Is Your Furry Friend the Company's Ambassador and Mascot?

Does a four-legged companion greet your customers at the front door and help you get through a tough day on the job?

Is Your Furry Friend the Company's Ambassador and Mascot?

This is Bugsly, a 7-year-old Boston terrier and the editor’s faithful office dog.

We’re always talking about how your crew brings value to your portable restroom company. Where would you be without hardworking drivers who run long routes every day? And what about your office staff, the first contact customers have with your company? They offer courtesy and exhibit a great attitude for anyone who walks in the front door.

But do you have another most valuable player on your team? A four-legged friend that works for two square meals a day and a soft bed on the floor next to your desk? Does your faithful dog ride shotgun in the service truck to keep you company on long routes through the country? Is your canine — or feline — companion a calming influence in a chaotic workspace?

Occasionally we see a group photo for a story in Portable Restroom Operator in which a dog is lined up along with the humans in the yard. I love that, and I think including your pet in the team photos is the right and appropriate thing to do. Just like at home, your pet is a member of your company family, too.

Like any member of your crew, your dogs — and cats (who may prove indifferent sometimes) — support you through thick and thin. They won’t complain about the cleanliness of your restrooms or the punctuality of your service technicians. They won’t vandalize or tip over your restrooms. They won’t come in late, punch out early or ask for a raise.

Rather, they are a calming influence in the office. Like the vacuum relief valve on your trucks, your dog or cat can release the tension when someone is having a stressful day on the job. You’ve heard all the stories about emotional support animals helping their owners cope with a fear of flying. I would argue that your office dog or cat is really doing the same thing, even if you don’t notice it … pulling you through the challenging work of running a small business.

MY SIDEKICK

Like many PROs, I also have a furry assistant in the office. His name is Bugsly. He is a rescued Boston terrier, and we call him our “foster failure.” That’s because we were his foster family a few years ago and we just couldn’t send him on to another home. So we failed and kept him. We sensed that he needed us and certainly we needed him. Like every day, he’s laying on his cushy bed under the window snoring by my side right now. Occasionally he’ll jump on my lap and I’ll have to reach around him to keep typing on my keyboard or to pick up the phone.

Bugsly has been with us for a few years now after being saved by a kind veterinarian who refused to euthanize him when his owner brought him in to be put down. There was nothing wrong with Bugsly; his family just had no time for him anymore and for some reason asked that he be killed rather than taking him to a shelter for adoption. This story of neglect is all too common, we have learned.

Our family volunteers for the Wisconsin Boston Terrier Rescue, and Bugsly helps us care for unwanted dogs until we can send them on to a new family. They come in a variety of ways. The story is often like Bugsly’s. Someone bought a cute puppy, and then life changes and they no longer want or are able to care for the dog. Sometimes they are found on the side of the road, lost or dumped off by their owners. Many times they are rescued from a breeding operation where they are no longer seen as useful.

Perhaps you adopted your office dog or cat from a humane society or shelter and it had a similar rough and rocky past. If so, thank you for sharing your home and workplace with one of these worthy animals. The best day of your pet’s life was when you showed up and made him or her a part of your family. And these animals are doubly lucky in joining a PRO family, as they never have to leave their owner’s side. They make so many new friends in the office and enjoy many new adventures on the road if they get to ride in a service vehicle.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Perhaps you already do more through your company to help local shelters or animal welfare groups. Speaking as a rescue volunteer, I want to thank you for anything you’ve done for these wonderful organizations — run by caring, giving people and usually strapped for cash.

Here are a few ways PROs can use their specialized skills and the fruits of their labors to help save a pet:

Donate restrooms

There are many ways to benefit pets by doing what you do best. Is there a dog park in your area? Many dog parks are run by volunteer organizations and either they may be paying for a portable restroom on site or they could use one to serve the park users. Your humane society or area rescues might plan fun runs, picnics or other events to raise money to cover vet bills or other expenses. Providing a restroom or two could save these organizations hundreds of dollars. And a few hundred dollars to these groups makes a big difference.

Raise money for rescue causes

Consider dedicating a small portion of your revenue to a local animal group. This will not only help the nonprofit organization, but it will build goodwill from your customers. Look around and see how many people in your community have dogs or cats. They would appreciate your commitment to these causes. Put a sticker on your trucks and restrooms saying you support a rescue group. Link to the animal organization from your website and explain your involvement.

Challenge others to join you

Organize support among your team or your local chamber of commerce for pet-related charitable efforts. Offer to match employee donations to your favorite group. Ask other small-business owners to join you in donating to an important cause. Beyond rescue groups, there are many other types of animal-related projects you can support, including service-dog training, community K-9 police officers and nursing-home pet therapy programs. All could use the help of local businesses like yours.

Show off your company pet

If you have a shelter dog or cat, put them out front in your marketing efforts. Talk about your adoption story with customers and friends who stop by and meet the pet. Include your cherished pet in company advertising. Make your dog or cat a mascot for your business by adding their image to websites or invoices. So many people will value your concern for pets and may see your business in a more positive light.

SEND A PHOTO

How would you like to share the story of your office dog or cat? Send me a photo and a brief story about the faithful companion to you and your staff. I’d love to share these stories with the readers of PRO. Contact me at editor@ promonthly.com.



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