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Meet Tank, the wonder dog

This talented English Bulldog is a part of the family-run business at Green Landscape Nursery

Posted: June 20, 2009 8:55 p.m.
Updated: June 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

James Green has owned Tank, now 2, since he was 5 weeks old. Customers of Green Landscape Nursery have grown very fond of him.

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He works for free six days a week, so the Green family doesn't mind when their most popular employee, Tank, rides his skateboard around Green Landscape Nursery on Bouquet Canyon Road at the corner of Cinema Drive. They don't even mind when he takes a nap.

In fact, they taught him how.

Once laid on his back, the 2-year- old English Bulldog, owned by James Green, starts snoozing on command within 20 to 30 seconds. The trick is one of many that keep customers coming in to visit the charismatic canine.

"He's just one of the family and part of the place," said Joyce Sorensen of Valencia. The longtime Green Nursery customer took a break from her shopping to rub Tank's tummy while he snoozed at the checkout counter.

Green got Tank as a puppy, drawn to English Bulldogs for many reasons, including their distinctive under-bite, stocky body, and wrinkly skin, as well as their unique temperament.

"They're just like little people. They're high maintenance, but have more charm than any other dog I've had and I've had eight or nine breeds before Tank," Green said.

The duo quickly bonded, spending as much time with one another during the day as possible and curling up together each night. When Green went out, Tank waited for him in the car, where Green taught him the sleep command.

According to Green, it didn't take much coercing for his bulldog to take a nap. Whether Green was gone for 10 minutes or 40, Tank would be sacked out and wouldn't wake up until Green shook him.

"He's a heavy sleeper and snores really loud," Green said.

Before long, Green was bringing Tank to work at Green Nursery, which is owned and operated by his father, Richard. Though some customers initially found Tank's outward appearance scary, they soon warmed up to his welcoming ways.

Tank has an inherent love of children and follows them around the store like a, well, puppy. Once, an unsuspecting female customer pushing a stroller, unaware of the Green Nursery mascot, could be heard screaming down the aisle when confronted by Tank.

"He stopped inches before the baby's feet, then licked and sniffed them," Green said. "Now they call Tank over whenever they come in to shop."

The bulldog also enjoys interacting with his own kind, playing with canine companions that accompany their owners to the nursery, as well as Maddie, the American Bulldog of Green's fiancee Nicole Hexom. After a tentative introduction, the step-siblings are now like two peas in a pod, Green said.

"He finally found a dog that likes to wrestle like he does," he said.

Some activities Tank likes to do solo, like skateboarding. Green saw a skateboarding bulldog on TV and knew Tank, who liked being pushed around the nursery on a pallet cart, was up to the task.

Green laid a board down, put Tank on it, and slowly pulled. After a few tries, Tank seemed to understand and began pushing the board himself, gaining momentum from a slight decline in the paved yard.

Tank will gladly perform the trick on command, on a skateboard now emblazoned with his name - under one condition.

"He has to chew on the board afterwards. Otherwise, he has no interest. He's just a bulldog at heart," Green said.

While he has dogs of his own at home, Richard Green is just as enamored of his four-legged "grandson."

"No doubt it's good for business - 100 percent of our customers love Tank. When they come in on Tuesdays and he's not here, they're disappointed," he said. "We didn't plan it this way, Tank just likes to hang out with James. He has a place here as long as he lives."

That's good news to Brent Green, Richard's youngest son, who also works at the nursery.

"Tank makes us laugh all the time," he said.

To meet Tank, visit Green Nursery at 26191 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus during business hours, Wednesday through Monday. Tuesdays are his and James' day off.

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