They might not be 30-car guys or gals, but these furry four-leggeds are making waves at their dealerships all the same.
Sadie the miniature pinscher, Ozzie the (late, great) English bulldog, and Blaze the striped cat are putting smiles on the faces of customers and coworkers alike, while bringing awareness to the need to help other dogs and cats find good homes.
All three are rescue pets. Sadie was found sickly on the beach in Galveston, Ozzie was adopted, and Blaze was rescued from a burning building.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats enter shelters nationwide every year, approximately 3.2 million are adopted, and approximately 1.5 million are euthanized.
Sadie Finds Love
Sadie loves her bears. That’s what her dozens of plush stuffed animal toys are called, regardless of what type of animal they are.
One day, Sadie borrowed a small stuffed giraffe toy (“bear”) meant for sticking on a car’s windshield that the parts department had for sale at John Eagle Honda of Houston, her home away from home. Why not? All other bears are hers.
When Sadie’s adopted mom, IT Marketing Director Christine Clauder, found her running around the store with the toy, she gently chided, “Bring me the bear, Sadie. That’s not yours.”
A young boy who was waiting with his mom in the service area looked confused and said, “Ma’am, that’s a giraffe.”
Sadie (Chief Barketing Officer) loves coming into the dealership and provides a lot of comic relief and fun moments for both employees and customers. But her life wasn’t always so happy.
She was found skinny and sickly wandering lost on Galveston Beach by a neighbor of John Eagle Honda’s owner, Mac DeLaup, in 2015. Afraid of everyone, Sadie would only approach the neighbor’s daughter, who eventually brought the little dog to DeLaup, because he had rescued several other dogs.
After searching for Sadie’s owners and verifying that she wasn’t microchipped, DeLaup presented her to Clauder.
“It was right around April Fool’s Day and I had given him a pet crawfish in a tank on his desk,” Clauder says. “I think that’s why he gave me Sadie! [Laughs] He also knows how much I love animals.”
When Sadie was taken in for a checkup, the vet discovered quite a bit of internal damage to her organs, a sign of harsh abuse.
Sadie is a happy pup now and is making huge strides toward a full recovery.
“She’s really come a long way and grown to trust people more,” Clauder says proudly. “She’s my baby.”
Follow Sadie’s adventures on Facebook at Sadie the Honda Dog, where you’ll also see her sporting the handknit sweaters that a customer made for her.
The Ozzie Fund
Ozzie, another adopted dog, has been a big part of Kingston Nissan in New York ever since opening day in 2005. Because he was short of stature and moved a bit slowly (and also enjoyed naps), the team would tie a balloon to his collar to ensure that he wouldn’t get stepped on in the day-to-day busyness of the dealership.
Customers and employees alike loved the friendly, stocky white and brown English bulldog. Ozzie even starred in a series of light-hearted video ads for the dealership called “In the Eyes of Ozzie,” some of which can still be found online.
Like this one, where he barks when he likes a car and … does something else when he doesn’t.
When Ozzie passed away a few years ago, he was sorely missed. To honor his memory and bring attention and monetary help to other companion animals who need homes, GM Tom Gordon and the rest of the team started the Ozzie Fund. Through it, the dealership participates in local animal-shelter events and other community events to help raise awareness and money for rescue animals, makes their own regular donations, and hosts garage sales and other events to raise additional funds. Four non-kill shelters in Upstate New York are the beneficiaries.
Following in Ozzie’s footsteps isn’t easy, but a smaller mixed pup named Jackson can now be found wagging his tail at the dealership daily.
Multimedia Coordinator Wil Eagleston says that the dogs and the community involvement are representative of the dealership’s laid-back but engaged atmosphere and contribute to the high employee retention rate.
“I started at Kingston right after high school and they supported me throughout college,” says Eagleston. “I love it here and I’m not the exception. Our retention rate is way above normal. It’s just a great place to work.”
Blaze’s Own Trail
Blaze’s first stroke of good luck, you could say, was surviving a burning building. His second was landing at Volvo Cars Ramsey in New Jersey.
This is where he’s spent most of his time over the past few years, lazing about in the sun, getting pets and treats from coworkers, and being effortlessly adorable to customers.
Blaze was adopted from Middletown Humane Society – the dealership has since added a link to their website and encourages everyone to adopt.
Does your dealership have an adopted animal? We’d love to hear about them!