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    She wasn’t the cutest puppy in that litter in Indiana — her face was stained a reddish color, like she’d recently gone HAM on some ravioli — but when the runty Boston Terrier licked Adam Hedgespeth’s face, that was that. It was 2009, just before Hedgespeth opened the Derby City Chop Shop on Bardstown Road. Not yet potty-trained enough stay home alone as a puppy, Dice accompanied Hedgespeth to the barbershop each day, and became a sort of mascot — often hopping up on the bench in the waiting area to keep customers company.

    Though Dice’s name had more to do with her black-and-white coloration than the risks of opening a new business, it’s hard not to think of the gamble Hedgespeth was undertaking. But it certainly paid off. As business boomed, additional barber chairs crowded Dice into different areas, like the window (Hedgespeth built little doggy stairs for it) and eventually the back storage area, which Hedgespeth connected to the barbershop with a hole in a wall. Kids sometimes ended up halfway through that hole, looking for Dice, who enjoyed it when customers kicked around her ball, her nails skittering across the floor. After the Chop Shop opened a second location in Schnitzelberg, Hedgespeth started spending most of his workdays there, and Dice got new digs again.

    At ankle height, Dice was the bane of a mail carrier who was so afraid of her that the postal service sent the Chop Shop an official letter refusing to deliver mail unless she was contained. (He claimed she had growled at him, Hedgespeth says.) She was a connoisseur of human hair, which Hedgespeth picked from her gums with a toothpick, and a prodigious sunbather. She preferred a mixture of wet and dry Blue Buffalo dog food, preferably microwaved, if you please. And in 2014, she became a Louisville Magazine cover girl as part of a story about local businesses.

    A vet once told Hedgespeth that Bostons sometimes live to be 19, a number he kept in the back of his head. But in late November 2019, at the age of 10, Dice died after a couple months of an unexpected illness, possibly related to an auto-immune disorder. Hedgespeth and his family were on vacation when it happened. A friend who’d known Dice all her life — she’d thrown Dice a post-adoption “puppy shower” that involved a large bone-shaped cake — held her at the vet’s office, FaceTiming with Hedgespeth’s family in the dog’s final moments.

    When we speak in December, Hedgespeth has yet to remove all of Dice’s food bowls from the shop. “It’s been brutal,” he says. But her presence won’t disappear from the business entirely; Hedgespeth plans on making shrines to Dice in both Chop Shop locations. “Dice forever!” he says.

    This originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Dice Forever.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Dylon Jones's picture

    About Dylon Jones

    Dylon Jones is a senior editor at Louisville Magazine.

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