Pet Tales: How's this for a morale booster? Bring your pals to work




Libraries are a great place to hang out, especially during the hot and hazy days of summer. The Robinson Township Library will be especially enticing to animal lovers on Friday when little dogs named Simon, Mia, Portia and Pugsley will be there.

Two Chihuahua mixes, two pugs and other dogs owned by library staff will be part of the nationwide observance of Pet Sitters International's Take Your Dog To Work Day. About 300 businesses nationwide observed the first such day in 1999.

Pet Sitters International does not have statistics on companies participating now, but they say their www.takeyourdog.com website had 100,000 unique visitors last summer.

"The event encourages employers to experience the joys of pets in the workplace" while supporting the adoption of animals from shelters and rescue groups, says the news release.

Simon, 2, was adopted last September by Jill Antoline, assistant director of the library.

"Simon came up from the South after hurricanes," Ms. Antoline said, and she found him in the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center. He seemed anxious and nervous, so she began looking for a housemate. In November, she adopted Mia, 5, from a Boston terrier rescue group in Beaver County, though the little female does not appear to have any of that breed in her bloodlines.

Max loves Mia, and Ms. Antoline took both dogs to meet her co-workers, including library director Sharon Helfrich, who has pugs Portia, 6, and Pugsley, 5. Ms. Helfrich adopted them after former owners were unable to care for them.

"The boss approved" trying the take-your-dogs-to-work day, Ms. Antoline said.

At the Post-Gazette, we're really lucky, because Joan Ardisson has been bringing a dog to work on most weekdays since 2009.

The assistant to Post-Gazette publisher and editor-in-chief John Robinson Block currently has Darius, a 4-month-old black Labrador retriever puppy who is in training to be a service dog for The Seeing Eye Inc. Before him, Ms. Ardisson brought Xante, a Golden retriever. Xante passed all of his tests and training, but a minor eye problem derailed his guide dog career, so he "retired" as Ms. Ardisson's pet. Pictures of both dogs are on Xante's Facebook page.

Getting the boss's permission is the first step to being a participant in the nationwide event. Also make sure there are no co-workers, customers or clients who are afraid of dogs or dangerously allergic to them.

No one will enjoy visits from dogs that bark non-stop, jump up on people, steal food or have "accidents." Owners need to provide food, water, toys, a comfortable bed and frequent outdoor potty breaks when their dogs go to work.

Gift wrap for dads

Volunteers are wrapping Father's Day presents at the Mall at Robinson, Center Court, today and Sunday. Donations benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

Felines from the shelter will be there as part of the 100 Cats of Summer promotion. Special June and July adoption rates are $15 for cats older than 6 months and $100 to adopt one kitten and get a second one for free.

Dog-friendly mall

Last month, Moochie & Co. opened what the company calls an "upscale boutique" at the Mall at Robinson. After eight months at Ross Park Mall, the shop moved to Robinson partly because of the dog-friendly policy that allows visits from the dogs of customers and dogs and cats from shelters and rescue groups.

Today from noon to 3 p.m., dogs from the group Golden Retrievers In Need will be at the store so that people can meet pets that need permanent homes.

Sebastian, ambassador dog for Perfect Fit Canines, will be at Moochie & Co. from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The local non-profit partners therapy dogs with children and young adults with autism, and needs people to raise their puppies.

On June 24, the store is hosting its monthly Yappy Hour party for dogs and owners from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be free treats, games and 20 percent off purchases.

Dogs going to Moochie & Co., must enter at Entrance F, upper level, between Macy's and Philip Pelusi. Dogs can choose their own toys -- from Go Nuts ($29.95) for tough chewers to plush toys for canines that play gently.

I stopped in recently, and some of my favorites were a fluffy white Lambchop ($3.95) and Monster Max, a 45-inch plush "giant monkey stick" ($29.95). Store manager Nancy Goebel said Max is for big dogs or for small dogs with attitude.

Owners of high-energy retrievers should check out sling-shot toys -- pink pigs or yellow ducks that can be shot 100 feet through the air ($14.95). There are also treats, collars, leashes, rain coats, carriers and "health and beauty" products.

There's a small section for cats, and employee Crystal Zeigler said her cats, Beasley and Tabot, especially like the Yeoww Cat Nip Banana ($6.95).

Update

The third annual Panera Pup Walk was a success, and grand marshal Charlie Batch was a big part of that. The Steelers quarterback brought four of his seven dogs (two bichon frise, a Rottweiler and a pit bull) and signed autographs.

About 400 dogs and 1,000 people participated, raising $20,000 (and still counting) for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3064. Pet Points, the column by veterinarians at the Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic, is taking a summer hiatus. First Published June 16, 2012 4:00 AM




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