Insights on fun, food and rides in a red Mini Cooper from Alabama's favorite dog.
With a fluffy coat of curly hair and an outgoing personality, OLA! (yep, the exclamation point is part of her name) has gained celebrity status throughout the city of Cullman, AL. She’s a Goldendoodle (with an extra oodle of charm!) who works as a greeter at Werner’s Trading Company.
The iconic general merchandise store sells “everything that’s awesome,â€ ranging from apparel, to recreational gear to specialty beer and wine, and even beekeeping supplies. (OLA! might want to point you to the kayaks that have enough room in them for pups!) The second-generation family store is owned by Rob Werner, with his wife Mary Ellen Werner and their friendly dog OLA! helping run the business.
We reached out to OLA! for an interview about life in Cullman, which was arranged by her publicist (and close friend) Amy Seymore.
Q: What’s the story behind your name, OLA!?
A: I spend most of my day being the greeter for Werner’s Trading Company. That’s how I got my name, “OLA!” My people parents thought I had the personality to say “helloâ€ to everyone. The spelling “OLA!â€ is not correct in Spanish. But, my intention is to make everyone feel welcome, so that’s why the exclamation mark is part of my full name.
Q: Tell us about your family
A: I have a lot to live up to, since my predecessor Mazzie held the same job for many years. People get us mixed up all the time because we do look alike. She was a Labradoodle, though. My mother is a golden retriever and papa a poodle, so that makes me a Goldendoodle. I’m a true Southern girl and very happy to be growing up here in Cullman.
Q: How do you like to spend your days off?
A: It’s especially fun to go on our long hikes, sometimes 10 miles through the beautiful woods around Cullman. I used to chase the deer, but they just keep getting away. My people brother, Richard, will often take me on boat rides at Smith Lake. It’s also really fun to go to Brothers restaurant and sit on the patio. I also like to take rides in a little red Mini Cooper, which I let Rob drive.
Q: What do you love most about your job at Werner’s Trading Company?
A: It is great to have so many friends. Lt. Jeff Warnke will stop by and we have the best time playing. I also have a friend named Sundance who comes by on Saturdays so we can roughhouse. Why do they make us go outside?
Q: What makes you happy?
A: I really like to pose for pictures. My agent Amy, is in charge of my publicity. I want people to know it’s not just all fluff, but I really care for all the people around me. Little children make me smile. I like to have kids and babies say ‘hi’ to me. Sometimes they come just to see me.
Q: Any closing remarks?
A: I’d love to spend some time with you all on my swing at Werner’s. Please come by.
Not only is Cullman a great place to live for people, but it’s ideal for four-legged friends, too. Here are three reasons why:
Heritage Park: Meet new dog friends at Heritage Park, which has an 18-hole Frisbee golf course for humans and a dog park just for pups. Plus, the 70-acre complex has a paved trail for walks if the dog park doesn’t completely tire your dog out.
Sportsman Lake Park: Your dog will especially love this park, which has walking trails, campsites, a paved walking trail and a dog park.
Smith Lake: Enjoy the dog days of summer with your dog out on Smith Lake, which has 500 miles of shore and the opportunity to paddleboard, kayak and canoe with your dog.
Want more content about cool places delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Livability’s weekly newsletter!