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New 'namesake' greeting Beagle Books customers

BB, left, has joined Jennifer Geraedts and Little Pine at Beagle Books. The golden Lab mix had been dropped off at the Headwaters Animal Shelter. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

In an economy where layoffs are commonplace, Beagle Books is adding staff.

BB - Beagle Biscuit - is now greeting customers along with his partner, Little Pine.

Little Pine tends the cash register; BB greets clientele, owner Jennifer Geraedts joked.

Drake, his original name, is a yellow Lab mix that with Rollo, a Rottweiler, was found tied to the Headwaters Animal Shelter fence in late January, the mercury dipping to -20.

Jennifer had been communicating with animal shelter volunteer Lyn Meyers on the possibility of adding a second dog or a foster dog to her "staff."

The Geraedts family rescued Little Pine as a pup, found, as her name implies, abandoned under a pine.

She became fast friends with the family dog at the time, Dexter, a Staffordshire terrier.

Dexter died shortly after the family purchased the bookstore in 2007. Little Pine, now 12, was devastated.

"I didn't want to leave her home alone," Jennifer said. She had become "frantic" at times while searching for her buddy.

Bringing her to the store "was good for her healing," Jennifer said, clients responding warmly with "love and attention. Her whole life she'd known Dexter. It did her soul good."

As the months passed, the Geraedts determined they were ready to expand their family.

Jennifer responded to an e-mail asking for a short-term caregiver for a dog but someone had already volunteered.

Jennifer was keenly aware of the need for adoptive families. The Headwaters Animal Shelter is also experiencing the effects of the economy's downturn, with more animals being dropped off at the shelter, the owners unable to care for them.

When Drake arrived, the shelter staff felt the 5-year-old hound would be "a perfect candidate for the job at Beagle Books," Meyers said.

Drake was off for his job interview, earning two thumbs up - and a new name - Beagle.

Beagle Books had originally been named for founders Deane and Jill Johnson's dog.

Geraedts fielded innumerable "where's-the-beagle?" queries. Now she points to her slightly rotund canine.

The name BB, she said, is a compromise. Daughter Megan, 7, voted for Biscuit with husband Tom suggesting BB.

BB is ready to hop aboard when the car is waiting, but unwilling to exit. "The last time he got out (of his owner's) car, he was abandoned," she explained of his quirk.

"There's no alpha," Jennifer said of her two employees. "They're both submissive.".

"Ninety-eight percent" of the bookstore clientele love the dogs, she said. If people are allergic or uncomfortable with them, the dogs are sent downstairs.