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Pool & Spa News Magazine - February 28, 2003

A Dog's Life

A cuddly canine left a legacy of laughs and love on his way to becoming an industry icon.

By Rebecca Robledo

This is the story of Moose the Hot Tub Dog, a friendly husky/German shepherd mix who became the face of a well-known Web site and its sister retail outlet.  Moose's companion of 11 years, Dan Harrison, made him famous simply by bringing him to the office every day since he was a puppy.  Back in 1994, Harrison's Poolandspa.com garnered a lot press coverage because it was among the first of its kind on the World Wide Web.  Whenever photographers needed to take photos of Harrison, Moose would be there too.  "A lot of photographers would come and take boring pictures of me ... but if they got a picture of me kissing the dog - bam! - that shot would make it into the magazine," says the president of Poolandspa.com.  "No matter what magazine it was or what the story would be about, there'd always be a picture of Moose the Hot Tub Dog in there."

Meanwhile, Moose the Hot Tub Dog appeared in every television spot that ran for sister retail firm Long Island Hot Tubs in Yaphank, NY.  The spots would show Moose doing his favorite thing: chasing after a rubber duck the store dubbed The Moose Duck.  "We sell literally hundreds of different types of ducks and there's one type of duck ... that was the one that he liked the best," Harrison recalls.  "People would walk in a lot of times saying, 'Can I see Moose the Hot Tub Dog?'  The kids would come in, 'Where's Moose?'" 

Moose the Hot Tub Dog had become so much a symbol of the company that after he died Dec. 19 of liver cancer, Harrison experienced an outpouring of industry sentiment.  Sympathy cards and even flowers came from all over the country.

"When I went to booths at a recent convention, the first thing [suppliers] would say is, 'Sorry to hear about your dog, man'.  I had people come up to me in restaurants to say they were sorry."  But Moose's passing hit hardest at home.  Moose had become a fixture back at the office, with everyone from secretaries to service technicians taking time out of their day to play "chase the duck."  They'd be in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse going, 'Get your duck! Get your duck!'" Harrison says.  "And he'd get the duck and come back 'squeak, squeak, squeak,' with the duck."


Sammy as a young pup!

That's why, after Moose's death, Harrison couldn't see coming back to the office empty-handed. 

So Harrison bought Sammy, a golden retriever puppy.  He expects Sammy to take over where Moose left off.  "We're trying to teach him some tricks, but we haven't gotten him to the duck stage yet," Harrison says.

He'll need some time to figure out which is his favorite.