ROCKPORT — There is someone in charge of greeting customers at the entrance to Jeff’s Vacuum in Rockport and it is not always the owner, Jeff Hall.
The greeter and store mascot is a golden retriever called Max. His office is really a space where he spreads out on the floor near the front door. Max carefully positions himself so when the front door opens he does not have to move if he is napping.
Hall said that the hot summer days are filled with lots of customers, conversation and pet therapy at the shop.
Max has had to learn to take over the reigns at the shop on a solo basis. His older brother, best friend, and co-worker “Buddy” died suddenly on January 31 after a short battle with cancer after he was diagnosed with a tumor on his spine. They had been inseparable buddies since Max’s adoption in 2015.
Hall and his wife, Linda, were devastated about Buddy’s sudden death. And, Max continued to grieve the loss for several months.
“He often wouldn’t eat much of his breakfast or dinner, even with some gravy on top of his food to spice it up, was mopey and kept losing weight,” said Hall. “Nothing worked to get his spirits up.”
Then Max met Scout, a fetching female golden retriever.
Hall said they have had several dates and Max has really bounced back. “He is eating on a regular schedule and has more energy,” added Hall.
Scout’s parents are Mary Moran and Bruce Haffener of South Hope. They are waiting for Scout to go into heat during the new few months so they can breed her with Max.
For now, the pair of canines have a total courtship, according to Hall. They have become an affectionate couple after several play dates, long walks and overnight stays. Scout even stops by the shop to visit her beau.
If all goes well, Hall will adopt a puppy from the litter.
In the meantime, Max continues to greet the many visitors who come to see him at the shop. Hall said that kids especially love to stop by with their parents to see Max.
A few years ago, there was a special situation involving a young child who was afraid of dogs. The boy came to meet Buddy at the shop. Hall said that over several visits Buddy “trained” the boy to love and trust him which helped him overcome his fear of dogs.
Another regular visitor is a teenage boy who comes to play with Max while Hall services his grandfather’s vacuum cleaner.
Both Max and Buddy were adopted by the Halls. Max was headed to the shelter after his owner could no longer care for him. Buddy was a stray found in Warren and Hall found him at the Pope Memorial Human Society in Thomaston when was just over one-year old.
Hall said that “it’s all about dogs here at Jeff’s Vacuum. Everyone loves to come and see Max and Buddy when he was alive.”
This story will be updated when more information becomes available. Hall said he is hoping for a boy.
Reach Sarah Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org