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Workplace pet: Charlie the Cocker Spaniel

After last year's National Bring Your Dog To Work Day proved such a success in the Faith PR office, they decided to employ a full-time canine companion, and haven't looked back since. 

What does your company do?

Faith PR is a PR, social media and content marketing agency. We enhance reputations and build brands through engaging and authentic storytelling. We work across a broad spectrum of sectors, delivering campaigns for companies on a local, regional, national and international level.

And introduce us to your workplace pet… What’s their name, and what kind of pet are they?

Charlie is our chocolate Cocker Spaniel. He is exactly as you’d expect a two-year-old spaniel to be – a bit bonkers and full of energy. He loves going running with our MD, Stefanie. The furthest he has run with her so far is 10.5 miles.

How did they become your workplace pet?

Charlie can’t be looked after at home as much as he used to be so rather than leave him on his own for hours, he comes to work with Stefanie.

What’s it like having an animal around the place?

It’s great! Charlie adds an extra bit of spark within the office. Everyone is always excited to see him, even if he does try and steal our lunch! He likes to know what’s going on too. His little head pops up every time the phone rings or someone knocks at the door. Sometimes he just sits and stares at the team while they’re typing, which can be a bit unnerving.

What made you decide to bring pets into your workplace?

The team brought their dogs in for National Bring Your Dog To Work Day last June and they were all surprisingly well-behaved (apart from some inappropriate humping attempts) so we decided it could work on a permanent basis without too much chaos.

Does it have an effect on stress, and on how the whole team works together?

When you’re hard at work, it’s comforting to have him around – he makes you feel more relaxed which in turn makes you more productive. We like to think he makes us feel like a family, and not just a team! We are lucky enough to have some great people at Faith and his up-beat character really brings something special.

Any unexpected benefits? Or, indeed, pitfalls?

Like most other dogs, his favourite treats are the smelliest! Luckily, his stinky treats are kept to a minimum so it’s not too much of a problem. We definitely underestimated the effect that having Charlie around would have on the team. Our work environment feels even more like a relaxed, friendly place in his presence.

Who’s responsible for walking, feeding, cleaning… any of the ‘less popular’ jobs?

Stefanie. He adores her and she him! It forces her to get some fresh air during lunch which she’d otherwise spend sitting at her desk working. If Stefanie is tied up in meetings, we do take it in turns to ensure he gets a little exercise. And luckily, he is fully toilet trained so we’ve thankfully had no ‘unexpected surprises’ left in the office!

Ever find it a distraction?

Yes! He picks the most inappropriate moments to lick your hand or drop a ball at your feet, which can sometimes be a distraction. Stefanie has also been known to run meetings with a water pistol in hand to stop him from jumping up at people. Luckily though, most clients and visitors to the office are dog-friendly. Sometimes, just because he wants a cuddle, he paws at your knee and tries to get up.

What would you tell other people who were reluctant to take in an office pet?

We’d say evaluate the reasons why you feel it’s not appropriate and if it’s something as simple as you feel it would have a negative effect on the workplace environment then don’t let this stop you. In actual fact, from our experience, it’s had the opposite effect. Having said that, it’s important to consider the breed carefully as some dogs are more suited to office environments than others. If you have a large breed that needs lots of exercise, you may need to factor in a dog walker for regular lunchtime walks. Also, a dog that barks every time the doorbell goes would be a nightmare!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Anybody for a beef tail? (sent by Charlie)

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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