Unlikely employee lends a paw at Redbud Hardware Store

BUCHANAN, Mich. (WNDU) - There's a new employee at Redbud Hardware Store. He takes naps on the job and eats from the floor but always seems to make the customers smile.

"This is his third week on the job," said Tracy Dippo, the owner of both puppy Peat and the shop. "He's a 10-week-old silver lab. His name is Peat, P-E-A-T."

Peat is no ordinary employee at Redbud Hardware.

"He's really good at picking up stray popcorn," Dippo said with a laugh. "He loves to nibble on shoelaces or purse handles. He helps unload the trucks, helps put stock away -- or un-away."

"It gets a little chaotic at times," said Christie Kuehn, the store's manager. "We get busy in here waiting on customers, then we have the occasional potty break that needs to be taken, and lots of little kids coming in to see him. It gets a little hectic, but it's fun."

Customers are used to seeing a dog when they come through the door.

"We opened this store in 2001 with a black lab named Izzy, and then we had Henry, a yellow lab," Dippo said.

After Henry died earlier this year, the community was there to help.

"When we lost Henry, unbeknownst to us, the city of Buchanan put out a post of Henry passing and putting up their sympathy to us and the staff," Dippo said. "Before we knew it, over 1,000 posts with not just likes but stories of how Henry impacted these people's lives, and we had no idea. He was special to us, but we didn't realize he was special to so many other people."

Peat has big shoes to fill, but he doesn't seem too bothered by all the attention. He's just focused on learning tricks, getting treats and sneaking in a nap while he's on the job.

Redbud Hardware is located at 266 E. Front St. in Buchanan.