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June 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Paris says “Cheese, please!” at Petosa’s: Your dog’s favorite spot for treats?

Say hello to Paris and her best friend Gene Nicholson. That’s what I did last week, after the 3-year-old Rottweiler and her pal provided me with my dog-lovers’ thrill for the day.

Paris the “Garbage Dog,” smiling from the cab of Gene’s Sound Disposal truck, preparing for a hard day’s work at the Nicholson family business.

Here’s the scenario:

It’s 8 a.m., and I’d just pulled into the lot at Petosa’s Family Grocer in downtown Edmonds. Facing my car was a garbage truck, its driver’s-side door wide open. Having just purchased a morning snack, the driver — noting the coast was clear — gave a shout from the store’s entryway. I watched as Paris, a study in muscle and grace, flew across the empty lot toward an employee standing just outside Petosa’s front door. The dog grabbed a proffered treat, high-tailed it back to the truck and hopped in. The whole show lasted only seconds.

No wonder: turns out la belle Paris has been practicing this trick every working day since she was a pup.

“She’s friendly as the day is long,” Gil, the store manager later told me, admitting it’s not usually his job to give a treat to Gene’s best friend: it’s owner Betty Jo Petosa’s. “Gene and Betty Jo have been friends for 30 years,” said Gil, who pinch-hits when the Garbage Dog shows up and the boss isn’t around.

As a family friend, Paris gets special treatment not offered to other customers’ canine companions, he explained: a piece of cheese, fresh from the deli department. And true to her name, Paris has a keen taste for finding just the right cheese. “Cheddar cheese is all she’ll take,” Gil said. “I tried to give her provolone once, and she spit it right out.”

And she isn’t the only dog fond of this small neighborhood market. The manager pointed out that Petosa’s keeps a big bucket of biscuits under the checkout counter for friendly four-leggeds. Which perhaps explains why I often see dogs barking hysterically as they wait outside the store for their owners.

So, tell me: Which businesses do your dogs beg you to frequent? And what kind of treats are they given once they arrive?

It’s a dog’s life — at Petosa’s Family Market.

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