Call me Wally.
Some years ago—three to be exact—I was taken from my litter pals and driven to a community named Bexley, Ohio. Whenever I found myself lonely or bored, or felt sadness creep into my soul, my adopted family gave me lots of pats and hugs. When I got excitable, they took me on walks and they’d prevent me from stepping into the street to keep me safe. They exposed me to many new adventures.
I suppose I should share with you that I’m a mini Aussie Labradoodle. I’ve met a lot of people wherever I go, and everyone pets me a lot because I have black silky fur. My trademark is a white stripe down my chest like a skunk (but I don’t smell!) and white hair on my chin. I’ve been told that I am pretty advanced for my age. Maybe that’s why I’ve been chosen to be a bookstore mascot! (Can you tell that I like Moby Dick?)
My adoptive mom is the owner of this bookstore, Gramercy Books (I suppose that might have had a little bit to do with how I was selected to serve in this important role). I often come to the store with her to explore. I love to sniff the customers to learn about their dogs or cats, and the food they just ate and the places they’ve been. Each person has his or her story, which I am able to sniff out with my very discerning nose. (Did you know that dogs have three hundred million olfactory receptors while humans only have six million? And that a dog’s brain has forty times the capacity of humans to analyze scents? I learned this from an author who came to the bookstore last month named Steve who wrote a book about his first guide dog. Steve is blind and he’s a poet, and his book, Have Dog, Will Travel, has that kind of cool information inside.)
I love stories and, while I can’t read, I know there are many stories inside the thousands of books covering the sturdy bookshelves that fill this bookstore space. I have several favorite spaces at Gramercy Books. One is the children’s section. This fun area has white shelves, carpet, and whimsical lights, and the smells in this space definitely add to my experience! There are toddler smells—the potty kind—and a lot of food smells because the little people who visit here are often holding a treat of some kind. Sometimes, I find a piece of a cookie or cracker on the floor or can lick the sticky hands reaching out for me. I love to be cuddled and the children (who aren’t scared of canines like me) snuggle and pet me a lot. I am afraid of most two-year-olds because they’re often unpredictable. The other day, one pulled my tail and wouldn’t let go, but the calmer, older kids are fun to play with.
I also love the café. It’s called Kittie’s. Mom has taught me to stand at the opened barn door and not step over the line because animals aren’t allowed inside places where food is served. But, ooh, the smells are beyond description! There’s a canister of homemade dog bones at the checkout counter. I know this because my mom sometimes buys one and rewards me for being such a good dog for staying behind the line. Most of the customers, and the staff, have learned not to call my name so I don’t get tempted to enter the café. They know to come over to me if they want to show me affection.
I love that the entire bookstore staff and Kittie’s staff greet me when I come by. They take time to bend down and stroke my back or rub behind my ears. Some even give me a treat when Mom isn’t looking. So, Gramercy Books is a place where I love to hang out. I hope you come and visit me there. It’s a second home to me.
I recently found that I get to have my own favorite picks. My first pick (in March) was Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover. I must admit that I liked the big pencil on the cover, but I also thought the title might give me credibility so people would pay attention to my reading recommendations. I especially notice those books that are displayed face out and the ones with big and bold designs on the cover. If they have a dog in the story, like Steve’s, that gets my vote (it was my April pick). But I also listen to my mom and to the Gramercy staff when the boxes of new books arrive and are placed on shelves. So, stay tuned! Gramercy now has a hashtag just for me: #WallyReads! It really makes me feel very special.
My May pick for #WallyReads is a departure from my last two selections, which were memoirs about characters who overcame extreme hardship in their youth. This month, I shift to fiction with Jo Nesbo’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. How cool is that? Here are a few hints to pique your interest: Nesbo sees the original classic as a thriller about the struggle for power set in a “gloomy, stormy noir crime-like” locale so he moves from Shakespeare’s 11thcentury to the 1970s, sets the story in Glasgow, and fills it with drugs, gangs and corrupt civic leaders. I think that could be a pretty exciting read, don’t you?
Written by Wally
About the author: I am a mini Aussie Labradoodle and turned three in February. When I am not at the bookstore, I might be taking a walk in the neighborhood, playing with my large variety of indestructible squeaky toys from Pet People, or taking a well-deserved nap.