Dogs have been our working partners for thousands of years. While few dogs actually have to work anymore, the current crisis is putting some of them into the canine labor pool. For one winery in Maryland a dog is the answer to suddenly not being able to have guests come in and socialize with a glass of wine. A dog named Soda Pup took up the duties of curbside delivery.
Lori Yata, co-owner of the Stone House Urban Winery in Hagerstown, Maryland, had to think on her feet to keep her business functioning. Then she noticed that her 11-year-old brindle boxer, Soda Pop, was looking depressed. He was used to getting a lot more attention with all of the guests who came in. Soda was used to hanging out and waiting to see who was coming in when the door would chime. Naturally, the regulars were his favorites. Before the crisis people were known to order a glass of wine and then ssit on the floor with Soda.
This led to one of those "aha!" moments that Oprah is so fond of talking about. The winery began offering curbside service with a twist. You could have the wine of your choice delivered to your car by either human or dog. It took some training to make sure Soda knew what his duties were and Yata has to check the area for cats, squirrels, geese, or other distractions before she sends him on his way. Once the dog figured out what he was getting to do he was all in.
Soda is equipped with a dog-sized saddlebag that can carry two bottles of wine. Yata also slips in a little something extra so that the customer can "tip" him. As you know, treats are always gladly accepted. Aside from this people are not allowed to feed him.
When a call comes in and Yata holds up the vest and Soda comes running and waits to be suited up for the next delivery. There is a strict limit of two bottles and one trip per customer. This operation has offered this business a small lifeline that may make it possible to survive the pandemic.
The service with Soda is so popular that Yata is considering having him continue it after things go back to normal. Sadly, this is a retirement job for Soda. At 11 he is very much a senior dog. The life span for boxers is generally 10-12 years. Perhaps the love and joy he spreads will gain him extra time. He's a very good dog.
Images via WJLA