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Editorial

Casper Critters


Take Your Dog to Work this Month!



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06/01/2012 - By Gayle M. Irwin

June 22 is Take Your Dog to Work Day, a special day designated by Pet Sitters International (PSI). On this particular Friday, PSI encourages employers to promote pet adoption and the pet-human bond by allowing employees to bring their dog to work. This special day falls during Take Your Pet to Work Week, June 18 to 22. Learn more about this special time at http://www.takeyourdog.com/About/. Perhaps you can join the ranks and take your dog to work, just like Montana's governor Brian Schweitzer does his border collie, Jag, accompanies the Governor on many trips and spends time at the State Capitol in Helena. There's even been a book written about Jag! (see http://www.farcountrypress.com/books/firstdog/).

The Montana governor isn't the only person to take his dog to work. When I served as editor of the West Yellowstone News in Montana, I worked very long hours, especially on publication day. During that grueling period, my cocker spaniel, Sam, kept me company. Most of the time, he simply lay under my desk, patiently waiting for me to finish the tasks before me even if it took until midnight! Sam was a great comfort and companion during those endless hours of page design and story re-writes.

Others also know the value of furry ones at the office. The late Dr. Justin Johnson, my former veterinarian who diagnosed my Springer Spaniel Sage with her blinding disease, always had a dog, cat or both that served as office greeter. Justin's blue merle Australian Shepherd, Jesse, was not only part of the office staff, but also part of Justin's weekly TV appearances for years on K2 TV. Jesse's friendly yet laid-back demeanor, soft coat, and ever-wagging tail made him not only a great local TV personality, but also a wonderful office dog, helping people (and their pets) feel at ease at the clinic. Justin's knowledge and compassion made him an excellent vet he provided information and comfort for me and my animals from the time I arrived in Casper in 1999 to the day Sage died earlier this year. Jesse was Justin's special sidekick for many years and made an excellent ambassador. I had the privilege of sharing the K2 stage with them one day to discuss tips for blind dog owners. Jesse and Sage were part of the program, and people responded to the information Justin and I provided, most likely because of our dogs. Dogs and people go together like peanut butter and jelly dogs make people smile.

Consider the therapy animals that visit hospitals, nursing homes, libraries and other places. They offer comfort and companionship to people in need of uplift to their day. Scientists document the great health benefits pets provide to people. Although that's not necessarily the goal of the Take Your Dog to Work Day, it's an added benefit.

Sage was never part of a public work setting, however, she, too, had her "working" moments, visiting schools, libraries and bookstores. And, she often shared my home office space, quietly lying nearby as I wrote manuscripts and stories. Similar to Sam at the West Yellowstone News, Sage stayed nearby as I developed stories to share with others.

Whether or not you can take your pet to work this month, do spend extra time with your four-footed friend. Summer officially arrives the same week as Take Your Pet to Work Week, so enjoy some of those health benefits your furry friend provides. And, if you don't have such a companion or you've been thinking about adding another to your home, consider adoption from our local animal shelters or rescue groups.

NOTE: This month's column is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Justin Johnson, a devoted Casper veterinarian for many years. This gifted, caring man is truly missed!

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Gayle M. Irwin is a writer, author and speaker. Her works include stories and books about her dogs with strong, positive life lessons. She has also been published in editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. A new book release titled Now I See: Faith Lessons Learned from My Blind Dog is planned for late 2012. Visit www.gaylemirwin.com to learn more.

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