Shop Dogs: Off the beaten path

By JoAnn Bortles

When you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t matter where your shop is, whether it’s on the main road or off the beaten path. People will find you. That seems to be the main story at Stubby’s Cycles. He has a small shop that specializes in Harleys, but he’ll work on anything. Stubby was known for his custom paint and airbrushing but his shop has been so busy building and working on bikes that he hasn’t had time to pick up a paint gun or airbrush for two years now. What anyone needs done, he takes it on. “And if I don’t do it, I have some great folks I can send it out to. For example if a customer needs chrome plating or engine work, I have the right shop to send it out to. I have two painters that I use. Been doing for it for 10 years and I stay just as busy as I want to be.”

But Stubby has three unique members on his team. They create chaos that keeps Stubby laughing and teaches him not to take stress too seriously. Kira is a four-year-old purebred chocolate Lab. Bentley, a purebred black Lab, is seven years old. But the smallest one is usually the center of attention. Marley is a three-year-old Lab/Chihuahua mix and her favorite place is on Stubby or as close to him as she can get. And she is very skilled at using her big brown soulful eyes to get out of any situation.

When asked what their jobs in the shop are, Stubby answered, “To annoy me. They basically just like to hang out here with me when I’m working.” They also help to lift spirits when the shop gets stressful. “Marley, the little one, is always jumping up on my lap. She can sense when I get stressed out. She’s also been known to jump up on bikes periodically.” And Stubby has to be careful on what he leaves around. The dogs have been known to mistake a mint-condition bagger’s front fender for a chew toy. And once they get something, it’s done.

But they also keep a close watch on anything that might be going on. If anyone walks by the shop or gets close, they let Stubby know. Nothing goes on around there without the dogs knowing. They are all friendly dogs, once they get to know you. But they can be very intimidating if they don’t.

As watchful as they are, they can also get pretty goofy. Summer nights are prime fly season. To control the fly population, Stubby uses a Bug A-Salt gun. It’s a plastic pump action gun that uses salt as ammo. “Well, one night recently, all three of them decided that the gun was a toy and were attacking the gun and chasing after anything I shot with it. And just generally creating mayhem. The air gun is another tool that they tend to attack. Just about anything with air they tend to go after and play with it.”

But Stubby has to keep an eye on them as they all have minds of their own. The three amigos are young and wild. “My customers actually love the dogs, but I don’t normally have them out in the shop when customers come by. Two of them are runners and they keep on eye out for the open door. Bentley is a little shy around men, so it takes a while for him to warm up. But he always warms up to everyone. “

“Bentley was purchased from a breeder. Kira is a rescue from a breeder. They didn’t like the looks of her and they were actually going to put her down at nine months old.” Marley came into their lives after a flood. She was left locked in a car for about a week in 90-degree heat. It’s incredible she even survived.

But it all came together, and the three dogs get along like peas and carrots. Stubby has had dogs since he was a kid and can’t imagine his life without a dog or three in it. “They’re just crazy little bastards and they are the world to me.”

One thought on “Shop Dogs: Off the beaten path”

  1. My pup not only hangs out in the shop with me, he rides with me! My wife quit riding the bike with me about 17 years ago now. I got a Ural with a sidecar to see if she’d like that although I didn’t expect to. Well, her mind was made up but my Boxer, Archie, loved the sidecar. So after a couple years riding the Ural more than the Harley, I sold it and my Kwik Kamp trailer and purchased a Liberty sidecar for the Harley. The adventure continues to this day. Petey rides with me now. My third sidecar sidekick. All rescues from a local shelter. I wish there was a way to attach a photo.

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