8 years ago, we walked out of PAWS Chicago and loaded this beauty into my Toyota Corolla to bring home to our loft in the West Loop (this photo was taken just a few weeks after we adopted her). Her name was Adrianna, and we knew that was going to be too much of a mouthful for us. We bounced a few names back and forth that didn't really stick. Then, we started talking about Scott's new hobby of homebrewing, and the name Barley just fit.
Even at the age of 9, she is still the same puppy who runs in circles the second you pick up her leash for a walk and wags her tail like a windmill in a storm when we come home from work.
Four years after we moved to N.C., we adopted a dog named Midget from Love Mutts Rescue. We always wanted to name our next dog Hops because it would fit so perfectly with Barley, but we also didn't want to force it. For those of you who have met our boy at events, you know he LOVES to be loved and will hop like a bunny until you give him the attention he wants (this includes rubbing his distinctive tiny ears). So of course, the name Hops stuck.
Barley was and still is the inspiration for Barley Labs. We make many decisions about the business based on our life with her (and now her brother Hops), and that will continue with the new shop. In this post, we want to share with you the parts of the new space that have been inspired by both of our pups.
In addition to the donations we make through the sales of our treats, we also would love to partner with local rescue/shelter organizations to showcase adoptable dogs. To any prospective rescue staff and volunteers -- please know you always will be taken care of when hosting an event at our space because we have so much love and respect for what you do. We also want to work with local trainers to host workshops on anything ranging from behavioral issues to fun tricks and games. If you are a part of a rescue or training organization that is interested in working with us, please contact us!
We also plan to offer blankets and soft mats/pads for your pup to lounge on while you're hanging out at the shop. Our space has a mix of tile and concrete (read: these are the existing floors, and we don't have the money to replace them), so even though the floors might be on the cold/hard side, hopefully our blankets/mats will help make your pup's stay a bit more enjoyable.
Ahh, tuggy time -- a Barley and Hops favorite. While we won't have toys like this at our shop for a few reasons (let's not tempt fights or off-leash shenanigans), we will offer individual toys like Kongs, puzzles, and snuffle mats to keep your pup occupied. Every pup that comes in will get a small dish of treats to be used with these toys.
For all the wonderful things she is, Barley is also...let's just say...particular. You know how there are a lot of dogs out there who have "never met a stranger?" Yeah, that's not our girl. With a few exceptions (the staff at her vet office, her daycare/boarding pals), most other people and dogs are a threat. We've provided a great deal of training to get her to a point where she can mostly be distracted by a combo of sit/down/treat (though this still doesn't work in and around our house and neighborhood for some reason). However, we know her limitations, and we're hoping our customers know their dogs just as well.
We're working on the right balance of seating, retail space, and room to move for both you and your dogs. We will do our very best to make sure you and your pup feel comfortable, but we also will need your help in creating the kind of space all dog and beer lovers can enjoy.
We touched on retractable leashes and not petting without permission in our very first post of this series, but we do want to address the latter further. As we mentioned previously, we hope our customers always will ask an owner before petting his/her dog. However, we also ask that you help us create an environment where "No, but thanks!" is more than ok. We also know that not everyone will adhere to this request. There had been a movement in the dog world to tie yellow ribbons on leashes as a signal that the dog needs space and does not like to be touched. We plan to implement this system and post signs around our shop to help our customers understand the importance of this symbol.
And that's all for now, pals! Next week, we're going to unveil our job postings (yay!) and talk more about what to expect as a Barley Labs pack member (employee).