|Feature Article in the Berthoud RecorderBy Deborah Huth Price
The Berthoud Recorder
“Hey Dude, how’s my rug?”
This is a question you could ask at Castle Cleaning and Oriental Rug Co. to check on the status of a rug, but the answer to your question will not be given in English. Instead, expect a bark or a friendly nuzzle.
Dude, the golden retriever who keeps owner Phil Auserehl on his toes, is the ultimate employee, sniffing out stains and spots on carpets, especially those left by pet cats and dogs.
In the back room, Auserehl unrolls customers’ rugs and then sends Dude in to use his cleaning weapon – an all-powerful nose. “He’s always right,” said Auserehl, who then confirms the spots with black and UV lights.
After the cleaning, Dude comes in for quality inspection, doing a post-check to make sure all traces of odor are removed.
At nine months old, Dude is the third golden retriever to “work” at Castle Cleaning with Auserehl. “I don’t really train him, I just observe,” explained Auserehl, noting that sniffing out odors is instinctual for golden retrievers.
Originally bred in Great Britain in the 1800s, a Scotsman crossed a wavy-coated retriever with a yellow tweed water spaniel. The offspring were then crossed with an Irish setter and a sandy-colored bloodhound. The result is a dog that is great at tracking, hunting, locating narcotics, and in Dude’s case, sniffing out urine stains.
Carpet cleaning is just one of Dude’s responsibilities. He also helps sell carpets, said Auserehl, by jumping on top of just the right one that a customer is considering. “It looks like home, and every customer gets free golden fur.” Dude also has his own recording on the answering machine, just in case someone wants to leave him a message.
His retriever instincts shine through in daily chores as well. Suddenly trotting to the front door, Dude returns and presents a dead mouse to Auserehl. “What ‘cha got there, Dude?” asks Auserehl, while the dog happily wags his tail and reaches out with a big, clumsy paw.
Just like any employee, Dude gets to go on vacation. He spent over a month in the Wyoming mountains with Auserehl. “The first day we were there, Dude went into the river and caught a fish,” living up to his retriever instinct.
Dude also has a message for kids, according to Auserehl: “Do Rugs, Not Drugs.” In Dude’s case, he’d rather sniff out pet stains than narcotics.
Just to prove that he can do more than sniff and sell rugs, Dude does other tricks as well. With treats in hand, Auserehl asks Dude, “What’s 2 + 1?” Dude answers with three short barks. He hesitates slightly at some of the more difficult math challenges, but comes through in the end.
Customers also appreciate Dude, bringing him toys and treats. “If you make the sound of a food wrapper, he’ll come,” added Auserehl. “He’s not particular.”
Every customer who visits gets a slobbery smile, and a friendly paw shake. His official registered name is Yankee Dude El Dog, but to Auserehl and Berthoud residents, he’s just the Dude.
For more on “Dude” Auserehl – click here for an unsolicited testimonial or here for a touching Christmas story