This dapper dog in a bow tie has business cards for his fans

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EVERETT – Watching this adorable couple push a stroller, you might think this is their first child.

In fact, the chubby tyke is their tenth.

What’s up with this?

John and Lorna Landis rarely leave the house without Auggie Doggie, an 11-year-old Shih Tzu-Pomeranian mix. This day is a trip to the mall.

After refueling at the Starbucks kiosk, the couple put their drinks in the stroller cup holders and walked around.

The dog sits upright in the stroller, away from the worship of passers-by.

“Canine Gentleman,” reads its nameplate. He wears a bow tie.

The dog has gray hair. Not the couple.

Auggie Doggie looks more like an old man than John, who is 84. Lorna, almost 83, in a bright red jacket and stylish black sweater, is at the helm. She taught aerobics and retired from Comcast. They have been married for 66 years and have raised nine children.

The dog is their only child at home now. And there is nothing they love better than sharing it with strangers.

“He doesn’t act like a normal dog,” Lorna says. “He acts like you are very privileged to be able to stroke him.”

It is not an assistance dog in the official sense of the term.

“We had a hit,” John says excitedly when he sees two women posed to make fun of Auggie Doggie. He can see in their eyes that the irresistible dog has trained them.

The conversation is reciprocal.

Those who say “Hi, Puppy” soon tell the couple all about their dogs. Auggie Doggie is just setting there, still the right listener. It doesn’t bark, stir or move.

“Stoic. That’s what someone called him,” John said.

He’s about 10 pounds overweight. The dog, not John.

The couple don’t post Auggie Doggie on social media, only in the fur. If you don’t catch it at the mall or at WinCo or Costco, well, you didn’t have the fun.

I hadn’t had the pleasure either until John called the editorial staff a few weeks ago to tell me about this doggy wonder.

“I thought you could lighten up somebody’s day with the paperwork and make them have a good laugh,” he said.

It was a challenge I couldn’t refuse.

Hence the trip to the mall so I could see Auggie Doggie in action.

Or, in this case, inaction. All he does is sit there and fans are spouting out all over the place. John and Lorna ask them about their pets and a friendly chat ensues.

Some remember the original Augie Doggie, that rambunctious dachshund son of Doggie Daddy from the 1959-62 cartoon “The Quick Draw McGraw Show”. The couple liked the name and added a “g”.

Their Auggie Doggie isn’t always so cool around the house.

“When we tell him we’re going to go, he’s excited,” Lorna says. He pouted if they left without him.

School trips on wheels began four years ago when a girl gave them a pet stroller for Auggie Doggie. This is also when the bow ties started.

To take it up a notch, celebrity Auggie Doggie cards with his photo were printed listing his talents as a “fellow squirrel hunter”. After all, he doesn’t sit still and look good all the time.

“How many people do you know that their dog gives them business cards?” Said Jean.

Better yet: how many dogs do you know who wear bow ties every day?

Cards are not dealt willy-nilly.

“We’re waiting for someone to come,” Lorna said. “Usually, here’s the conversation, ‘Oh, he’s so cute. And my husband raises an eyebrow and says, ‘Oh, you mean the dog?’ “

The couple met as teenagers at Arlington High School. She was 16 when they got married and he was 18. They had nine children in 15 years.

“We still have a crush on each other,” Lorna says.

He gives her sticky love notes, “JL + LL” in a heart. After doing a Herald puzzle each morning, she uses the pen to write him a message on the paper.

They survived four of their children. Two sons and two daughters have died from various illnesses in the past three years, the last suddenly five months ago at the age of 59.

Their faith and Auggie Doggie’s healing powers help them overcome their grief.

The couple are members of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Madison Street in Everett. Auggie Doggie joins at the end of Zoom sessions when other members’ pets join in. He is not the type to monopolize the limelight.

In public, it’s not his fault he’s so adorable.

“I think all dogs are cute, but he was wearing a tie,” says Seattle mall customer Cindy Jensen. “How could you not like that face?” I wonder if he’s looking for a Mrs. Auggie Doggie. I bet he could get one with this tie.

This canine gentleman has no interest in the four-legged ladies. He stays pretty busy entertaining those on two legs.

“Look at you,” said a Macy’s cashier, sprinting behind a counter to pat her on the head.

“I’m his manager,” John said. “He authorized me to give you his business card.

“Oh, Auggie,” said the worker. “You just made my whole day.”

Andrea Brown: [email protected]; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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