Photo: Abby Wilcox

Lisa Congdon is a San Francisco-based artist, illustrator, shop co-owner, blogger, collector and soon-to-be book author. Oh, and dog mom to Wilfredo, one of the most popular design dogs on the internet. From shop dog to model, this little guy is creating quite a resume.

Name? Wilfredo

Nicknames? Fredo, Willy McFredo, Fredo Potato, Potato Head, Tomato, William Frederick, Sweet Boy

Age? 3.5 years

Breed? Chihuahua

What?s ?The Scoop?? I got him three years ago (almost exactly!) from Wonderdog Rescue here in San Francisco. He’d been abandoned in Merced in Central California when he was a baby. When I got him he was 5 months old — just an adorable little thing with big green eyes. I had been looking for a French Bulldog to rescue but I wanted a dog that wouldn’t chase my cats. The woman at the rescue told me for that reason I shouldn’t get a Frenchie, and that she had the perfect dog for me. I balked when she told me he was a chihuahua! I’d previously poo-pooed the idea of small dogs, thinking they were all neurotic and yippy. But then I met Wilfredo and I fell in love. He could not be further from neurotic and yippy. He’s a sweet, obedient and calm kid who never barks. He does get riled up when we play fetch (by far his favorite activity — I think he’s a Labrador in spirit). I’ve since realized that loads of chihuahuas and chi mixes are just as sweet as Wilfredo. Someday when I have more space I want to rescue a couple more chihuahuas and have a little chihuahua farm.

Favorite toy? This is a hard one. He has three favorite toys: The Squirrel, The Hula Girl, and his “woof” toy, which he chews on for hours.

Favorite food? Cucumber and cereal flakes.

Favorite place to sleep? In his bed (which happens to be on our bed); when it’s cold he burrows under our covers.

Weirdest quirk? Wilfredo has come up with a way to play by himself. Such a creative and intelligent boy he is! We call it the “scarf toss,” and he really did come up with this game by himself. Basically, he takes one of my scarves, which I inevitably leave on the bed, and uses his teeth to toss his ball inside of the scarf, partly by flinging the scarf around. So the game becomes flinging the scarf over the ball and then getting the ball out from under the scarf, and then repeating this, about 100 times. He plays it just about everyday.

Pet peeves? Literally his “pet” peeve is my cat Margaret. She loves him so much and she wants to groom him and love him. But he really could care less about her, and she really annoys him with all her affections. He’s good about not growling or barking at her without good reason, but you can just tell he’s holding back. Sometimes she crawls into his bed with him and you’ll catch them cuddling together. It’s so funny to see the resigning look in his eyes.

Best trick? My partner has taught him to catch a ball in his mouth. We’re working on getting him to do it from further away (right now he can do it from about two feet away).

Gear? Wilfredo has his own drawer of clothes! Once he even modeled for ReadyMade magazine’s dog issue wearing a jacket I had designed for him. We love to shop at Hazel and Gerties here in San Francisco. They have amazing clothing and accessories there. We got his current Diva-Dog collar there.

If your dog were another animal what animal would that be? Baby deer.

Chillin’ in the Rare Device window teepee

Being a shop dog at Rare Device, how good are his shelf stocking skills and what, if any, other helpful shop skills has he acquired? Wilfredo has really become the shop dog, and by that I mean that some people come to visit with him, not to shop! For a time we considered putting a sign in the door that said whether Wilfredo was there are not each day, so people wouldn’t have to come in and ask. Wilfredo is mostly responsible for bringing customers in by sitting in the window, which he does about 50% of his work day. Once they arrive, he hops down out of the window display and greets. He absolutely loves people and really is so sweet and gentle, especially with children and babies. If you kneel down, he’ll hop up on your knee. If you give him a treat, he’ll follow you around while you shop. By 4 or 5 PM, he’s beat and mostly sleeps till we close in his store bed, which sits behind the counter.

Thanks Lisa and Wilfredo!