Saturday, June 28, 2014

People in the Loop: Bert and Oreo

Come on, be honest. If you were strolling down the sidewalk in Historic Downtown Canton and you saw a little dog quietly sitting in a bicycle basket you'd take more than a second look. You'd take a picture, too, just like I did.

Of course, I couldn't stop there, I had to move in for a closer look and prove this was a real dog in a bike basket and the bike was leaning against a wall! So I took a close up photo. 

If you keep reading you'll see I took several photos while I was laughing in amazement. The cute little dog posed for my photo shoot instead of barking at me or jumping out of the basket! 

After taking several pictures of this phenomenon I turned around and walked to my car parked two storefronts away. I kept thinking "Where is the owner and how is this possible? There is a story here, I know it."

The dog in the bike basket was gently and securely parked next to a huge ceramic painted pig! Yep. And it makes sense because this is the front of The Painted Pig Tavern. It's one of several popular eateries flourishing in the loop! And as you can see this establishment offers more than food. Entertainment is on the menu, too.

After several photos I turned to walk to my car again, and when I glanced back I saw a tall gray-haired gentleman giving the dog a cup of ice water. Ah-hah! The owner!

I couldn't seem to stay in my car. I had to ask! I walked back to speak to him.

Folks, this is Bert Danforth who was kind enough to let me take his picture and even share a little of the story in front of me. Bert is single and has lived in the Canton area for 30 years. His dog, Oreo, is two years old. Bert is the cleaning manager at The Painted Pig Tavern. This day he stopped in to pick up his paycheck knowing Oreo would be completely safe where he left him.

I told him I was very curious how Oreo is able to stay in the basket...and also be content sitting there. He replied, "I put him in the basket one day and when we got to the convenience store I  said, 'stay' and he's been staying ever since. He'll wait all day if I let him."

Bert's been working at The Painted Pig Tavern for four months and enjoys his work there. His favorite item on the menu is the fish tacos. 

I asked him if Oreo goes to work with him every day and he shook his head as if to say "no." . He picked Oreo up out of the basket and put him down on the sidewalk before we sat at the nearby outdoor seating area, to talk.

Bert said,  "I get up at 5:55 AM and get ready for work, take him out to do his business and then I get on my bike and ride to work." Then Bert reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a wrapped red and white striped peppermint. "And his favorite food is peppermint," he added. When he was unwrapping the candy Oreo became very attentive.Oreo was riveted to Bert's hands.  Bert fed him a peppermint twice while I tried to take a photo of him feeding Oreo. The little pooch snatched and swallowed that candy faster than I could take a snapshot of it! Hilarious.

Bert told me Oreo isn't the only one who loves to eat peppermints, too, but he can't eat them around Oreo anymore. He explained why, "I'll put a peppermint in my mouth while I'm riding my bike and Oreo reaches up on my chest to snatch it out of my mouth. I have to stop my bike."

I asked Bert what he thinks of Historic Downtown Canton. "I like small town life. I"m glad they're fixing it [loop] and keeping it up and at the same time they're still keeping it small. I like it."

The next time you're in the Canton loop, maybe you'll meet Bert and Oreo and it  will bless your day, too.

These are things that really matter, folks:  People. Kindness. Community. Loving our neighbors. Doing what's right and good. Shining the light.

Psalm 34:3
Building community for the glory of God

Photos Copyright 2014  by Polly Balint