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People, Places and Puppies

I’ll skip the litany of training this year, and just give you some highlights. Victor and Richard trained in Oregon and passed their exams to be certified spa technicians. Victor also spent a week in Wakefield, Mass. and passed his exam to become an APSP Tech I pool technician. Mac went to San Diego for billiard training. I spent three days at Foxwoods on pool products, including a full day on salt-to-chlorine generation.  Maria, Vee and Trina spent two days in water chemistry classes in Massachusetts. Out of twenty stores and 100 people at these fairly advanced classes, they were the youngest people there. Liz, Jeanne and I took classes in Atlantic City.

Tod received an incredible honor last year: he was named the New Hampshire Retail Associate of the Year by the New Hampshire Retail Merchants Association. If you’ve been with us for any length of time, you know him and why he deserved this honor. He has a folder full of our “One of These” awards given to him by his co-workers because you folks told them what a great job he did for you. As I related to the awards committee, I was once at an industry function when one of our competitors told everyone at the table (all pool store owners) how much he admired Tod’s customer service and how lucky Jeanne and I were to have him for almost 25 years. In his words, “Tod is the real deal.”

Almost all of the college students came back to visit or work over Christmas vacation. We expect pretty much all of them to be back in May. You will be amazed as to how they’ve matured in college—and they were very mature for their age already. Jacob in particular is such an adult now. Everyone here is very proud of him.

A lot of our customers have been asking about our oldest Boston Terrier, Vito. They remember him running through the store, or out in the field beside the store, playing catch-the-street-hockey-ball. In fact, a Little League coach once brought his whole team to show them how Vito stopped a groundball by hitting it with his paw as he passed it, turning and catching it! Vito will be 14 in June (that’s 98 in people years) and we’ve mostly kept him out of the store for a few years as his eye-sight deteriorated. Since he only has one eye, the veterinary surgeons wouldn’t do cataract surgery on his remaining eye until he had lost almost all vision in it.

Vito had a successful surgery in the fall and he can see much better now. His hearing is selective, though. He doesn’t always hear “come”, but he always hears “bones”. Actually, I think I’m like that, too. I never hear anything that Jeanne tells me, except “dinner’s ready”. Vito and I both take the same prescription eye drops, we’ve had the same surgeries, and we’ve both lost our right eye! Anyway, Jeanne has him back in the store from time to time now, so you may run into him.

Nive, a dog that Jeanne bred (daughter of Dixie, grand-daughter of Valentine) was invited to the Westminster Dog Show this February where she received Best Opposite in Boston Terriers. That is kind of like coming in second. Unfortunately, only Best in Breed (first place) gets on television at night.