Pet Friendly Feature: Meet Toby

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What does it take for an eight year-old boxer to become the face of a business?A little luck and great timing, says Jeff Derryberry, owner of Gallatin-based Derryberry Heat and Air.

“Six months after losing our family dog, we were in Pulaski at a Wal-Mart,” says Derryberry. "We walked out of the store and someone in the parking lot was giving away boxer puppies. We decided to take oneand we named him Toby.” It was the right place and the right time for everyone involved. Toby’s spokes-pooch career started as a fluke. While participating in a local business networking group, Derryberry met a photographer who suggested that pictures of Toby might be a fun enhancement for the firm’s marketing material. The owner of a sign company, also in the group, got involved. “One thing led to another and soon Toby’s picture was on a vehicle wrap and on signs,” says Derryberry, noting that Toby has been featured in two television commercials and countless ad campaigns. “Next thing you know the whole Toby thing blows up and it's bigger than we are.” How does Gallatin’s most famous pup get motivated to hit his marks? "Toby responds really well to treats," says Nick Brosche, Derryberry's marketing manager. “For example, we needed Toby to bark in one of the shots for a recent commercial. A little beef jerky did the trick.”Has success gone to Toby's head? “Toby is the exact same dog he's always been,” claims Derryberry. “He’s grounded, and he’s really good with kids and people in general. In fact, if you come into the shop you’ll see him. Kids love to pet him. When we have a presence at events, Toby’s who the people want to see.”