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Tag: workplace

Does N.C. legislature have a new top dog?


There’s a rising star in the North Carolina legislature, and she has four legs.

A miniature Pomeranian named Diva comes to work every day at the General Assembly with her owners, Republican representative Nathan Ramsey and his wife, Robin Ramsey, a legislative assistant — and the fuzzy four-pound dog is said to be developing quite a following.

The Ramseys, who live on a farm in Fairview during the off-season, say they started bringing Diva to work in February, because they thought she’d be lonely staying at the condo they reside in while in Raleigh.

Since then, she’s shown herself to be a valuable asset, both a diplomat and a crowd-drawer.

“… In a short time, the taffy-colored rescue pup has arguably become the most chased after creature at the legislative building. Walk in on any given day and you’ll see a steady stream of bipartisan visitors knocking on the Ramseys’ office door,” North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC (91.5 FM) reported.

“It certainly opened the door to more visitors, which is good,” said Robin Ramsey.

On building tours for visiting schoolchildren, Diva’s office has become a regular stop — and, we’d guess, one of the more exciting ones.

“I make it a point to stop by,” said Democrat Rick Glazier of Fayetteville. “You can’t leave after playing with Diva and talking to the Ramseys unhappy or in a bad mood, and that is not always true around here.”

Ramsey, a former county commissioner, says Diva helps breaks the ice and cut through frosty exteriors. And he suspects she has helped him garner support for at least a couple of measures he has introduced.

“A lot of this is about relationships, and really, unless you’re a seat-mate with someone, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to reach across the aisle,” he said. “You don’t develop relationships by sitting in a committee meeting. You have to find out about other people’s lives and families and get to know them in more depth.”

Speaker of the House Thom Tillis recently stopped by Ramsey’s office with his boxer, Ike. A spokesman for the speaker reported the get-together was ”like many meetings in this building — more sniffing around than anything else.”

Back home on the family dairy farm, Diva likes to spend her time circling the baby calf pen.

She likes to round things up, Ramsey says, and those skills seem to have translated from barnyard to state house.

(Photo by Jessica Jones / WUNC)

Pawlitico? Website starts DC dogs series

The website Politico — apparently having finally realized how boring politicians are — has launched a series of videos profiling the pets of Washington’s movers and shakers.

The series of tributes kicked off yesterday with a look at Cali, a grey dachshund who is a fixture in the office of California Rep. Ken Calvert. Her owner is Rebecca Rudman, the congressman’s communications director.

The 3-year-old dachshund can often be seen running the marble halls of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Politico reports that “Rudman threw a tennis ball along the corridor outside Calvert’s office, as Cali ran for it wildly and dutifully brought it back.”

OK, so it’s not exactly hard-hitting reporting. Still, it’s nice to see some inside-the-beltway dogs other than Bo getting some attention.

Pawlitical appointment

They call Hewitt the sixth member of the Snohomish County Council  — and, some suspect, he may be the most energetic and charming one of the bunch.

The county council in Washington state actually has five members, but Hewitt, a black and brown terrier mix, has been a fixture in the council’s eighth-floor office for more than a year, the Daily Herald reports.

Hewitt belongs to County Councilman Dave Somers, who was headed home from work about two years ago when two men pulled alongside in a pickup truck and asked him to take their dog.

“The guy says, ‘Be good to him, give him a good home,’” Somers, who already had three dogs, recalled. ”Then they took a left, and they were gone.”

The councilman drove to an animal clinic, where, when asked for the dog’s name, he responded “Hewitt” — the name of the street he was on when the dog was handed over.

After a few months, Somers started bringing Hewitt to work with him — because, he says, the dog liked people so much.

“He could stay at home, but he’s just so much fun,” Somers said. “He enjoys us, and he fits right in. So we’ve settled into a routine here.”

(Photo by Dan Bates / The Herald)

Why just 1 day to take dog to work?

Every day should be “Take Your Dog to Work Day.”

At least that’s my thinking — and it’s the view of the Humane Society of the United States, as well.

HSUS is encouraging dogs in the workplace programs, and this year it has teamed up with Petplan, which describes itself as America’s top-rated pet insurance provider, to ask busineses to consider adopting programs permitting employees to bring dogs to work.

Such policies, they say, can be beneficial to employees, dogs and the company bottom line. Studies have shown that employees who bring their dogs to work tend to be more efficient, happier and healthier.

“We share everything with our four-legged family members – our joys, our sorrows, sometimes even our lunch,” says Natasha Ashton, co-founder of Petplan. “It seems only natural that we also share our work lives with our pets.”

To assist employers in implementing a dogs at work program, Humane Society Press, the publishing division of HSUS, published “Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces,” a guide to creating a business environment where employees’ dogs are welcome.

Authors Liz Palika and Jennifer Fearing present the tangible benefits of dog-friendly policies and provide step-by-step advice on obtaining management buy-in, setting fair procedures and protocols and dealing with any concerns about dog-friendly policies in the workplace. Dogs at Work also includes detailed advice about how to prepare dogs for the office environment, provides sample policies and handouts and provides two comprehensive case studies describing successful dog-friendly workplaces.

“Our canine companions make excellent colleagues, even at big companies,” said Fearing, chief economist for The Humane Society of the United States. “In the midst of tough times, employers can improve morale and support the human-animal bond by relying on Dogs at Work to develop and implement a workable – and free – program that works for everyone.”

The HSUS implemented a dogs at work program in 2007, and about 50 dogs come to work at the organization’s three offices in the Washington, D.C. area.

(Photo: Soco, HSUS staffer Cary Smith’s dog, at work; by Cary Smith, courtesy of HSUS)

Council hounds judge about dogs in office

ne10GGOO_t600[1]South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s habit of bringing her dogs to work was never a problem in the old courthouse, but since opening a spiffy new one, Dorchester County Council members are squawking about it.

Amid rumors that there have been doggie ”accidents”  inside the shiny new $13 million courthouse in St. George, the county council — though it lacks the authority to set rules for the courthouse — has instructed the county attorney to draft a letter to the clerk of court “requesting” that animals not be allowed on the premises, except for service animals.

“The taxpayers paying for the building don’t bring their dogs to work. Other county employees don’t bring their dogs to work. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m having to make this request,” Council Chairman Jamie Feltner said.

The request leaves County Clerk of Court Cheryl Graham, a pet lover and board member of the local SPCA  in an awkward spot, the Charleston Post and Courier reported.  “That’s mighty nice of the council to put that on me,” she told the newspaper.

“It’s a little bit of an embarrassment that it would be an issue,” Judge Goodstein said. Her dogs are well-trained and haven’t soiled the courthouse’s hallowed halls, she said. She thinks the “accident” rumor might have stemmed from one day when she got down on her hands and knees to clean a construction worker’s mud tracks from the floor.

The judge, who routinely brought her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Boykin spaniel and Airedale to work with her in the old courthouse — vacated earlier this year — says she’ll comply with whatever verdict the clerk of court reaches.

Take your dog to work (and more) on Friday

tydtwdAs a firm believer that every day should be “Take Your Dog to Work Day” — and having never worked for a company that would permit such a thing (even once the official day was proclaimed) — I don’t get too awfully excited by it.

Especially now that I work from home, Ace at my side.

On top of that, though, it has always struck me as strange that the day was created by Pet Sitters International, a group whose members, if everyone one took their dog to work, wouldn’t have much to do.

On the other hand, the day does get some employers to open their doors to dogs, and more important, it helps educate the public on the benefits of responsible pet ownership, raises the awareness of the human-animal bond, and supports the efforts of local animal shelters, rescues and humane societies.

So, with the 11th annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day”  approaching — it’s Friday — by all means, take your dog to work, if your employer is enlightened enough to play along.

And in either case, by all means drop by after work at the Maryland SPCA, which is celebrating the day with a “Wine & Wag” party of its own, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The SPCA, at 330 Falls Road in Baltimore, will be offering drinks, snacks and activities that include doggie musical chairs, paw painting, bobbing for hot dogs, a treasure hunt and plenty of free treats, courtesy of Dogma.

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the gate per person. (The event will be canceled and ticket prices will be refunded if the weather is bad.)

If you are taking your dog to work, Barkbusters offered the following tips in a press release.

– Recognize that this can be a stressful experience for your dog, and bring along a favorite pillow or blanket so he has something familiar to comfort him.

– Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to the office, and to control him in the office.

– Bring food or treats and a water bowl.

– Help your dog pass the time by bringing along dog toys.

– Don’t leave your dog alone with other dogs. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.

– Watch for any signs of dog aggressiveness, such as growling, staring, raised hackles, and stiff body posture. Diffuse potential conflict by removing your dog from the area.

– Don’t try to force unfamiliar dogs to “become friends.”

– Check with your supervisor to get an okay to leave work early if your dog can’t handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it’s best to just take him home. Do not  leave him in your vehicle while you continue to work.

– If a dog fight occurs, don’t try to break it up by hand. Use your dog’s blanket to throw over the heads of the fighting dogs. This will confuse the combatants long enough for you to defuse the situation.

(Photo: Mija, in accounts payable, from Takeyourdog.com)