They’ve been known to knock things over, steal food from coworkers and brazenly nap in the middle of the day. They can’t type worth a darn, and answering the phone is out of the question.
But, if you need a big, wet kiss, a fetch partner or the most enthusiastic greeter possible, they’re up for the job. In fact, at several Tri-Cities businesses, these furry, funny, four-legged (or, in one case, three-legged) office pets pretty much hold the title of Employee of the Month every month of the year.
“Having a dog in the office is so great. It just makes you happy,” said Brandi Myers, project scheduler at Absolute Power Inc. in Pasco, where Boomer the boxer is the office dog.
Boomer belongs to Absolute Power co-owner Jeff Oliver, and “his personality is just the best. He’s a good dog,” Myers said, noting that the lovable 4-year-old pup charms employees and customers alike.
He has a chair with a blanket for naps, and Myers and coworker Lisa Swanger keep him in treats.
The good boy makes the workday sweeter, Myers said, and “if you’re having a bad day, he helps.”
It’s the same story at Buds...and Blossoms, Too in Richland, where Tre’ and Mila – Samoyeds with eye-catching fluffy white coats – are the most popular employees by far.
Their job is to charm customers, a task at which they excel.
“People call and ask what the dogs’ schedule is” so they can do their flower shopping when Tre’ and Mila are on duty, said Janet Marcum, who owns Buds...and Blossoms, Too, and the pups.
“We had one customer, who’s since moved, who’d come in for his ‘therapy session.’ He’d lay on the floor with the dogs, especially Tre’. He’d just talk to Tre’,” Marcum said.
Children also are awed by the pups. Marcum has a sweet photo of Tre’ sitting just inside the shop door, with two little girls crouched down on the other side, enraptured by the floof.
“They are so good. They love being petted,” Marcum said of the pups, noting that when Tre’ and Mila feel like having some alone time or taking a nap, they do so. They’re model shop dogs, she said.
“We have a lot of gifts and a lot of flowers, and they never touch anything. They may have knocked over a couple of buckets in their time, but that’s our fault for putting them there,” Marcum said.
All in all, they make the shop a warmer and friendlier place.
“When I hire someone, I say, ‘You’re not allergic to dogs are you?’” Marcum said with a chuckle. “I think (having a pet at work) adds a lot to your business. It makes you feel at home. If I couldn’t bring them to work, I would hardly see them at all. I’m very lucky that I can have my pets with me. I really am.”
Janet Mick, owner of Minuteman Press of Kennewick, feels the same way.
Josie and Ryder join her at work every day.
They’re Mastadors, or part Mastiff and part Labrador. And they’re pure joy and fun.
Josie, at 3 ½ years old, “is the (original member) of the welcoming committee. She doesn’t know a stranger, loves everybody and has zero personal space,” Mick said.
She’s infamous for asking forgiveness and not permission.
“If you have anything on your desk within reach of her big paws, she’ll eat it,” Mick said, recalling how Josie once got ahold of a package of Costco prosciutto and ate it all before she was apprehended – even the plastic. (The pup made a trip to the veterinarian and was just fine).
Ryder is a year younger and is the more “calm, cool and collected one” – except when it comes to playing fetch. She’ll chase a tennis ball up and down the hallway for as long as someone throws it.
And employees at Minuteman Press are happy to oblige. Josie and Ryder are beloved.
“Every morning we have a meeting and they’re always there. They make their rounds, get their pets. And of course, the customers love seeing them and giving them pets. It adds a down to earth, inviting atmosphere (to the office),” Mick said. “Doing printing isn’t all that glamorous, but when you add a couple of cute dogs in there, I think people really love that.”
Doodles played a similar role at Parkside Driving School.
The Chihuahua-Beagle mix would often calm nervous teens preparing for a test. She was a mainstay at the school’s Kennewick location. But it closed this past March, and the Richland office has carpet, which isn’t a good mix with Doodles’ long hair. So, she’s now enjoying her retirement.
Doodles is a tripod, meaning she only has three legs – she lost her left hind leg as a puppy.
Shelia Emerson, an instructor and scheduler at Parkside Driving School, adopted the now 7-year-old dog a while back.
“She came along at just the right time. It’s hard to get pets with disabilities rescued, but I jumped on it. I thought she was so special,” Emerson said. “She was very timid at first, but I think bringing her in and letting her get to know the kids helped her quite a bit.”
Although Doodles doesn’t come into the office anymore, she still has plenty of fans. Teens and parents alike ask about her. She’s doing well, Emerson said – as cute as ever. And Emerson is pretty sure she’d enjoy the attention of being featured in the Journal as a workplace pet.
“If she could understand it, she’d be thrilled because she’s a diva,” Emerson said.
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