We’ve always been lovers of animals here at Warner’s Nursery.
When we first started at our current location, we had two working cats – Sage and Cinders – whose job it was to control the mouse population. They not only worked at the nursery, they worked their way into our hearts. It became important for us, as a family business, to have animals around, because we always considered them a part of our family.
Our nursery pets have been both dogs and cats, some feral, some adopted from shelters, some that have just wound up on our doorstep, but we have loved them all – and so have many of our customers.
Here’s the 411 on the current members of our 4-legged crew:
Poncho Bob – I probably need to explain the name. He’s our feral kitty, found one day under the fertilizer pallet. The staff wanted to name him after Pancho Villa, the Mexican general (no idea why) and my sons wanted to call him “Bob” (again, no idea why). So in the mashup, he became Poncho Bob, but answers to Poncho. Insists on sitting in my office chair and leaving no room for me. I think we know who’s the boss in this relationship. Favorite activity: curling around my neck and having me wear him like a scarf. Second favorite activity – raiding our stores of catnip plants.
Cruzer – Many of you know our black & white cat. Cruzer is easily one of the most sociable animals we’ve ever had here at Warner’s. He greets customers and will tolerate total strangers carrying him around. Is adverse to you doing paperwork when you could be petting him instead (most of my staff has learned this the hard way). Also a big fan of hide-and-seek; he’s been known to hide behind plants – startling customers when they go to pick them up – or in our cabinet drawers in the office, which he knows how to open.
Oliver came to us after my sister, Marni, started talking about getting a dog. One of our regular customers works with Paw Placement and when I saw Oliver, I knew he was the one for her. He’s a crowd favorite (he still looks like a puppy, although he’s a grumpy old man when you touch his paws). Loves everyone. Like our original cats, a very good mouser. If he sneaks out of the office, he can usually be found at the registers, begging for a treat.
If Oliver is Marni’s rescue buddy, Kina is mine. A few years back we were having our Fall Family Festival when a customer came in with a litter of abandoned puppies that someone had just left outside her work in a box. Kina’s smart and funny and loyal to the family, but you might not see her around because she’s still a bit nervous around other humans and dogs. She has a reason to be nervous about other dogs; it feels like every time we go out with her, we get chased by dogs. We’ve theorized that maybe there’s a “hit” out for her in the doggy world; maybe she wasn’t abandoned at all, but is part of some canine witness protection program!
(No, I don’t give my dogs and cats human characteristics and make up elaborate backstories for them. Why do you ask?)
Our other little doggie girl, Bailey, a beautiful retriever, just came to us this past winter. She’s got the sweetest, most mellow temperament. If she sees a child, she immediately runs to them. She loves all animals too. Well, almost all; she’s still working on her relationships with the cats.
Our cats live on the nursery property and inside the nursery itself in cold weather, but the dogs go home each night with either me or Marni. I’m not quite sure what it says about me that I once left work and forgot my middle son, but I’ve never left without the dogs. (I have a good excuse though – I really, really thought my husband had already taken my son home.)
Because I spend so much time here, the nursery often feels like my “home away from home,” so having beloved family members here (my husband, Dan, working our landscaping business, Marni at the desk next to me, my sons either visiting or working here in the summer, and, of course, the critter crew) is very important to me.
And whether it’s kids running up to Bailey and getting greeted with licks and a wagging tail or Cruzer stopping by to say “Hey,” there’s nothing like a cat or dog to let you know you should chill, enjoy the moment, and have some fun.