When customers entered Settergren’s Ace Hardware in Linden Hills, they were always greeted by the same familiar furry face.
Jager, a large munsterlander who served as the shop dog at Settergren’s, died in late August, just shy of 13 years old. Now a group of neighbors is raising funds to build a commemorative bronze statue of Jager outside the shop at 43rd & Upton, one that will immortalize his friendly presence in the neighborhood. A GoFundMe page (tinyurl.com/jagerstatue) launched in November is attempting to raise $9,000 to finance the statue.
“Everybody loved him, and he loved them back,” Settergren’s store manager Joe Young said.
Jager was originally the dog of store owner Mark Settergren, and spent the early years of his life patrolling the aisles of the Settergren’s store at 54th & Penn. When Settergren’s opened its Linden Hills location in 2011, Jager joined the opening staff. He spent much of his later life living and working with Young. He could be found greeting customers there daily, though he took vacations during hunting season, spending weekends pointing and retrieving birds.
“He’d wait at the register and paw your leg,” recalled Ingrid Soderberg, a Fulton resident and longtime shopper at Settergren’s.
Such was Soderberg’s affection for Jager that in the months after he passed, she approached Young and Mark Settergren with her hope to commission a statue of Jager outside the store.
For Soderberg the idea for the statue extends beyond honoring Jager to celebrating love for dogs and the memory of all past pets.
“It’s important to me and the community,” Soderberg said.
She spent weeks researching bronze sculptors and ultimately hired Michelle Recke, who created the sculpture of the Edina Police K-9 at Edina City Hall.
The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council has committed to funding the final $1,000 of the $10,000 statue if the first $9,000 can be raised. Soderberg said she approached the organization to help spread the word on the project and to lend it some legitimacy.
Jager was known for his kind, calm demeanor and his affection for children. One kid who donated money for the statue told Young that Jager was the reason he no longer feared dogs.
“It’s really kind of cool,” Young said.
In May 2019, KARE 11 aired a segment dubbing Jager the “unofficial mayor of Linden Hills.”
Even without the statue, Jager’s presence lives on in the neighborhood. People liked him so much they would buy puppies from litters he sired, and Young said there are a few of those dogs around Linden Hills. Jager’s grandson Jurgen has taken over as the shop’s dog. Jurgen spent time getting to know the store with his grandpa before Jager passed away.
“It’s amazing what Jager taught that dog in a few months,” Young said.
2813 W. 43rd St.