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Sit. Stay. Sleep. It’s a Dog’s Life for These Pooches Who Go to Work

Tayler Rothwell plays with Doug, a four-year-old White English Labrador
Tayler Rothwell plays with Doug, a 4-year-old white English labrador, at Whim So Doodle on Monday, June 18, 2018. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.


Doug works like a dog at Whim So Doodle art supply store.

And by that I mean Doug didn’t get up from his mat even once during our interview and moaned softly when I stopped scratching his belly.

But then again, Doug is a dog, so he’s probably meeting his metrics.

Take Your Dog to Work Day is June 22, but this white English Labrador is on the job every day, serving as the store’s greeter, shopkeeper, responder, salesdog and guard, according to Tayler Rothwell, Doug’s owner and Whim So Doodle’s marketing director.

There’s evidence that bringing along canine companions decreases stress levels in the workplace. Rothwell can attest that Doug’s presence has had a paws-itive impact since he started coming into work in 2015.

It helps you connect with the community,” says Rothwell, who adds that the busy 4-year-old pooch has a side gig visiting cubicle dwellers at the office upstairs from Whim So Doodle. “It makes every day better.”

We talked to other business owners in St. Petersburg, Florida, who bring their four-legged friends to work, and they all agreed: Life at work is better with a dog. Here are their tails… er, tales.

Ziggy, Welcomer at Bartique

photo of the dog ziggy
Ziggy, a 4-year-old mix, hangs out at Bartique on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

Ziggy could probably demand a raise if he knew what a good job he was doing.

The tail-wagger works as the welcomer at Bartique, a combination bar and boutique. Manager Megan Werner admits that the floppy-eared 4-year-old probably deserves a promotion.

“He should honestly be the manager — he’s brought in more business than any marketing I could have paid for,” Werner says. “We’ve had people that will come in from out of town that don’t even want to get anything, but then they’ll come back for a drink just to sit with him because they miss their own dogs.”

The beagle mix seems satisfied with his current compensation package, which includes four-pieces of Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets every Saturday and trips to the dog park three times a week.

In addition to duties like rolling around in sunbeams, playing rope with the regulars and sleeping on the couch, Ziggy entertains other dogs who stop by the establishment.

“It’s really rough,” Werner says with a laugh. Or is that “ruff”?

Althea, Brew Dog at St. Pete Brewing Company

photo of althea the dog
Althea, a 2-year-old mix, sits in her regular spot on the bar's foot stool with owner Jon McCracken at the St. Pete Brewing Company on Monday, June 18, 2018. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

Are there puppy labor laws?

Because Althea started preparing for her career as “Brew Dog” at the tender age of 10 weeks old. At least, that’s when St. Pete Brewing Company owner Jon McCracken began training his Australian Shepherd mix.

We wanted to socialize her as much as possible from day one,” says the raspy-voiced brewer, who points out he’s successfully kept her leash-free despite the bar being open to the street. “She’s never gone outside the door without me.”

He describes Althea’s duties as “just hanging out and eating the popcorn off the floor,” but it takes more than that for the 2-year-old pub pup to earn a bonus (of treats).

“She has to work for them,” McCracken says. “She can do sit, down, paw, roll — one day I’m going to teach her (to play) dead, but that seems like a lot of work.”

And besides, her day planner is already packed with posing for Instagram posts.

Bella, Greeter at D Gallerie

photo fo Bella, a one-and-a-half year old Golden Retriever
Bella, a 1-year-old golden retriever, hangs out at the D Gallerie on Monday, June 18, 2018. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

Would you let a 1-year-old golden retriever loose in your art gallery?

You would if she was as well behaved as Bella, the greeter at D Gallerie. She met me at the door with her favorite piece, a yellow rubber chew toy.

The gallery is filled with one-of-a-kind sculptures and paintings, yet owner Alejandro Quintero still plays fetch with Bella, who’s been coming to the store since she was 3 months old.

“She has never damaged anything,” Quintero says. “I’ll play with her in here with a tennis ball… as soon as she sees the tennis ball is getting too close to a piece, she’ll stop.

“She’s very, very delicate.”

Bella spends part of her day lying on the front sidewalk of the downtown shop, enticing potential customers to cross the street so they can pet her. All the attention has this member of the dog-collar economy begging to clock in.

“She just loves coming in here,” Quintero says. “If you leave her at the house and don’t bring her over, she gets depressed.”

Shouldn’t we all love our jobs this much?

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. When she’s home, her fur-faced coworker is a 13-year-old beagle mix who gets paid in belly rubs and baby carrots.

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