Two men reading

Bank’s best friend

While pawing the bank’s extensive photo collections, frequent fixtures have become apparent: dogs. Yes, even before my tenure as resident barkivist, it was commonplace to find dogs of all sizes and pedigrees on bank premises, assisting their human colleagues with their day-to-day work of helping customers make real financial progress. Let’s take a look at some of my predecessors on the job.

Branch guardian

The dogs of yesteryear, much like myself, took it upon themselves to guard bank premises. In particular, they ensured that the entry of rats and mice was strictly prohibited. Despite being small in stature, the alert pose tells me that the Whitewood branch was in good hands (or paws, rather) under this prudent sentry’s watch.

Image: Photograph of exterior of Merchants Bank (acquired by Bank of Montreal in 1922) branch in Whitewood, Saskatchewan with dog standing sentry on front steps, c. 1914.

Customer companion

With employees usually standing inside teller’s cages, branch dogs of the 19th and early-20th centuries had the crucial role of acting as the first point of contact for visitors. No doubt the tail wags went a long way in making customers feel welcome. Who wouldn’t want this four-legged companion from the Richmond branch keeping them company while completing a bank transaction?

Image: Photograph of interior of Molsons Bank (acquired by Bank of Montreal in 1925) branch in Richmond, Quebec with dog sitting in front of the teller’s cage, 1907.

Traveler to new frontiers

My predecessors have also ventured to new frontiers when bankers sought to establish banking facilities in remote areas. One of the more recent additions to our photo collections features a dog that accompanied bank personnel to Rainbow Lake in Alberta, where snowfall amounting to 21 cm (8.1 in) is a regular occurrence. Here’s hoping this canine traveler packed a pair of snowshoes!

Image: Photograph of bank employees playing with dog outside of temporary trailer branch in Rainbow Lake, Alberta, 1966.