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Working K9 to 5; what a way to make a living...

Dogs on the job in Outlook

OUTLOOK — “It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” — Author John Grogan (Marley & Me)

This is an attitude shared by many dog owners, including several running businesses in Outlook, who recognize the benefits of keeping a pet close by so they bring their dogs to work each day.

Goldie loves the ride

Adam Rafoss operates ADCON, a trucking and excavating business in Outlook and area, and wherever Rafoss is, his dog is close by. “Goldie comes to work with me pretty much every day,” Rafoss said. “She’s my little trucking buddy.”

The female golden retriever/German shepherd cross is less than a year and a half old and in that brief time has experienced a few disruptions, but now has found a home with Rafoss. “I’m her third family in a year and five months,” he explained. Health issues in one home and lack of space in another, meant Adam ended up with Goldie and they have bonded very well. “She tags along with me wherever I’m at. Always beside me. When I’m in the semi she likes to nudge me and say, ‘hey, pay attention to me.’”

She is a great dog for a trucking business. “What she likes best about the job is sticking her head out the window when it’s nice outside, Rafoss said, “especially when we’re going through an area that’s got livestock or if she sees deer down the road. She perks right up because she’s got to see what they’re up to. She also likes to supervise when we’re unloading and she’s always watching what we’re up to.”

Rafoss says Goldie has been good for the business.

“She’s just a good mascot for ADCON. She brightens the day. She’s a friendly face. Customers always welcome her with open arms and enjoy having her around because she just likes to be affectionate.”

Chester on the job

Step through the door at Pederson Insurance and you will be greeted by Chester, a Morkie who has been coming to work for three years.

The Maltese/terrier mix has brought a great spirit to the business that is an insurance, investment and financial service brokerage.

“Chester just spreads joy amongst the employees and the customers,” Hope Martin shared, and in a business that can bring challenging days his presence is appreciated. “He keeps the stress level down in the office,” Martin remarked. “The insurance industry can be very stressful and there’s lots of moving parts. If you’ve had a stressful phone call with somebody you can take a few minutes out and play with Chester. When you go back, your workload doesn’t seem so overwhelming.”

Chester enjoys being on the job and interacting with staff and customers alike. “He loves coming to work,” Martin said. “He likes to look out the door and see all the people, all the kids. Some people stop in just to say hi to him and he loves it.”

In fact, Chester even seems to bring out a soft side in some who drop by.

“Some gruff and tough men can come in here and next thing you know they are down on the floor playing with the dog,” Martin shared with a smile. “He’s got the run of the place. He’s very good with people, and customers seem to love him.”

Duo brings delight

Next door to Pederson Insurance is Shear Force, where not one, but two, dogs are on the job. Shear Force, a salon that offers esthetics, tanning and all services related to hair care, is where you will find Jack, a six-year-old Dachshund pug, and Henry, a 16-week-old Corgi.

Owner Margaret Langager has been bringing Jack to work for about five years, although he stayed home a fair bit during the months of COVID restrictions. “We’re kind of reintegrating him back into coming here,” Langager said, “because we quit bringing him for a bit during the pandemic.” During that time his presence was missed. “Actually when Jack wasn’t coming in lots of people were wanting to know when I was bringing him back. They’ll be happy he’s here again.”

Jack knows the ropes of the operation well and contributes by welcoming customers. “Jack is a very good greeter,” Langager said. “He greets everybody when they come. People love him because he’s not overly aggressive.” An added responsibility will be teaching Henry the ropes. “Jack’s been really good here and hopefully he’ll teach Henry those things, too,” she added.

On the day of his interview, it was Henry’s third day at the job and the rookie was making his presence known.

“Well, it’s tumultuous right now,” Langager said with a laugh. “Henry’s like the younger brother and kind of gets in Jack’s face and just eggs him on until Jack snaps. But then Jack has a blast with him. They roll around and grapple. We call them grapplers because they have so much fun playing together.”

Langager feels bringing the dogs to work benefits her customers. “They add a hominess to the business. It is proven when you pet a dog you get these endorphins that calm you. Most people find it very calming to have him here.”

Oscar brings a calming presence

Bringing a calming presence to the job is also what a golden doodle is doing over at Dynamic Autobody. Oscar has been coming to work since the day after Bree Campbell got him. “He’s my buddy. I couldn’t leave a puppy at home,” she said, “so he started coming with me.”

A visit to the collision and auto glass centre often occurs after a difficult situation and Oscar is there to lend a cheerful and supportive presence.

“He just brings a calmness to the place,” Campbell said. “When we’re busy people can sit and spend time with the dog, and I think just petting him softens the trauma of what they’re going through. He is able to make people feel better after they’ve been in an accident.”

Oscar has been on the job since 2014 and those who work with him say there are several things he enjoys including snacks, cake day, and staff lunches. But most of all he likes being around everyone. Employee Heather Elliott remarked, “He just likes to be with people. He’s a real people dog.”

Campbell said Oscar thrives with the routine of coming to work every day and customers enjoy his presence. “We have people who just drop in, not for business, but who just want to see the dog. They love the dog and he’s great to have around here.”

Weiss loves the weekly newspaper

Over at Outlook Printers, a six-year old St. Bernard has been part of the team since 2019. The Outlook Publisher, Delwyn Luedtke said, “He thinks his primary responsibility is accepting attention from customers between naps.”

His stature is what people notice first.

“Yes, people often comment on his size,” Luedtke said, “and then they see how friendly he is and many just want to sit and pet him.”

Weiss’ favourite part of the job is delivering the newspaper each week.

“As soon as the papers are ready to go he gets so excited,” Luedtke remarked. “He can’t wait to get into the vehicle and get going.”

Not only does it give Weiss a chance to travel with his head out the window, but it is also an opportunity to connect with particular individuals along the route.

“He often gets treats when he’s out delivering the paper,” Luedtke said, “and he loves that and the attention he gets when we’re driving around.”

Back at the office, Weiss brings a joyous and lighthearted presence to the operation. Luedtke explained, “His other main job is therapy for employees and customers. We have had people stop in just to see if Weiss is here because they need to spend time with a gentle dog. Weiss is more than happy to just sit and cuddle with anyone who wants to.”

Truly a lot of dogs are bringing joy to businesses all around town. The owners and co-workers of these dogs likely concur with the sentiment of writer W.R. Purche who said, “Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.”