Harford Magazine - Page 32 - Groomed for Work - from page 30

Harford Magazine
- Page 32
Groomed for Work - from page 30


Big House Signs, Havre de Grace


Paula Casagrande has never been deterred by the costs and eventual heartbreak that come with adopting a senior dog. There has been a dog—all small, usually older—at work with her since she opened Big House Signs in 1996.


“That’s when they need the most care and love,” she says.


After Casagrande adopted Shorty three years ago at age 11, the two bonded into a work team. He sat on Casagrande’s lap during customer consultations. He followed her everywhere and was fiercely protective, as if he didn’t know that he weighed just a few pounds.


As Shorty’s pace slowed in recent months, Casagrande made sure that there was a bed in all of the shop areas. Shorty didn’t stop following her until just before he died after a few days of illness in early April.


“A dog will love you more than anyone,” Casagrande says. “After I grieve a bit, trust me, I will be looking for another senior.”



McCool Insurance, Aberdeen


More than anything, Docia McCool wants to change the perception that pit terriers like her office dog, Cujo, are vicious.


“He greets everyone,” says McCool, who owns McCool Insurance with her husband, Bill. “On the first day that we brought him into the office, we found him sitting on a customer’s feet. Now we have customers who bring in their payment, rather than mail it, just to see Cujo.”


Recently, the McCools organized an office donation drive for rescue animals.


“I’ve never seen an animal with its own rescue drive,” Docia says. “People donated food, blankets, toys and towels for cats and dogs. There was so much that we donated to both A Buddy for Life and the Humane Society of Harford County. We packed up the car and Cujo helped deliver it.”


The McCools originally brought Cujo to the office because he disliked being at home alone. Now, he is one of the faces of McCool Insurance.


“He melts everybody’s heart,” Docia says.


Photo: Cujo hangs out at the office of McCool Insurance in Aberdeen with Docia and Bill McCool. Cujo“melts everybody’s heart,” Docia McCool says.