Anyone who walks into the office space at 229 Capitol Street in the middle of downtown Charleston is likely to get two greetings, one
from the secretary and another from Samantha.
Samantha or Sammie is Charleston City Councilman Bobby
Reishman’s hulking black lab.
Reishman said not only does Sammie bring some puppy love to
the work place, she also brings security.
“Sometimes you’re downtown on the street, you’ll get some
people who shouldn’t be around that wonder in.” Reishman said. “She senses that
and senses that the secretary’s upset.
She thinks she’s the doorbell.
She’s got to announce everyone that comes in.”
Except on this day, Sammie doesn’t bark once as workers
renovating a nearby elevator move in and out of the office.
She just waits quietly hoping for a treat.
Reishman said that anyone who stops by comes to know the
“The other day there was a different mailman that came in,”
Reishman said. “Sammie went charging out there with her big voice,
barking. He said, ‘Oh I know you!
Everyone in the post office knows you.’”
Visitors to Reishman’s office should know, if you end up
sitting across from his desk on a loveseat, you’re on Sammie’s love seat. By the end of the meeting, you’ll have 100
pounds of puppy resting in your lap.
“They’re so daggone affectionate,” Reishman said. “Generally
it’s just nice to have someone around and have someone who wants to greet
you. As you can see, she’s pretty
The same affection is found in Valley Gardens’ cat Ally, that is if you can find
The orange and grey tabby roams the grounds of the Piedmont Road garden store. Susan Bryant is the garden center
manager. Bryant said Ally represents the
“She’s our little mascot,” Bryant said. “She’s a conversation
piece. The children love her. They come to the garden center and
specifically ask for her. They’re always
looking for Ally when they come here.”
That’s the type of recognition Valley Gardens’ longest-tenured employee should
get. Bryant’s been there for 13 years, Ally for 15. The age has changed Ally’s role with the
“In her old age, she’s more of an affection getter,” Bryant
said. “When she was younger she did catch mice, rats and unfortunately the
occasional bird. You’d find the feathers
amongst the pottery and the plants. She
doesn’t do that so much anymore; she’s just our little pet.”
A little pet that brings people back.
“That actually helps business a little bit where people can
come see the cat,” Bryant said. “She’s very friendly with the children and
adults ask about her too.”
The affection promotes frequent purring in Ally
Reishman said the presence of other people helps Sammie too.
“She’s used to being around people,” Reishman said. “She’s
always been relatively calm. She’s just
been in that environment forever.
There’s always somebody to throw a ball for her.”
Reishman and Bryant both say their businesses wouldn’t be the
same without their pets.