Editor’s note: The following article was published in the June 2015 issue of Out N’ About magazine. June 26 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. We set out to find local dog owners who take their dogs to work on a regular basis. Here’s the “tale” of one such pup.
Is taking a pet to work more likely found in Hollywood Hills than the Blue Ridge Mountains? Actually, we found plenty of four legged friends making their way into the hearts and offices of workers right here in Northeast Tennessee.
One such pet is Jake, a 6 ½ year old, 80 pound Golden Retriever with a soft, well-groomed coat. Jake is the self-appointed doorman and greeter for Stowaway Storage on Browns Mill Road in North Johnson City. As this writer entered, Jake approached carrying a soft, red child’s toy in his mouth and wagging his tail. By all appearances he is both welcoming committee and chief public relations officer.
“From the very beginning when my youngest son pushed me to get another puppy (after the family’s previous Golden passed away), I said, ‘OK he has to learn to ride in the car, he has to learn to jump in and out of the car, and he has to go to work with me every day,’” said Jake’s owner and person, Barbara Allen. “I picked him up on a Monday and he was just about 10-12 pounds. Tuesday morning at 8 AM he was in the office and Friday of that week he shot a TV commercial for the Dogwood and Cattails Ball.” Jake has been the mascot for Stowaway ever since.
“There are a lot of people who want to do business with somebody that is a dog lover,” says Allen. “Some people bring their kids and time their visit to be sure that Jake’s here.”
Allen says Jake considers his co-workers an extension of his family and when the tenant, who lives in an on-promise apartment, stops home for lunch, Jake believes it’s his lunch break too. “Jake rushes over to greet him and keep him company through lunch and then the tenant leaves and Jake comes back to work,” says Allen. Jake knows the UPS and FedEx truck drivers and is excited to see them because they are regular visitors at Stowaway. (Note: The well-mannered Jake does not bark at these uniformed guests.)
Allen says that taking a canine to work involves a lot of prior planning. “You always have to be thinking ahead. You can’t run errands after work and you have to adjust your timing,” she says. Thankfully, Jake feels so at home at Stowaway that he is completely at ease when Allen says “I’ll be back,” during work hours.
“He is featured in all our advertising and believe it or not, he is responsible for lots of rentals,” adds Charles Allen. “Although Barbara didn’t take him to work for that reason, it (taking a dog to work) is probably one of the better marketing moves we have made.”
Just like a small child, Jake’s regular nap time rolls around each afternoon between 3 and 5 pm. That’s when people know to step over the sleeping pooch who’s generally sprawled out in front of the door. His rest routine; look outside for a few minutes and then nod off to doggie dreamland.
“Dogs have to be at the right place at the right time and Jake’s perfect for here because he gets to interact with lots of different people,” says Barbara Allen.
Mary Ellen Miller writes, walks and works with her dog Lucky, a nearly five year old Jack Russell Terrier mix. Do you have any working dog stories to share with us?