someone walks in the front door.

“Dudley is one of those ‘he’s gotta be with you” kind of guys,” explains Deneen. This, and the fact that she owns her own business, led to her decision to have Dudley at the shop with her. “I don’t want to be apart from him,” she explains.

Deneen isn’t the only one that benefits from the company of a furry companion, many customers love seeing him. “I had a girl in here and she was away from home and away from her dog,” says Deneen, “She stayed for 45 minutes petting the dog. She was so happy
he was here. He got a great massage from her.” Deneen explains that most people feel
comfortable when they come in and see him and it makes the shop feel more like home.

Though Dudley is the first animal Deneen has taken to work, he is not the first animal in her
family to be in the spotlight. Their last pet was very friendly and starred in a play with
her daughter at Father Ryan. “He would dress up at school in all different outfits for Halloween,” says Deneen, “He was a bride and a queen. He was very social that way.”

While a dog in a gift shop could be a very precarious thing, Dudley maneuvers very
carefully. “He knows he has to be careful,” laughs Deneen, “He has only broken one thing and that was because I put it in the wrong way. We break stuff every day.” During the day, Dudley lives underneath the counter and slowly captures the hearts of everyone who comes in. “The UPS guy was scared of him in the beginning,” says Deneen, “but now he brings him bones.” She explains that it makes such a difference when he is there and when he doesn’t come for the day many people look for him. He also gets a bit spoiled by all the treats that customers bestow on him. “I think it helps having him here,” says Dennen, “I think people love the idea of having a place they can go that feels like home.”


Carla & Co.

Carla and Ashley Lewis, the mother-daughter duo behind Carla and Co. and the Avenue are no strangers to having their furry babies at the shop. Juicy, a shih tzu, yorkie mix, and Roxie, a shih tzu, maltese mix, are both staples to their business.

Juicy has been a primary part of Carla and Co. for seven years and Juicy joined the family a year ago. “They stay behind the cash register and when people come in they are oohing and ahhing all over them,” laughs Carla. One day when the dogs had not come into the store a little boy came running in to see them. “We didn’t have them and he fell on the ground crying,” explains Carla, “We do have a lot of people that will just stop in to see them.” Carla started taking Juicy to work with her when she lost her parents back to back in eight months. “She {Juicy} has been a big part of my healing,” explains Carla. “All of our customers fall in love with us bringing our dogs here,” explains Ashley, “It is a staple of Carla and Co., customers expect to come in and see our dogs.” Carla and Co. is also pet friendly so they have customers who bring their own dogs along for a visit.

A few years ago they had a scare when Juicy went missing on a busy day. The community rallied to find her and shared her story all over social media. “It was honestly the talk of the town,” says Carla, “There was huge community involvement and everyone was checking in on her.” Juicy was missing for a very long five days. A shopper had picked Juicy up thinking she was roaming around and returned her after seeing a lost pet ad on Craigslist. “We were so devastated,” explains Ashley.” Losing Juicy really helped to show them that there are good people in our community. “It was unreal how great everyone in Murfreesboro was to us,” says Carla. “It was so reassuring how our customers and people we didn’t know just came together,” says Ashley, “Everyone we know just loves their animals.”

“The company that the dogs bring is not only great for us but for our customers,” explains Ashley, “It is a staple to our business and that is what makes it fun. We are able to allow our dogs to be here along with everyone elses.”


Binks Outfitters 

“The nice thing about Bink’s is that we are pet friendly as a store,” explains Chris Geren, the
General Manger at Bink’s and dog dad to an Old English Bulldog Croozer who accompanies him to work each day,

“Pretty much everyone that works here loves animals.” Chris, who spends a fair amount
of time at Bink’s is grateful that he can bring Croozer to work with him. “I have customers who come in just to see him,” says Chris, “It is beneficial to me and them, they get to play with him and pet him. He loves everybody.” Chris also has a one-year old

French Bulldog named Ephjay that makes an appearance every now and then. Croozer is a fan of playing tug-of-war and shaking hands with customers.

“He learned that he gets a treat if he shakes people’s hand,” laughs Chris, “His goal is to make sure that I see he is getting loved on. He thinks he gets a treat for that, but it is only when he does his job of shaking hands.” Croozer is a favorite of so many customers that come into Bink’s. Chris explains that he loves kids and many of them will get down on the floor and pet him. “You would be amazed at how many people come in having a bad day and when they see him they say their whole week is made,” explains Chris.

“If you spend five minutes with him you’ll love him,” says Chris, “It is great, it is like bringing your kid to work with you. I get to see him grow. The best part is seeing that the majority of people that come in the store love him, they get to love on him and I get to share him with all the customers that come in.”

Follow Croozer on Instagram at @croozerthebulldog


Meredith Thomas

Meredith Thomas, Sales and Marketing Agent at John Jones Real Estate, can often be found with her ten-year-old yellow lab mix Miller by her side. “He is the best dog I have ever had,” she explains, “He is so calm and so smart.” Much like many other labs, Miller came to Meredith around four months old already potty trained and with a few party tricks.

Meredith started taking him to work when she worked in Nashville and spent a lot of time away from home. “He was so chill and everybody loved him,” Meredith explains about the employees at the pet-friendly marketing office where she worked. Since then she has taken Miller everywhere she worked. He tags along with her to John Jones Real Estate a couple of days a week. “When he isn’t at the office everyone asks me about him,” laughs Meredith, “He is so smart and does all kinds of tricks, he is the show off a bit in the office.”

“I love a dog in the office,” explains Meredith, “I feel like it helps moral. It It helps to not take yourself too seriously especially when things are going wrong. You have a dog there to make everyone feel happier.” He rides along with her many days as well. “When I leave the house {without him} he gives me this pathetic look like ‘I’m not going with you?’,” laughs Meredith. He benefits from their outings and some days they turn into trips to the river or the dog park.

When she adopted him years ago Meredith knew she wanted to adopt versus getting a dog from a breeder. Though he cried all the way home that day he quickly got used to Meredith and being with her. “I have always been a dog lover, I can’t imagine not having a dog, I don’t feel like I deserve a dog this good,” she laughs, “He is the best dog ever.”


If you’re a small business owner, consider getting a dog. They’re great business companions. You can talk over your problems and ideas in complete confidence or take a walk and meet potential customers. Dogs restore your sense of well-being and support you through thick and thin. All of these local neighbors certainly agree!

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