More Shopdogs and Shopcats

In January, Asha Agnish photographed the neighborhood’s shopdogs (and one shopcat). Three of those images were selected for a group show, “Art of Commerce,” which just opened at the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer (1 Centre St., a.k.a the Municipal Building, 19th floor; a reception, open to all, will be held this Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; “Art of Commerce” will be up through Oct. 29). In the meantime, Asha has taken portraits of several more shopdogs and shopcats. They’re the Employees of the Month—and they’d like their treats now, thank you very much.

Oscar and Lucy.
Shih Tzu.
“I’m the owner/parent, but Lucy is the boss,” says Cristina Dos Santos.
What’s their workday like?
“Lucy greets and Oscar sleeps.”
Anything else we should know?
“I’m the luckiest with such well behaved and beautiful pets, although I’m not quite sure how they ended up so well behaved.”

Otis (top), Porter (above left), and Neo.
Husky (Otis); Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Porter); and Australian Shepherd (Neo).
Otis’s owner is Jim Peterson; Porter’s is Rob Crespi. “Jim and Rob are neighbors and friends,” says Elan owner Mike Davis. “Both Otis and Porter come out to our kennel, Kinnaman Kennel, in western Jersey. Their dads, who wanted a place for them to hang out and be around people during the day, asked if they could stay with us here in the shop. They’re great dogs so we said yes.” Neo’s owner is Neno Pessoa, Mike’s partner in the kennel.
What’s their workday like? “These guys hang out in the flower shop while their dads go to work. They’re a great draw as the local kids love to pull their moms and dads in to visit the dogs.”
Anything else we should know? “Neo has always been a flower-shop dog, from his puppy years at Hudson River Flowers (on Hudson Street), which Neno and I sold five years ago and bought the house where we started the kennel. We board a lot of Tribeca pets there.”

Name: Scout.
Breed: Black Lab mix (she’s a one-year-old rescue dog).
Owner/parent/boss: Lucie-Valentine Gill Lagodich, 10-year old daughter of co-owners Tracy Gill and Simeon Lagodich.
What’s her workday like? “Scout goes to work when I go to school,” says Lucie-Valentine. “Her day is like any other shopdog’s. She sleeps, eats, and fools around (and sometimes snores). Fortunately she has learned not to chew on the antique frames, though sometimes she’ll explore the gilding studio and emerge with stray bits of gold leaf attached to her whiskers”
Anything else we should know? “She has that famous Lab hospitality and is kind to everyone she meets, four-legged or two. We’re right next door to Canis Minor and she likes to sit by the glass doors and watch the other dogs go in and out. But she never barks. We call it doggy television.”

Claudine Christodoulides, wife of OLighting owner Andrew Chris.
What’s his workday like?
“Clyde is a lazy worker but since he’s in the family, we haven’t fired him,” says OLighting general manager Chris Christo (who is Andrew’s brother and therefore Clyde’s uncle). “He tends to pop into work whenever it’s nice and warm out. Once here, he sleeps on my keyboard while I try and work. He’s a big fan of treats and is willing to do tricks—sit, lie down, roll over, etc.—for them. He loves to sit in the front of the store when the sun can hit him.”
Anything else we should know? “When customers are here, he follows me around as I help them. Customers love to play with him—if they can get his attention. He likes to play hard to get.”

What’s his workday like?
“He eats his breakfast in the morning—and starts looking for treats right afterward,” says Mike. “Then he plays around with his favorite toy, a mouse. All day long you can see him playing inside or sitting outside.”
Anything else we should know?
“He’s a very friendly cat—he loves people and kids.”

Name: Giri (pronounced “Gidrrdri”).
Breed: Striped Gray.
Owner/parent/boss: trans.LUXE owner Sandra Santos.
What’s his workday like? “Giri wakes up around 6 a.m. and jumps around the lighting and sculptures,” says Sandra. “These are his early-morning chores. Then he tucks into a light breakfast of crunchy snacks. He tours the store and lamp shade–making area, then descends into the metal studio where he completes his morning ‘rituals.’ He’s now ready for work: He displays himself all over the main table in the shop, where he awaits the fresh flower delivery which he tends to tuck into (hence the nibbled roses). He’s now ready for a nap in the center of office manager Rocio’s desk—yes, right where Rocio wants to work. At 1 p.m. he is ready for his real work, which is to sit in the front window and pose for photographs. This routine is repeated until 6 p.m. After that, who knows?”
Anything else we should know? “He is widely photographed, loves people, and never sets a paw beyond the front step of trans.LUXE.”

Domestic Shorthair.
Jean-Marie Cooper-Durst, manager of Water 4 Dogs (see below). “But Mo hangs out in the Wagging Trail,” says Jean-Marie. “He basically prowls around wherever he fancies.”
What’s his workday like?
“My father-in-law gets here about 6 a.m. and Mo is wailing because he feels like he’s been starving. After getting fed, he sits in the office or on the front desk, watching clients come in and out. He greets them and sometimes he bites them—soft, playful bites! He has a supervisor position. We do rescue work, and we use him as a tester with rescue dogs. He doesn’t run after dogs or away from them and a lot of dogs react to that.”
Anything else we should know?
“I’m a vet tech, and Mo used to live in the animal hospital where I worked. When the hospital closed, I took him with me. He’s been a great addition. When people need downtime or animal time, he’s able to help them relax. He’s very social.”

Pit Bull.
John Larson, a hydrophysical therapist at Water 4 Dogs.
What’s her workday like?
“I call her the lifeguard,” says John. “She sits by the pool and watches everyone swim. And she has an orange collar, appropriately enough. She’s a little lazy in the morning. I have to wake her up and get her moving. She loves everybody, greets everybody like a hostess. She’s a good distraction for me when I’m focusing on my work.”
Anything else we should know?
“She was raised as a fighter—she was a rescue. We were trying to get her to do some modeling for a while, but she wouldn’t sit and stay for five minutes so she didn’t pass that test. Also, we have a cat who comes in and swims. Jinjer wants to be friends with cats but they don’t always want to be friends with her.”

About the author: Freelance photographer Asha Agnish first picked up a camera in college, simply as a means to document her theatrical lighting designs. Over the years, photography became her main means of artistic expression; she’s primarily concerned with documenting social and natural landscapes at home and abroad. She’s also a teaching assistant at the International Center of Photography.



  1. This is a wonderful example of getting into an animal’s head. They are all stupendously alert and live up to their photos. Congrats!

  2. love this piece! I love it when there is an animal in a store.. really brings life into the room.