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Tag: gas station

Beware the sleeping gas pump dog

Hopelessly lost in Alabama — a road map might have been a good investment — I pulled over at a sad- and sleepy-looking gas station, just north of I have no idea where, to ask directions.

A big yellow dog was sound asleep at the foot of a gas pump. He didn’t wake up when I walked by. Nor, when I opened the door and walked in, did the proprietor. He was in an easy chair, facing the door, sound asleep as well.

I cleared my throat, and gradually his eyes opened — the proprietor’s, not the dog’s.

“Hep ya?” he asked from his chair.

“You sell maps here?” I asked.

“Nope,” he answered.

“Can you tell me how to get back to Tuscumbia?” I asked, not entirely sure he would be willing to do so.

“Go up to Russville and turn left.”

“Go up to where?”


I thanked him, complimented him on his fine looking dog, and walked out. The big dog was still asleep. The gas pump dog being too bucolic a photo opportunity to pass up, I got my camera out of the car, took a few steps closer to him, and took a picture.

Though slamming car doors hadn’t awakened him, the subtle click of the camera did. He opened his eyes, looked at me, turned his head and looked at my car. That’s when he saw Ace, whose head was poking out a half open, or half closed, depending on your point of view, window.

His hackles rose and a growl began to form, though he still hadn’t gotten up. As he began to rise, I walked slowly back to my car, then not so slowly back to my car. He followed, slowly at first. I was in the car by the time he ran toward us, barking first at Ace’s window, and then, by the time I got the car turned around, at mine. He chased us down the highway a bit before turning around and going back to the station.

I proceeded in the direction the gas station proprietor had advised, for miles and miles, but didn’t hit Russville. So I stopped again, and got the same directions. “Go up to Russville and turn left on 43.”

A few miles later, I came upon the town of Russellville, which — its three syllable name apparently requiring too much effort to say — is locally known as “Russville.” Kind of like Rutherfordton in North Carolina, where locals drop two, maybe two and a half,  entire syllables when pronouncing it … “Ruffton.”

Eventually, I reached my destination, Tuscumbia — a lovely little town where residents pronounce all four syllables of its name, and home of the Helen Keller birthplace — having relearned an old but valuable lesson:

Let sleeping dogs, and sleeping gas station owners, lie.

Tomorrow: Big Mane on Campus, the lions of the University of North Alabama.

Monday: Coon Dog Cemetery.

For all of Dog’s Country, click here.

Inspectors say gas station dog must go

codyCody, the chocolate Labrador we showed you a video of last week — the one who jumps up and greets customers at the drive-through window of a Florida gas station — has been declared a health hazard and ordered to leave the premises.

The dog was featured last month in a St. Petersburg Times story, along with a heartwarming video of Cody in action that has been seen widely on the Internet.

Apparently state officials didn’t find it as heartwarming as everybody else.

Inspectors — from the health department according to some reports, agriculture department according to others — stopped by Karim Mansour’s BP station and convenience store in Clearwater and issued a warning. Unless the dog was removed, all of Mansour’s food products would be declared unfit for consumption, the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday.

That most everything Mansour sells at his shop in Clearwater is packaged — bottled sodas, candy bars, chips and the like — didn’t matter to the Grinch-like bureacrats, who apparently feared the wholesome goodness of the store’s Slim Jims, Twinkies and Marlboros might be tainted by a deadly pet hair.

Mansour, who adopted 6-year-old Cody three years ago, accepted the warning and plans to start leaving his dog at home.

Most readers, judging from the comments the Times has received on the story, see the state’s crackdown on Mansour as a ridiculous case of overkill.

We couldn’t agree more. Once again, it appears, bureaucracy has prevailed, accomplishing its mission of  making the world a safer, far more boring, smile-free  place.

Drive-thru dog greets gas station customers

The friendly face that often greets customers at the drive-thru window of a gas station in Clearwater, Florida isn’t that of the owner, but that of his dog.

Cody, a chocolate Labrador retriever, jumps up and puts his front paws on the counter when a car pulls up to the window at Karim Mansour’s BP gas station and convenience store, according to the Associated Press.

Mansour said he started bringing Cody to work five months ago for company on the early morning shift. The dog quickly became a celebrity among store regulars, and now wears his own BP shirt and name tag.