By Meda Kessler
Photos by Ron Jenkins
Shop for a cause with Morgan Mercantile’s resident rescue dog.
When Kala Morgan saw the photograph of the small puppy, she knew she wanted to help. Saving Hope, a Fort Worth animal rescue organization, needed to find homes for not only little Scout, but her littermates. They reached out on social media channels to catch the eyes — and hearts — of people like Kala.
She contacted Lauren Meekins Anton, one of Saving Hope’s founders. Lauren had the unwanted litter of puppies at her home, a familiar way station for many of SH’s rescue dogs.
“I went to the Anton home to meet her,” says Kala, who admits she was surprised by Scout’s size. “She was so tiny.”
When she arrived home, she carefully hid the baby under her armpit. Her husband, Chance, didn’t see Scout right away when he asked Kala about her meet and greet with the puppy. “Then he saw her,” she says. “After about 5 seconds he reached out and said, ‘Oh, give her to me.’ I knew he was hooked.” Scout had found her permanent home.
Lauren handed Kala the little ball of white fluff, and while Kala tried to tell herself that their relationship might just be temporary, she realized very quickly she was in love.
The couple own Morgan Mercantile, a screen-printing business, and a retail shop of the same name in Fort Worth. Kala runs the store and, early on, took Scout to work with her. The pup eventually claimed a spot of her own in the office/storage area, ignoring the provided dog beds and instead making a blanket and shelf her hideaway. Scout also mingled with customers, checked out pedestrians from the glass door and made herself at home on the vintage Chesterfield leather sofa in the shop.
Kala grew up with small dogs but wasn’t experienced with puppies. “She has been so good, although we’re still working on her barking issues,” says Kala, who returned to Morgan Mercantile with Scout in mid-June after COVID-19 restrictions loosened up a bit.
To mark their return to business, Morgan Mercantile is ramping up its Scout’s Honor Bandana Club, a program that had been in the works pre-pandemic. The plan is to offer a monthly design suitable for wearing by people or pets, with proceeds going to Saving Hope or another local nonprofit. As with all of MM’s products, a lot of thought has gone into the screen-printed design.
Through a mutual friend, Chance connected with well-known Texas-born artist Rob Wilson. Known for his use of black lines and flat colors, and his love of animals, Wilson ended up being the first to contribute artwork to the project. (Check out his work on Instagram @robwilsonwork.)The cotton scarf bears a menagerie of pups and sells for $16 with $5 going to Saving Hope.
Scout, meanwhile, is happy to welcome back customers. She has grown a bit and celebrates her first birthday July 4. Morgan Mercantile is stocked with summer essentials for men and women — T-shirts, shorts, hats, duffel bags — along with Fort Worth-branded items such as coffee mugs, candles and more.
Scout’s favorites are the bandanas, of course, and an enamel pin in her likeness.