His customers know Steve McAdams as the friendly pharmacist at Peoples Drug in Georgetown, where he has worked for more than seven years.

Others know him as a competitive bodybuilder and judge who has officiated at shows in Chicago and Atlantic City as well as the Mr. and Ms. District of Columbia contests. (He won the novice title of Mr. Nation's Capital himself in 1986.)

And then there are those -- like Hugo, Thor, Woody, Bandit and Amber -- in whose hearts McAdams holds a special place. Because when he isn't filling prescriptions or judging bodybuilders, he's teaching obedience, protection, Frisbee catching, behavior modification and good manners at Tri-State K-9 Service, where he's head trainer.

"All the things I do are so different and yet so alike," he says. "Basically it's about having the ability and patience to communicate."

Which is why McAdams sometimes would like to apply skills he's learned in one job to another: For instance, there's a canine command he admits he'd sometimes like to use when things get hectic at the pharmacy.

"We use a manner command called 'get out,' " he says, "for a dog that keeps nudging and nudging while you're busy with something else. And when you say, 'Get out,' the dog leaves the room."

But McAdams keeps his careers separate -- except when he's distracted by the exception in the company's no-dog policy that allows customers of the Georgetown Peoples to bring Fifi or Fido in with them while they shop.

"I can tell when there's a dog in the store," he says. "There's a particular sound that makes me know it's not a person walking down the aisle, and I just have to look to see who it is."