ROCKINGHAM — Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day, but for some local shops, canine companions are just business as usual.
Allison Sweatt of Richmond County Animal Advocates said an office visit is a great way for residents to celebrate their pets, whether one day out of the year or year-round.
“If your job permits it, I think it’s awesome,” Sweatt said. “It shows you like dogs and that you’re a good person. Most of the dogs who go to work each day are rescue animals. Having them around the workplace relaxes the environment and makes you feel welcome.”
Take Your Dog to Work Day has taken hold throughout the United States, but the event traces its roots to North Carolina. Pet Sitters International — based in the Stokes County town of King — launched the event in 1999 with about 300 participating businesses. Organizers said thousands of companies from coast to coast now take part.
Here are a few places around town where dogs are in the workplace routinely — some with special talents, others without. But each is special in the eyes of those who love them.
JUNIOR: FORMAL WEAR ADVISER
Amber Marcengill, owner of Rocking Trends Consignment Boutique downtown, keeps her dog at work every day. The English Boston bulldog is a son of a rescue pet and has been part of Marcengill’s family since he was born.
Junior’s favorite section of the upscale consignment shop is where he spends most of his workday. He enjoys helping customers select the perfect dress, and is quick to communicate his approval when warranted.
“His favorite is wedding dresses,” Marcengill said. “He just really likes to stay around the formal wear. And he’s a great babysitter for our shoppers. We have quite a few people who, when they first started coming here, were afraid of dogs. Now they are losing that fear because of Junior’s personality.”
Brittney Gilmore, an employee at Rocking Trends, doesn’t have a dog to bring to work Friday but plans to bring Jorge, her turtle.
The store will be offering 50 percent off all pet accessories that day to commemorate Take Your Dog to Work Day.
BELLE: WORTHLESS FOR WORK
Will Currie, proprietor of The Smoking Cork wine shop in Broad Street Square, has taken his dog Belle with him every time he’s cranked his truck up since he found her hiding underneath it nine years ago.
Belle, a white Labrador retriever mix, stays with Currie in his shop all day and the two are inseparable.
“She showed up under my truck and was so tiny,” Currie said. “Someone had dumped her, I guess. I don’t know how she found her way to my truck, but every time I fire it up, she goes everywhere with me. She’s pretty worthless as far as working goes, but she sure keeps me company.”
SHEA AND ANNIE: MARKETING PROS
Two black Labs work at Maness Tire Pros Group on Airport Road; Shea, an Irish Lab and Annie, a standard Lab trained by K2 Solutions, Inc. Cheryl Lewis said they are friendly and enjoy visits from people as well as other pets and that they draw people to the store.
“People come back and see them,” Lewis said. “They bring them treats. And once they find out Shea and Annie are here, people even bring their own pets. They’re great advertising. We even had a little girl bring a hedgehog.”
TINKA: RIDES FORKLIFT, RUNS SECURITY
Marcy Orr, manager of Advanced Power Products on Airport Road, even has a dog on staff. Tinka, a white cockapoo, has worked for her since he was eight weeks old. He is now 9 in human years.
“Tinka runs security for me,” Orr said. “He works five days a week. He helps operate the forklift, unloads trucks and gets on the pallets and helps count them up. People bring him all kinds of treats, and pet gift cards.”
Orr said Tinka moved with her to Florida when she was reassigned to an office there once, and Tinka adapted to the move and carried on working as always.
“He didn’t like the apartment we had when we first moved there,” Orr said. “Too many racoons and other animals around, but once we moved into a house, he loved it in Florida. He’s very flexible.”
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-997-3111, ext. 15.