By Rachel Leigh
STE GENEVIEVE, Mo.– You’ll hear the oohs and awes and see hearts melt as you see her. She’s one of those good-hearted souls, a friend to all and pure in action. Her body is old, she is heavy set and her bones don’t work the way they used to, but that doesn’t stop her from her from her passion for people. Her name is Zoey, a 10-year-old black Labrador. She’s a part-time pup at Cave Vineyard in St. Geneieve.
“People say, oh I love your dog! What’s its name? Can it come in,” said Frankie Mancuso, tasting room associate. “And I tell them, she comes in when she wants, she will tell you what she wants, and she will probably follow you into the cave for food!” Mancuso said and laughed.
Mary and Marty Strussion opened Cave Vineyard 17 years ago. They make and sell their wine locally, and offer a picnic area in an open cave downhill from their shop.
“Zoey follows guests down to the cave without us knowing about it and she gets little treats down there,” Mary Strussion said. “She’s 110 pounds, a little overweight.”
Zoey was trained to be a bird dog, but perhaps because she is afraid of loud noises, she didn’t pass the hunting dog test and her old owners found her a new home. That’s when the Strussion’s gave her a new job as a part-time greeter.
“A lot of wineries have dogs. People are dog lover’s!” Strussion said.
Though Zoey has experienced some health problems, she continues to do what she does best; giving tours of the cave for the price of a few snacks.
Strussion said if winemakers are considering getting a dog for their winery, it must be laid-back and welcoming. If a dog is prone to jump, bark, or be territorial, it may not be the best option to keep it at the winery.