Los Olivos Adorable: Lucy & Lady

The wheat-hued Brussels Griffons are the official welcome crew at a garden decor-and-more shop.

IF YOU'VE ROLLED ALONG THE ROAD... long enough, dipping into this store, or that hotel, or this other attraction, sooner or later you're going to meet not just the HIC — Human in Charge — but the AIC, too. The "A" stands for "animal," of course, and many of the Golden State's inns and bookshops have a furry mascot, a critter who is so synonymous with the spot that returning visitors must seek them out first, before any shopping or relaxing or imbibing can be done. Think of the numerous B&Bs that boast their own kitty, the kind of feline who can be found napping on the front desk, and think of Silver City Ghost Town, in Kern County, which is famous, in part, for Izzy the Ghost Town Cat, a bandanna-sporting superstar who happily pads after guests looking for phantoms. And if you've been to Los Olivos, and followed the deep-toned chimes to J. Woeste, chances are very good you were met by...

A PAIR OF BRUSSELS GRIFFONS... by the names of Lucy and Lady. Dubbed "the real ambassadors of the store" on the J. Woeste site, the wheat-hued duo easily trundle up to newcomers in search of some affection and cooing (that applies to the dogs and visitors alike). If the pups are not at the front gate, near the gargantuan chimes dangling from the old, out-front oak, you'll find them snoozing in a patch of sunlight or hanging out inside the shop. And the shop itself? Well, that's dang charming, too. It boasts everything for the garden, and home decor, too, items that are elegantly appointed and somewhat swanky but not overly serious. Jefferson Woeste is the affable owner, and after you garner his knowledgeable opinion on which way your garden should go next, and what to put in it, be sure to ask after the famous pooches, the sweet meeters and greeters of the mostly alfresco shop.

IF WE'RE SEEKING CONNECTION, and quaint-a-tude, on our travels and road trips and village walk-throughs, we're likely also seeking out those places that kindly keep a furry, four-footed employee on staff, as animals have a knack for creating instant amity between strangers in new situations. And if there's two four-footed staffers? You're in luck. But then again, if you find yourself in lovely Los Olivos, you're already in some luck. Lucy and Lady, though, can surely add to that fuzzy feeling.

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