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The Tentacle


August 5, 2005

Allison's Dog Days

Roy Meachum

Downtown's first Saturday promotion in August will be no mere Gallery Walk; this one belongs to the bow-wows. They share with the homegrown Braques. It has been officially designated Frederick's Dog Days.

While the popular fancy may believe this time of year belongs to the hounds because the weather is so doggoned hot, the Romans hung the label around the month named for the Caesar who came after Julius because of what seers saw in the sky.

The Canis Major constellation contains Sirius, which some ancient figured out shone like a diamond in the collar of the heavenly dog that ran alongside its companion constellation, named for Orion who was, after all, a hunter and therefore needed a four-legged companion for his forays. Both man and beast are supposedly at their celestial best right now. (There will be no test!)

When I was a kid the myth floated around that they were called the dog days because the weeks in late July and August brought the danger of wild-eyed critters, foaming at the mouth, looking for boys and girls they could bite. The result was inevitably painful death from hydrophobia, more commonly called rabies. At least one grandparent specialized in the frightening tale.

Frederick has a fourth reason to celebrate canines this weekend. Her name is Allison Leavitt and she owns Two Paws Up, a dog boutique located across from the side of the News-Post building. If you have driven over Carroll Street recently, you have no need to ask where it is.

However, you might appreciate an explanation for why that small building, on Carroll's west side, has that unusual paint job, showing the entrance, for example, as the door to a dog house. That colorful illusion snagged Allison a front page picture from her neighbor across the street.

Official objections to her most obvious - and memorable - dog-on-the-corner sign kept the media flow flowing this week, which, of course, culminates in the downtown festival that owes more than occasional promotion to Ms. Leavitt. (By the way, she got her sign back without paying a fine; it now sits in front of her shop, reportedly tethered by a leash, to stop future wandering.)

Alicia L's and BB&T bank excepted, virtually all the other treats Pushkin enjoys on our daily wanderings come from the lady who has made her Paw prints so much a part of life in the historic district. Her Paws especially appear on water bowls that sit outside shops waiting for Pushki's English pointer thirst, which can be formidable.

Business success downtown can be an iffy proposition: the only source of greens, cornbread and fish disappeared this week when Happy's Soul Food restaurant abruptly closed its doors. While I was not able to get corroboration, there seemed to have been a problem with the landlord, a problem Two Paws Up will not soon face.

Allison bought her building before she started shelling out for all the promotion, which certainly made it easier for her to order up the paint job that has already become part of Frederick's outdoor art treasures - as has the lady who spends moments on North Market Street. Pushkin and I never know when we will bump into his patron of the free food and water bowls.

In the event, latches are out all over downtown shops Saturday for properly leashed pets that can count on tidbits from Allison Leavitt most places they go; you can tell by the dog biscuit signs in the window. My English pointer best-buddy willingly cedes his normal promenade space.

This weekend welcome to the wonderful world of Two Paws Up!



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