Business Buddies: Guard dogs Trigger, Lily, Merle

H&S Hunting may be about hunting animals, but the owners say they love living with animals, too, and one can look no further than the trio of dogs that bark in greeting when you enter the store on East E Street.

Co-owner Howard Craft said Lily was the first of the three, picking her up as a puppy roughly a decade ago.

“We picked her up from the vet’s office from an abused home,” Craft said.

Lily, a gray miniature schnauzer, met her two siblings, Trigger the chocolate schnauzer, and Merle the golden retriever, roughly three years ago.

Though Merle is too large and playful to hang out on the storefront with the rest of his adopted siblings most days, Craft said Lily and Trigger are there to greet customers every day.

“They are listening right now,” he said with a grin. “They know people’s voices. They love to be around people.”

He said hopefully, as Merle grows older, he will calm down enough to be able to join his siblings on the main floor without any issues.

Craft said they can hear the sound of a car door clicking open or closed and know from that sound alone whether a family member or close friend is about to enter the store, immediately barking in greeting.

“People come just to see the dogs,” he said. “They make people comfortable.”

Craft said he loves the relationships people form with dogs, and how happy they are to see you regardless of how long you have been away or what time it is.

While Lily does not like loud noises from crowds of strangers, Craft said Merle and Trigger are loving of anyone who walks into the store.

“We are not just in this to kill animals,” he said. “We have a tremendous love for dogs. It builds relationships.”

Passersby and regular customers come almost daily to give the dogs treats as payment for their work within the store.

Most of the time, the dogs remain in their kennels under the counter of the store, as Craft said he wants to make sure his store is clear of any potential tripping hazards from his pets walking around the store.

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