Shop Dogs: Doing the Bulldog Harley shuffle

By JoAnn Bortles

Walk into most any Harley-Davidson dealership and someone will come and greet you. At Timm’s Harley-Davidson of Augusta, Georgia, that “someone” is two English Bulldogs. And chances are you will be laughing at their antics before you have a chance to do anything else. Winston and Otis are 2-year-old brothers who have grown up in the dealership. They belong to Jeff Hanson, the GM, and the dealership is their second home. They arrive with Jeff each morning just as they have since they were puppies. In fact, Winston has missed less work days than some other members of the team.

Although they are brothers, they have very different personalities. Winston is very active and loves to have a ball thrown so he can chase it. He’ll even chase an imaginary ball and the customers have a field day watching him chase a ball that isn’t there. Otis is more of an old soul. He loves to sleep and eat. He takes lots of naps, which can get annoying for Winston because he wants to play. As a result, Otis will chase Winston and the end result is one of the many wrestling matches that happen each day.

All this work wears them out so once they get home it’s time for snuggling with Jeff’s four boys and then straight to bed. On weekends they rest up so they can be ready for their grueling schedule of customer service at the dealership.

And seriously, customer service is their job and they do it well. Krystal Marrero is the marketing manager and told us about their job. “How do they make people happy? Not sure, exactly. But what I do know is that it happens instantly, like magic. People come in and are greeted by the boys. It’s almost like they just walked in their own home and it feels comfortable.”

Krystal continues, “The dogs immediately help put the customers at ease and that brings a smile to their face. The dogs have more people come in just to see them than anything else we offer. Customers are known to come in and play ball with the dogs. People will video tape and post it on social media. Many of our customers even know them by name. They are here every day and customers love to come in and have their picture taken with them. They are also highlighted on our social media, because people cannot get enough of them. Both, though, are extremely sweet to both human and fur guests. They are here to make sure everyone feels at home, part of the family. They are a joy to have inside the dealership and are even featured on our dealer T-shirts.”

That’s right; these guys even have their own T-shirts! Krystal told us more about that. “For us this was a no brainer once their popularity skyrocketed. Everybody loves them, and they bond with them. Maybe when they get the shirt it’s like carrying a photo in your wallet.”

But the guys do have one other job. Timm’s H-D has a popcorn machine and that stuff can get everywhere. So, the dogs make sure that any popcorn that is dropped on the floor is cleaned up. In fact, they patrol regularly looking for dropped popcorn.

So, for folks traveling through Georgia visiting H-D dealerships, make sure to stop by and meet the bulldog brothers. They’ll be waiting!

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