They are at least for Gerry Botwinick, whose august feelings for Barney Bear Schulman, the prominent pet mascot who was the official greeter at Botwinick's long-running eponymous clothier store in Jenkintown, are clearly evident in the announcement that Barney, a 15-year-old Bijon Frise, had died of cancer the same day — June 17 — that the 92-year-old store closed its doors for good.
Everyone who came into the store knew Barney, whose owner is actually Ken Schulman. For customer and crew, however, Barney and Botwinick's were a perfect match.
"He arrived to greet customers at the age of 6 weeks — just a pup — and continued for 15 years," says Botwinick, who insists that Barney "was part-human."
And definitely all Jewish: "He wouldn't eat treif, only Jewish food," says his self-described "godfather" of the "furry person" known to thousands.
Is it possible that Barney saw the end — of the business — coming after Botwinick's had been in existence long enough for its own Bar Mitzvah (13 in dog years)?
"Absolutely," says Botwinick. "I have a feeling that he held on until we closed. He knew."