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Devin’s Tails: Take Your Pet to Work

By Devin O’Branagan

In my humorous Red Hot mystery novels, Australian Shepherd Talisman is the real estate office mascot. Not only does she go to work with her people for general companionship, she is also part-time human resources director when assistants are hired, and she often tags along with clients to view houses. The only time her presence caused comment was when she blew her coat and furry little “Tribbles” skittered about the office floors. However, as some of the Realtors in the books are Trekkies, Talisman didn’t get into too much trouble for her errant fur balls. While pondering Talisman’s workplace antics, I decided to ask my Facebook friends about their adventures in taking pets to work. These were some of their responses:

– Tammy E. A. Crosby said, “I would never take mine to work, people like me there.”

Simon the Parrot

Simon the Parrot 

– Judithann Freeman said, “I have taken dogs to work often, but the most fun was taking the parrot to work at a doggy day care. The dogs were fascinated with him when he talked to them!” I asked her what the parrot talked about, and this was her response: “Mostly, ‘no no bad dog’ whenever some dog got too close. One dog kept jumping up on the desk so he could get a closer look (I think he was curious about something that looked like a toy and talked to him in a human voice). Simon says about 300 words and phrases and sings several songs. He did sing to the dogs: You are my Sunshine, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Down at the Station and others, including his version of Old MacDonald wherein there are only puppies and parrots—and the parrots squawk.”

– Rebekah Anthony’s boss and colleagues deserve medals for patience. Rebekah said, “I took a little chocolate Rat Terrier named Lola to work one day and she found my co-worker’s left over lo mein and ate it ALL! Good thing my co-worker had a great sense of humor about it. Another Rattie, Rodear, decided that she needed to go wandering. She decided she needed to hang out with the President of the company all day, as well as sleep in his briefcase on top of all his papers. Tracker would go through the office and open desk drawers just to look through them and would also go through the women’s purses!”

– Jenny Anderson Kalahar said, “When we first moved from Michigan to Athens, Ohio to open our used bookshop there near the campus of Ohio University we of course had our cat, Stomper, with us. Stomper was a silver spotted tabby British shorthair. They’re a big breed, and Stomper was a prime example of their size. He would sit on the front counter to be near my husband and I while we worked and waited on customers, yet he’d never let anyone other than us touch him. I mean—why sit there all cute and appealing if you don’t want to be petted? And he was very strong. When someone would reach out to pet the adorable kitty he’d swat their hand away hard, but only with his paw pads, never his claws. He was a gentleman cat, obviously. The mascot for OU is a bobcat. I don’t know how many students came in over the years who thought Stomper was a baby bobcat. He wasn’t a baby bobcat, but he was our baby. We sure miss that funny, grumpy, tenderhearted cat!”

– Don Little was lucky to keep his job. He said, “In the early 70s I took my [German Shepherd] to work everyday—had a connecting office with my boss. That job was vacant for a couple of weeks so the office was not in use. The new commander arrived a few days early to drop off his belongings. I heard growling and yelling from the office—the dog had him up on top of the desk. They became friends and my dog was allowed to keep coming to work.”

– Talisman isn’t the only dog who works in the real estate industry. Ann McQuillen said, “My ACD goes to work with me every day. I sell commercial real estate and frequently meet people I don’t know at vacant spaces/buildings. Teddy was my bodyguard for over 15 years. When he retired, Ringo took his place. I have a big dog pillow on the floor by my chair, a crate under the desk if I need it and can’t imagine working without my guy near me. Makes for a much more relaxed situation and clients love it.”

– Dawn Welch’s dog inspires! Dawn said, “Enya went to work with me at the orthopedic office for several weeks because when she was a ten month old pup she broke her leg. She would lie in the corner of my x-ray room. After she became mobile, she would hobble out and visit the patients in the office. She was the star attraction and a role model for the patients who had joint replacements. I would tell people if an Aussie pup could recover from three leg surgeries, then they could also. Many of my former patients still stop me in the grocery store and ask how she is doing. I tell them she recovered so well that this past year she was ranking 6th on the merit list for advanced cattle for ASCA. Such a great little red merle girl she is.”

– Michelle Ruiz said, “No one has brought an animal to work on purpose (that I’m aware of), but we have a resident frog named Fil! Our office is located at the landfill, hence the name of the frog, and he lives in the table fountain located in the lobby.”

My Facebook friends gave me too many stories to include, but many conveyed what a positive impact their furry friends had on grumpy employees, as well as the therapeutic effect of their presence on all involved. I think we should have an official, “Take your pet to work day,” just like we do for taking children to work. In the meantime, Talisman will continue to grace the halls of Blackstone Realty in The Red Hot Novels, making people laugh—and trailing Tribbles.

Photo of Simon the Parrot courtesy of Judithann Freeman.

Copyright © 2014 – Devin O’Branagan – All Rights Reserved

Devin O’Branagan is a bestselling author who writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include young adult urban fantasy, paranormal thrillers, comic mysteries, and fiction about dogs and cats. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, the Cat Writers’ Association, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English, Heyne Verlag in German, and Dogan Egmont in Turkish. All of her books are available in both print and eBook formats. Visit her website at DevinWrites.com, and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

More from Devin O’Branagan:

Devin’s Tails: Help Wanted

Devin’s Tails: Pets and Play Dates

Devin’s Tails: Dogs and Cats in Books

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