Have you ever walked along Main Street in downtown Belleville and noticed a doggie in the window?
If you have, then you have seen some of the most popular and well-known dogs in the city. These store mascots are loved by their owners and customers alike.
“Sometimes people come in just to see the dog,” said Suzanne Smith, of Suzanne’s Missing Pieces, a home decor and antique furniture store.
The mascots are there full time, so you can see them at these local businesses every day. Once in a while, they take a vacation or sick day, but for the most part, these pets are everyday staples in these downtown establishments.
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Meet a few of them.
▪ Owner: John Bigalke of Belleville, owner and operator Beatnik’s retail shop
▪ Pet: Gunther, 9-year-old brindle boxer
▪ Pet History: Gunther came into John’s life when a family member of a local business owner needed to put Gunther up for adoption. The owner, Patti Law, of Hair On Main, asked her neighbor John if he would be interested in adopting Gunther. He immediately said “yes” and took Gunther into his heart, his home and his business. Gunther has been coming to the store for the past 7 years. He also was a staple at the store’s previous location.
▪ Where to see Gunther: In the display window of Beatnik’s clothing store, 215 E. Main St. Gunther’s weekly shift is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. He is off on Sundays because he needs time to prep for the work week.
▪ Owner: Patty Law, owner and operator Hair On Main beauty salon
▪ Pet: Gus, aka “Fussy Gussy,” an 8-year-old yorkie
▪ Pet History: Gus came into Patty’s life when her daughter decided to get a puppy. Unfortunately, Gus enjoyed spending time with his new grandmother more than his new mom. After a year, Patty adopted Gus from her daughter and give him a new home in her home and her salon. Gus and Patty work together in the salon and live together in the upstairs apartment. Gus has his own area in the salon, that he mostly uses to bark at salon patrons and eat his food. From time to time, Gunther from Beatnik’s will stop by to see Gus and eat his food. Gunther also has taught Gus some bad habits, such as how to break out of his doggie gate.
▪ Where to see Gus: Hair On Main salon, 221 E. Main St. Gus’s guard dog shift is 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. He takes Sundays and Mondays off to spend time with Patty.
▪ Owner: Suzanne Smith of Fairview Heights, owner and operator of Suzanne’s Missing Pieces antique shop
▪ Pet: Smittzy 3-year-old maltese/shih tzu mix
▪ Pet History: It was a cold rainy day when Suzanne and her boyfriend Doug found two little puppies on the side of th road. After bringing them home and cleaning them up, the couple decided to keep one of the puppies. Suzanne and Doug gave the female puppy to their neighbor, who asked if she could name the male puppy. She named Smittzy after the German word for dirty face, because the fur around his nose and mouth looked very brown and muddy.
▪ Where to see Smittzy: In the window display of Suzanne’s Missing Pieces, 104 E. Main St. Smittzy works the window 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sundays and Mondays are spent traveling to estate and garage sales to find new items for Suzanne’s store
▪ Owner: Rebecca Boyer of Belleville, director of business development at Kaskaskia Engineering Group
▪ Pet: Winston, 2-year-old Great Dane
▪ Pet History: Winston came into Rebecca’s life after she sought to find a new puppy for her family. She found this Great Dane pup from a breeder in the area. At the time, he weighed 22 pounds. Now, almost 2 years old, Winston weighs close to 200 pounds. Winston, Rebecca and her family live in a loft apartment in downtown Belleville. Whenerver they are not working together, Rebecca and Winston enjoy taking trips to the local dog park. Although his size can be intimidating at first glance, Winston is nothing more than a big puppy who loves to play. Those who pass by the office on Main Street can’t help but to marvel at such a large dog —175 pounds — walking around a standard-sized conference room.
▪ Where to see Winston: Towering over his coworkers of Kaskaskia Engineering Group, 208 E. Main St., No. 100. Although business hours are by appointment only, you can watch Winston in the window throughout the week.