Shop Dogs: The four-dog circus

By JoAnn Bortles

Dogs are one of the best therapies. Just looking at dogs can make a person smile. Then there are the dogs that make us laugh. Dogs with hyper, happy personalities and a zest for life that moves faster than a hot-rod Harley. Add four of these dogs together with a dyno tuning expert and you get JD’s Cycle Works in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The circus started out in 2007 when Dave and Janine Stoddard adopted Dash, a sweet little longhaired dachshund. Shortly after, they started JD’s Cycle Works. Dave is a lifelong gearhead and spent 20 years working in the racecar and hot-rod industry. He bought a DynoJet 250i and soon became known as the guy to see for tuning Harleys.

“Dave felt that it would be very unfair if Dash was home alone so he immediately started taking him to work with him,” Janine said. “We were in a small shop on Applebutter Road at the time, two service bays and the bay for the Dyno. Then I decided to get a female, Biscuit, to keep Dash company. Because anyone with dachshunds knows that they’re like potato chips; no one can have just one.”

“Well, Dash and Biscuit had some puppies, who literally were born on a motorcycle lift one summer day. We kept two, Sadie and Yuengling.” The beautiful and happy dog family went to work with Dave every day for years. Dogs show us how to be happy. Imagine the crazy circus of four dachshunds running around, moving at the speed of sound, fitting as much life as possible into each moment while they run to the truck to go to work, and then enjoy the adventure of the ride. What an incredible life lesson Dave witnessed every day with his dog family! In 2011, the shop moved to Route 412 in Hellertown. During that time, a customer came in who knew of a severely abused dachshund. The poor little guy, Baron, soon became a part of the family and the business too.

In 2014, Dave and Janine made the difficult decision of closing their shop so Dave could work for a local dealer. The dogs could not go to work with him and life just wasn’t the same. Then in 2016, old Baron crossed the rainbow bridge. Biscuit joined him in early 2018 and the family’s hearts were broken. So, Dave decided to make another change and bring the dogs back in his life full time. JD’s Cycle Works reopened in 2018 and the dog circus was back in town! In November, they added another little guy to round out the group and three-year-old Odie started to learn the ropes of being a shop dog.

“Here’s the typical day for our pups,” Janine said. “Roll out of bed between 5:45 a.m. and 6:00, eat breakfast and beg while we eat ours. After breakfast Dave says, ‘Who wants to go to work?’ and they all race to the garage door. When they get out to the truck, Dave opens the driver’s side door and they all put their paws onto the door frame and wait to be boosted into the seat.  When they arrive at the shop, Dave opens the door and unloads each one where they proceed to run barking and wagging their tails to the front door. They are super excited to go to work! When they get in, after greeting our staff, they are put into the office area, where they spend much of their time listening for the front door and making sure that customers do not go into the shop area. When someone comes into the office, they will greet the customers only after we are sure the customers don’t mind dogs. Many customers love seeing the pups, and our landlord gives them goodies every morning when they arrive.”

“We’re trying to break Odie of howling. He loves to follow our landlord into his office and sit there and howl at him. Bad habit, but kind of funny since he doesn’t howl at anyone else. And they are the greeting committee and security system for customers. They offer comfort to Dave when he’s stressed, and they bring a smile to customers’ faces. I’ve been told more than once that it’s comforting walking into a business like ours, where it literally feels like walking into someone’s home. When people meet the dogs for the first time, we tell them to ‘be good’ and they will go out to the customer. If a person is having a hard day, they can tell. Sadie or Yuengling flip over for belly rubs when they sense someone needs that.“

So, if you’re near Nazareth and need a smile or some service on your Harley, stop by and meet the four-dog circus. You’ll be glad you did!

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