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Employees in the northern area get health boost by bringing pets to work

Has the workplace gone to the dogs?

Not completely, but more and more companies are allowing employees to bring their pets to work. It’s not just big companies, such as Google and Amazon. Local companies, such as Reliable Banner, 2410 N. Decatur Blvd., Suite 120, in the northwest area, have been hosting Fluffy Fridays for more than a year.

Employee Desirae Smith brings her dog Leroy every Friday. She said he enjoys looking out the window and lying around the office.

“All of the customers love him,” Smith said. “Sometimes, customers come in specifically on Friday just to see him. He’s like our intern, but his only job is to greet customers. He doesn’t make very good coffee.”

The 9-year-old Labrador and Shih Tzu mix is usually the first one at the door to greet customers, and he has never been known to reject a good pat.

“Petting him is a nice way to start the day,” said employee Chris Draper. “He helps us become more creative with our work and gets us out of the (pattern) of an eight-hour day.”

Studies have shown that petting a dog can calm people by increasing levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreasing production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Owner Mike Hannon added that Leroy is a good fit in the office because he’s older.

“He’s very mellow,” Hannon said. “Sometimes, I don’t even notice him in the office.”

Reliable Banner is not the only pet-friendly business on the block.

EXOTIC OFFICE PETS

Leroy enjoys going next door to Delcon Termite & Pest Control, 2410 N. Decatur Blvd., Suite 115, where employees have treats waiting for him and a few rare office mascots.

Lucy is a 2-year-old bearded dragon who sits in her tank in the front of the office. Inside the business, customers can also find five turtles.

”I know that we’re in pest control, and this seems weird, but I’m just an animal lover,” said business owner Misty Goodroad. “We don’t get a lot of customer flow in here, but having the pets in the office helps with employee morale. It lets them see that we’re still human and not just the boss of the office. Everyone becomes more involved.”

Employees are also allowed to bring in their dogs occasionally.

REDUCING STRESS

After visiting Lucy, Leroy also likes heading to Vegas Thunder Cycle, 2410 N. Decatur Blvd., Suite 110, to visit his dog friends — mutts Sassy and Coal.

“We’ll let our customers and employees bring their dogs into the shop,” said co-owner Pinky Kim. “Having dogs in the office does not make it a doggie daycare. We are all responsible for our own dogs. They just help create a relaxing atmosphere. I have customers who have PTSD, so letting them bring in their dogs helps reduce their stress.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the health benefits of owning a pet can include lower blood pressure and cholesterol and increased opportunities for socialization and physical activity.

Bringing pets to the workplace also helps employees because they don’t have to worry about their pets sitting home all day.

“I didn’t think it was fair to leave my dogs at home,” Kim said. “Having them here has helped them with their separation anxiety. Plus, it makes the work environment fun. It’s our form of pet therapy.”

Having dogs in the workplace can have its drawbacks.

Kim said Sassy once followed a customer out of the shop and sniffed her way to Rancho Drive.

Yet the owners remain confident that they’re happier having them at work than alone at home.

HIGH-FLYING POOCH

Perhaps the most adventurous job award belongs to Joe Sheble’s 5-year-old pooch, Trixie, the flying dog.

Sheble operates Sheble North Town Aviation Flying School at North Las Vegas Airport, 2730 Airport Drive.

“Trixie was really nervous the first time she came on the plane with me,” Sheble said. “She was shaking the whole time. Now she has more than 1,000 hours of flying time. That’s more flying than most pilots have.”

Trixie has a harness that keeps her safe during takeoff and landing.

Sheble claims his Jack Russell/rat terrier mix is responsible for bringing in more customers and maintaining a relaxed environment.

“She’s a social butterfly,” Sheble said. “She likes to sit on the lap of students, and she’ll calm them down during lessons and tests.”

While a few business owners have had customers who are afraid of or don’t like dogs, they all said those instances are rare, and the benefits of having them at work outweigh the negatives.

Take Your Pet To Work Day even has its own national holiday in June.

“Dogs help create a family-friendly environment,” said Vegas Thunder Cycle co-owner Ivan Ishihara. “They put people at ease and help the days go by pleasantly.”

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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