Two Barkers Bring Twice the Smiles to Lyle’s

Owners Sue and Tom Schinke with Abigail and Brandy at Lyle’s TV & Appliance. The two pooches are considered part of the team, and are woven into the fabric of their family business.

Abigail and Brandy have the run of the house and the store

By Andy Kriege, YSN

What’s better than having your dog with you while you work? Having two!

That’s the consensus at Lyle’s TV & Appliance in Elkhorn, Wis. owners Sue and Tom Schinke tote their two best friends with them to work every day. Abigail is a 3-year-old basset hound, and Brandy Alexandra is a 1-year-old Doberman pinscher.

“These two girls give constant love and great companionship to all of us,” Sue said. “They put a smile on all our faces whenever we are around them. It gives me peace of mind that I can watch them throughout the day. Brandy is epileptic and needs medication. I’m not sitting here at my desk wondering if she is back home in her crate having a seizure. Gratefully, her medication is working.” 

The Schinkes selected Brandy from a nearby breeder (where their adult daughter Nicole fell in love with a littermate and added a Doberman pup to her own household). As for Abigail, Tom had been searching for a basset hound for quite some time. When he came across her at a local breeder, he jumped at the chance to bring her home — even though the pup had pneumonia. Abby, as they affectionately call her, is doing great now under the Schinkes’ loving care.

When Abigail the basset hound isn’t snoozing in a chair, she is a terrific greeter. Her first move is to roll over for a belly rub from whomever will oblige her.

“Abby has always been very laid back,” Sue said. “She is particularly fond of children. She can tell when a child enters our store by their footsteps. Even if she is sound asleep, she suddenly wakes up when a child enters.”

The couple have had very few issues, if any, with bringing their dogs to the store. If a customer has an aversion to canines, the pups are ordered to lay back down in their beds and obey. But for any BrandSource members considering taking their pets to work, Sue stressed the importance of knowing their dogs as well as their customers.

“Make sure the pets are socially friendly and take note of any aggressive signals,” she said. “Also, pay attention to your customer’s body language. If a customer is not comfortable around your dog, keep them separated.”

The dogs get along famously and are free to roam throughout the business, but seem to fancy their office beds and the warehouse.

“Tom and I have had many dogs over the years,” Sue added, “and there are some that we wouldn’t bring into our business on a regular basis. But these two girls are part of the family and have been a blessing to have here at work. I knew they would be great company for the staff, but never expected such a positive reaction from so many customers.”

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BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.