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Shop Dogs: Hilda and Rupert 

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Unsuspecting customers at Scriptura (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 219-1113; 5423 Magazine St., 897-1555; www.scriptura.com) may wander into the store seeking custom stationery and find themselves on the end of a spirited game with one of the shop's two terrier mix dogs. "If the customers indicate any interest at all, before they know it, they will have a tug-of-war game going on with either Rupert or Hilda," says owner Margaret Jones.

  Rupert and Hilda, who are almost a year and a half old, are relatively new to Scriptura, but the store has had a canine presence for much of its 16-year history. Bailey, a cocker spaniel who served as Scriptura's resident shop dog for 11 years, was a customer favorite. After he passed away in January 2010, he left a noticeable void. "We found that the store wasn't the same; we weren't the same," Jones says. "It just did not feel right in here." Jones searched PetFinder.com and after about six months, she came across Rupert at the Livingston Parish SPCA. "I just loved him the moment I met him," Jones says.

  As co-owner of a store specializing in stationery, Jones promptly sent out adoption announcements to notify friends of Rupert's arrival. She also sent one to the SPCA, along with a thank you note. "They had never received one," Jones says. The SPCA took Jones' enthusiasm as a good sign and informed her there was one more puppy from Rupert's litter available for adoption. Upon seeing a photo of Hilda, Jones jumped at the opportunity to take her in. "I was convinced that Rupert needed to have a sibling and a sense of family," Jones says.

  Although they are from the same litter, Rupert and Hilda vary in temperament. "Rupert's very laid-back, very mellow, completely sweet," Jones says. "Hilda's a feisty redhead who loves to talk, and she is constantly demanding attention." However, the pair shares one talent: "They can walk on their hind legs like circus dogs," Jones says. Rupert and Hilda also share an affinity for squirrels, so they are always scanning the telephone lines. "Whenever they see a squirrel, they stand up on their hind legs and they walk," she says. "And they can walk for like, five minutes on their hind legs."

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  During their busy workdays, the dogs love to take a break to visit the neighboring Bank of New Orleans. The bank has welcomed Rupert and Hilda ever since they were puppies, letting them play in the vault and keeping special treats on hand. "That's probably the highlight of their day," Jones says. "We make the deposit, and they get to make their withdrawal."

  Before they opened Scriptura, Jones and her sister Sallie Arata worked in different fields, Jones in the art gallery business and Arata in the film industry. The two harnessed a mutual love of paper and writing accoutrements when they opened Scriptura, which carries products ranging from journals and stationery from all over the world to its own line of wedding invitations. The shop also offers custom designs for invitations, cards and announcements at its two locations, which are visited by either Rupert or Hilda on alternating days. "We have one dog for every store," Jones says. "No matter which Scriptura a person goes to, they can enjoy seeing one of the dogs, which makes it a lot more fun for us, too."

Our Favorite Things...

Tug of war

Squirrels

Squeaky toys

Trips to the Bank of New Orleans

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