Beckett at work with owner Trasie Monroe. PHOTO/PAM GRAHAM

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

The chihuahua walked down the hall in the Wairarapa Community Centre liked he owned it, into the office of the Salvation Oasis Centre for gambling support.

There sat William Blakemore, with a dog bed, water bowl and dog toys on the floor, as well as the usual office furniture.

Sufi, the two-year-old chihuahua, is Blakemore’s regular companion at work.

Meeting Sufi this week was timely, given yesterday was ‘Pets at Work Day’, a global event facilitated by pet food company Purina.

Across town, Beckett, a four-year-old border collie, sometimes comes to work with Trasie Monroe at Printcraft.

She’s a beautiful, well-behaved girl who doesn’t disrupt the office.

Monroe read about ‘Pets at Work Day’ on Facebook, and decided to participate.

She said Beckett came with the job – the woman leaving the role was also looking for a new home for her dog, so it was “a two-for-one”.

Beckett only spends part of the day at work.

“She’s lovely. I just let everyone know that she’s here. I try of avoid taking her out back because it’s noisy.”

She toddles around and always comes back.

“She’s a good dog, she’s well behaved — she has manners,” Monroe said.

She believes there are advantages to having pets in the workplace – for a start, they can be de-stressing.

“You can’t sit there and pat a dog and be grumpy at anyone. If you are reading a nasty email, and there is a dog there, they let you exhale.”

Both Monroe and Blakemore agreed that dogs were good conversation starters at work.

Blakemore said he started including Sufi when he met private clients, and taking him to work was an extension of that.

Sufi was popular at the centre, both with those who worked there and clients.

Sufi had been to dog obedience and had a dog trainer as a pup, as well as having lots of contact with other dogs.

Chiuahua are a devoted, lively, alert, quick and courageous breed that weigh up to 3kg, and are the fourth most-popular breed in the world, according to Wikipedia.

Shaun Robinson, the chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said the special interactions humans had with their pets had long been recognised as being beneficial for people’s mental health.

“It brings people together, alleviates feelings of loneliness and social isolation, and can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.” Robinson said.

Andrea Midgen, the chief executive of SPCA, said having a pet-friendly workplace could benefit both the people and animals.