Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Working like a dog can be fun

Canine companions also serve as good co-workers for some

May 31, 2006


Digging holes is all in a day's work for Chigger, a rat terrier.

But while many dogs are busy burying bones in the backyard, Chigger gets to sit in the front seat of a bulldozer carving through three layers of asphalt and brick on Massachusetts Street.

Chigger's owner, Jim Heiman, is a foreman with Nowak Construction, and occasionally he takes his canine companion to work with him. For Heiman, operating heavy machinery is a cinch, even with a dog in his lap.

"He's like a human. He just sits in my lap - he don't do nothing," Heiman said, adding that for safety reasons, he keeps Chigger on a leash.

Though Heiman gets to bring Chigger to work pretty much whenever he wants, most dog owners don't have that luxury - after all, a cubicle in a quiet office isn't exactly the best place for dogs to spend the day. But a number of Lawrence residents have found ways to bring their pets into professional settings.

Like Heiman, Jon Blumb, a Lawrence photographer, enjoys the company of his animals at work. Though they may not increase business, his two beagles, Bunny and Buster, help out in the studio by entertaining clients between shots.

"They don't get to go every day because sometimes I have to go do a job somewhere or sometimes it's too hot for dogs to travel. : When I can, I take them along for fun. They're good companions," Blumb said.

"They're experienced in meeting people and traveling and walking across the street downtown," he said. "It's kind of entertaining for them."

Because Blumb is his own boss, bringing Bunny and Buster to work isn't an issue. It's the same for Dale Willey, owners of Dale Willey Automotive, 2840 Iowa, who tries to keep his golden retriever, Toby, in the office for most of the day.

On occasion, Toby breaks free and gets a little too friendly with customers. Just the other day, he leaped into the front seat of a female customer's SUV and "made himself at home in her car," Willey said.

Willey, who calls Toby "his 80-pound lapdog," said that having a dog in the workplace is more fun than hassle, which explains why Toby has tagged along with his owner nearly every day for more than three years. Willey doesn't know if Toby's charisma sells cars, but it does add excitement to the workplace.

"He just wants to have fun with everybody," Willey said. "That's what golden retrievers do."

Take Your Pet to Work Day

Pet Sitters International's eighth-annual Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, June 23. More than 10,000 companies are participating worldwide in an effort to encourage pet adoption and responsible pet care.


lamb 12 years ago

That sounds wonderful! I think animals bring out the best in people. Whenever I go into a business that has a pet in it I am thrilled. Krings Interiors has their dog in the store and I love to see him.

CanadianPassport 12 years ago

You gotta love the miniature lion in Sunflower Outdoor

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years ago

"three layers of asphalt and brick"

Are those "Lawrence Kansas" bricks?

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