MANKATO — With 49 dog years of construction work under her collar, you’d think Hayley would know how to keep her wet, black nose out of trouble.
While prancing across the roof at a church construction site this week, the golden retriever managed to catch the attention of a concerned resident. Police were called and Hayley, 10, was within a leash’s latch of making a trip to the pound.
A community service officer responding to the call arrived at Hosanna Lutheran Church to find the gray-faced pooch looking down on him while wagging her tail. He talked her off the roof and was about to take her away before being stopped by Hayley’s owner and employer, Max DeMars of DeMars Construction.
“He thought it was a stray dog that just wandered up there, so he called her down,” DeMars said. “We’ve been joking with her, saying, ‘They’re going to haul you away if you don’t behave.’” “She actually comes to work with me every day. She has since she was a pup.” There was some discussion between officer and owner, and Hayley was put on a short leash for a couple of days.
She was back on the roof by midweek again, though, after another Mankato police officer returned to say it was a misunderstanding. DeeAnn Wacker, who works in the church office, said it’s likely the person talked to her before calling police.
“I got a phone call and the woman said, ‘There’s a dog on your roof.’ I just said, ‘Yea, that’s Hayley. She’s part of the construction crew.’ I was laughing, but the woman wasn’t.” Hayley hasn’t always been a roof dog. She waited until she was about 2 years old before climbing ladders.
DeMars suspects she was getting bored on the ground while everyone else was working above. “She’s one of those dogs who knows her limitations,” DeMars said. Hayley has many. She doesn’t haul shingles and she refuses to fetch hammers dropped by clumsy co-workers. But she will help finish a lunch and knows how to keep others chipper during the busiest work days.
Jordan Wesely, another DeMars employee, said he looks forward to seeing Hayley every morning. The feeling seems to be mutual because she’ll often lie down and just watch him work. When the crew accidentally left her at a work site during a lunch break, she chose Wesely’s tool belt to keep her company.
DeMars has been working on a major addition at the church since June, so the employees there have gotten to know Hayley, too. She’s warmly greeted as she wanders through the church halls looking for friends. Her abilities brought back memories for Armond Olson, church custodian. “I thought it was pretty neat when I saw her climb a ladder,” Olson said. “I had a dog that did that when I was a kid, but I don’t think I’ve seen one since.”
Hayley is usually welcomed wherever she goes, DeMars said. “Whether I’m at the lumber yards or the banks, they’re all looking for her because they all know her,” he said. “She’s my vice president of public relations. That’s a good title for her.”