Some people are lucky enough to work in an environment that they can share with their pets. Savage Spirit at 87 N. Main has a remarkable pack of tiny souls that all have unique stories to tell. Nala, Bug and Pip are the greeters and eye candy for this amazing downtown boutique that features local and regional handcrafted clothing, jewelry and gifts. Owner Cathya Haas and employees Brittany and Meg all bring their dogs to work, and since opening in August 2011 there have been wagging tails to enhance your shopping experience.
Nala a Schnauzer, Yorkie, and Dachshund mix (otherwise known as a schnorkshund) is companion to owner Cathya. Born early 2012 to a loving family that were faced with personal health issues before she was a year old decided to re-home this sweet girl. Cathya found this “gift” in the language of Swahili through her groomer and was smitten from the moment they met. Nala has a social and wild personality. She loves kids and all the mental stimulation that goes with being a professional greeter and window model. Nala takes her job as co-owner very seriously and is not interested in any other doggie visitors; she has her pack of Bug and Pip that have been thoroughly tested and trained to her standards. She is an professional ice breaker with the 30+ local and regional vendors looking to have their work featured in the shop as well as the many customers with an eye for something with color and a bit wild. Nala lives for work, and gets bored if she stays home. All the mental stimulation is a must for this mix breed sweetie, she was a hurricane of kisses during our interview. I felt thoroughly greeted and welcome.
Another addition to the pack is Bug, a sweet and mellow Chihuahua who shares his life with companion Brittany. His life started a little rough coming from a home with too many distractions, he was behind in all the crucial lessons a family dog needed like potty training and crate tolerance. Brittany was used to big dogs, but as a friend offered to foster this little guy until the previous owners were ready to take him back. It wasn’t long until this cool cucumber fit right in with Brittany’s big dog expectations, taking on camping and even taking river rafting trips with his XXS life-vest! He could also go where all the big dogs couldn’t go like on a plane to visit grandma in Texas. This paring was meant to be and Bug has been with Brittany for over 4 years now. From the first day at work, he found his place on the table tucked into bed with his blanket. He pokes a nose out from time to time if he hears a familiar voice to offer a few sweet kisses. He is an excellent balance for Nala, keeping a pretty mellow vibe in the pack (except for the occasional bark and growl at a passing bicycle). Bug grew up with a close pack of neighbor friends, and still takes a break after a few days at work to hang with the neighborhood gang. What a sweet little wagging tail!
Rounding out the Savage Spirit pack is Pip the toy poodle that tips the scales at a petite 4 lbs. He is nine this year and has come from a tough background. Guardian Meg found this little guy two years ago, while looking for a dog that would be easy to handle already having a Malamute and border collie/cattle dog mix. Pip was returned to the original breeder after seven years. He came with a host of problems including the fact he was only a slight 2.5 lbs. Pip has had most of his upper teeth removed and has recently had surgery for oral and nasal problems that come with a lifetime of neglect. These little dogs often have chronic problems with their teeth and without regular oral care they can become very serious. Despite having a history of cantankerous behavior from Pip when they met, there is a very gentle and sweet bond between guardian and canine. Meg has addressed all of his health issues and Pip is now a well-adjusted, happy little peach colored bundle of fluff. Quite the little character with an unusual bark and a commonly noticed little piece tongue hanging out, Pip is a great pack member at home and at work. Lucky and grateful he appreciates all the fun of hiking and being a dog when he is not at work, but his favorite place is being snuggled by his mom no matter where he is.
Another recently passed part of the Savage Spirit pack is Athena, a tiny toy poodle that was companion to Cathya and Jim. Athena’s passing is being discussed because it was something of a tragedy. Jim had recently been sick and unexpectedly passed away. Cathya and Athena were there for each other, but that was soon to change. Jim and Cathya found Athena two years earlier while searching for a companion to travel with during their many journeys to jewelry shows. She was full of spunk, and was quite the little clown and charmer. She travelled everywhere with them, and the bond was close. During an evening cleaning session Cathya left a hall closet open for a few moments and Athena got into rat poison without Cathya witnessing it. It’s the 6th most common thing to poison your dog according to the American Veterinarian Association, rodenticide is a tough killer and the battle is against the clock. The next morning Athena had a bright green poop, alarmed they were off to the vet with poop and dog in hand. Athena was diagnosed within 12 hours of ingesting the toxin so she was giving regular doses of vitamin K to help her liver detox, but on the 10th day of treatment she was unable to fight the poison any longer and she was gone. This story is included in our cover of the Savage Spirits of Main Street to serve as a warning that you can protect your dog and children from products like these by keeping it locked up or by finding safer alternatives. Animals are naturally curious and rodenticide is designed to be delicious so it will be eaten. You can’t keep everything from everyone, but this serves as a good lesson to be cautious with products like this. Athena will be missed greatly, but Nala is truly the gift her namesake has provided and she keeps the owner, pack members, employees and customers of Savage Spirit full of joy.
Whether you are local or just visiting Moab, don’t pass up the opportunity to see the beautiful work and happy faces at Savage Spirit. Nala, Pip and Bug are a never ending source of joy for all the visitor and employees alike, it was a joy to interview and get to know this happy pack!