The tough, 6-year-old Chihuahua mix has a scar under one eye from being bitten by a copperhead while herding a bunch of family goats and dogs in Mississippi. After a vet visit and long recovery, Alice still loves to get back out in the woods and assume her role as the pack leader.
"She's saucy," says Paul Babineaux, co-owner of Alice Tallulah and Loomed NOLA (The Rink, 2727 Prytania St., 504-304-2047; www.loomednola.com), the organic textile shop where Alice holds court on most days.
"Saucy," echoes co-owner Molly Pittman. "That's the perfect word for her."
It's been an interesting road for Alice Tallulah since Pittman found her at the Jefferson Parish SPCA four years ago. It's almost as interesting as the journey of Babineaux and Pittman themselves, a married couple who ditched their jobs as a banker and a high school teacher to live in Istanbul. They returned to New Orleans after a year and launched their business, inspired by a similar shop in Turkey.
"Alice is probably the most excited of all about our radical career change," Pittman says as Alice jumps out of her window seat to greet a customer. "It was like she won the lottery. She's with us all the time now. She loves to come to work."
People naturally gravitate toward the spirited little brown, black and white dog. Babineaux and Pittman credit Alice Tallulah with luring customers in the door and even for scoring the shop space a few months ago. The couple had been operating from their Irish Channel home and wanted to move their textile business into its own location.
"We were out walking Alice, and I scooped her up and popped in here to talk to the building manager," Pittman recalls. "He loved dogs. I think Alice is the reason we got picked for this spot. He said 'You can have the spot, but you are required to bring Alice.'"
Alice's typical day involves long morning walks before work, snoozing and people-watching from a pillow, sneaking over to visit the Garden District Book Shop (where they keep a stash of dog treats on hand for her), and updating her Twitter account, @nolashopdog.
She's expected to be the star of Loomed NOLA's upcoming grand opening party on April 25, where almost everyone is welcome. "She likes everyone but the mailman," Pittman says, embarrassed. "The poor mailman."
My Favorite Things
Visiting the Garden District Book Shop
Sitting in the desk chair
Long walks in the Garden District
A Kong stuffed with pepperoni and peanut butter on the outside