Sunday, July 31, 2016

PawsGo to Work-- Every Day Should be Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Tessie Goes to Work

I am lucky enough to work for an organization that allows dogs in the office. They encourage it, actually. As a newcomer to both the office and this doggy parenting stuff, I wouldn’t have even considered bringing Tessie to work. But by popular demand, I brought her with me about three weeks after she trotted into my life.

She did great at the office, but I did not. At this point, we were still getting to know each other and I was worried she was going to take off like she had from our house two weeks prior. To allay this fear, I hooked her leash under my desk leg, giving her plenty of room to move around my office cube.

As I typed away, I wasn’t aware she was silently chewing her leash, almost severing it completely. Obviously she didn’t love being tethered to my desk, and I was a nervous wreck letting her run loose in the office. The whole thing was too stressful, so I decided to hold off on Tessie’s work visits for a while.

Tessie on break
Fast forward to July. She’d been with us for five months and the hot summer weather forced my hand. But by now we had bonded, she hadn’t bolted, life was good. I was going to give the “bring your dog to work day” another go.

To my relief, it went great – for both of us. Tessie was excited, sniffed around a bit, but ultimately she settled nicely right next to me. Unless I had to get up to go to the printer, in which case she needed to escort me every single time. Coworkers oohed and ahhed over her, enjoying the new doggie in the office. This time around, I had faith the office door would stay closed, but also that Tessie wouldn’t take off if it didn’t.

Taking Tessie to the office has also allowed her to socialize with other dogs. Enjoying the company of fellow pups hasn’t been her strong suit, to say the least. We’ve been working on it, and meeting Ollie, my co-worker’s adorably fluffy Australian Shepherd-Bichon mix, proved she was making progress. Tessie was skeptical at first, as she is with most dogs, people and things, but she and Ollie co-existed nicely in the office, one would even call them friends. I was a proud momma.
Tessie and her work friend Ollie

This experience has me thinking about the concept of bringing a dog to work and why companies allow it. According to research by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, about 20 percent of all U.S. companies allow employees to bring their pets, mostly dogs, to the workplace. I was surprised this number is so high. I always felt pets were a distraction – an adorable one, of course – but one nonetheless. Weren’t we at work to do, well, work?

 Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 found that employees who were around dogs in the workplace reported feeling less stressed than employees who have dogs but left them at home. The same study also found that pets triggered workplace interactions that would not normally take place. Tessie is proof – several of my coworkers who wouldn’t typically stop by my desk swing by to say hello to my pooch.

Bringing her to work, even if it is once or twice a week, has definitely brought me closer to my coworkers. I’d almost feel left out if I didn’t have her! Her sweet face brings smiles and melts away stress, if only for the moment. I didn’t know I would enjoy having her in the office so much, which could also be said for having her in my life.

Maria Poulos Pimentel is a New Jersey transplant now settled in New England.   Maria works in marketing and publicity by day and snuggles with her sweet collie/shepherd/husky Tessie by night. She was a reluctant dog owner at first, but she's quickly learning the ropes and discovering all the joys of doggie parenting. Maria will be sharing more of her adventures in dog love with PawsGo.
 Do your PawsGo to work with you?  Tell us your story!!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Virginia is for DOG Lovers

PawsGo to the Dog-Friendly Williamsburg Farmers' Market

One of the greatest things about having a dog is – they are always up for an adventure.  Whether you’re going on a hike or exploring an historic landmark, they are always game!
My sister and I recently joined her 14 year old Shiba Inu, Akira, for a morning adventure at the farmers' market in Williamsburg, Virginia. 


As we drove into Colonial Williamsburg, Akria knew something exciting was about to happen.  Tree lined roads gave way to a colonial thoroughfare – Duke of Gloucester Street, or DoG Street, as the locals call it.

The Williamsburg Farmers' Market is located on DoG Street in Merchants Square and is bustling on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
The market was opened in 2002 – 303 years after the City of Williamsburg was founded as the Capitol of the Virginia Colony (1699 if you don’t feel like doing the math).
In addition to lots of dogs –the market features locally grown and sourced items ranging from fruits and vegetables to seafood and of course dog treats! 

Live music and delicious baked goods make it a great place for a Saturday morning snack or breakfast.

Feel like hanging around for lunch?  Lining Merchants Square are plenty of dog-friendly shops and restaurants, including the DoG Street Pub, with its adjacent dog-friendly tasting room, that’s right, your dog can join you while you’re tasting locally crafted beer.
Merchants Square is surrounded by the sites of Colonial Williamsburg, which provides a beautiful and historic walk for you and your dog. 


Want more information about Williamsburg, Virginia?  Go to
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Friday, July 1, 2016

A Husband and Wife Honor Their Beloved Dog by Saving Others

From No Place to Odie’s Place

On a sunny afternoon in early June, Kerrie and Brian Harrington are headed to court. Not for an offense, but to help unveil portraits of nine dogs they have helped save through their rescue, Odie’s Place. In addition to students’ artwork, Odie’s Place alumnae now adorn the halls of their local Probate and Family Court, a shining example of how two people really can make a difference.

 To say Kerrie and Brian are dedicated and passionate would be an understatement. The husband and wife team have made rescuing dogs their life’s work after losing their beloved dog, Otis, who they nicknamed Odie.
Odie, his humans have honored him by saving others
“We experienced so much love and fulfillment with Odie and of course all our furbabies, that we want any animal we come across to have a high quality of life and to enrich their human’s life as well,” said Kerrie. “When Brian and I had enough hands-on experience from a local shelter, we felt we were ready to do it our own way.”

Since its inception in 2014, the no-kill shelter has saved 60 dogs, finding forever homes for dogs who literally have no other place to go. Based in Southcoast, Massachusetts, the rescue has yet to secure a physical building, so they rely on a network of fosters until they find the right home – and they do find the right home. They have a sixth sense for finding a compatible match, zeroing in on personality and habits to assure the best fit for both owner and pup.

 One of the ways they reach potential adopters is through adorable, compelling and informative posts and videos on social media. They’ve drummed over 9,000 ‘likes’ on the rescue's Facebook page, a robust YouTube channel, even a presence on radio and local television. It’s also a great way for Odie’s Place to keep up with the dogs they’ve placed. “The most fulfilling thing is seeing an unwanted dog thriving in his or her forever home,” said Kerrie. “Seeing a dog who came to us matted, with tumors, never knowing love and being in their new home clean, fed, loved, spoiled makes us giddy! All the hard work from everyone –us, our veterinarians, fosters, adopters, volunteers, trainers, donors, supporters – has paid off.”

And it does take a village. One of the dogs currently available for adoption is Chloe, an 8-year-old Yorkie. She was rescued by Odie’s Place after beating cancer, but while waiting for her forever home, her foster mother discovered another tumor. 
Chole, who can resist that face?
“Chloe just underwent tumor removal surgery by our incredible veterinarian’s office and the biopsy result is clean,” said Brian. Now cancer free, Chloe is on the road to finding her forever home. “This is Chloe’s third chance at life!” said Brian. “We are looking forward to her getting adopted, spoiled and treated like a baby.”

Of course there are challenges, the most obvious being that it’s impossible to save every cat and dog. Lack of funding, physical location and fosters prevents them from saving more innocent lives. “The pit bull breeds have the highest kill rates in shelters, so naturally we would like to save more of them,” said Kerrie. Plus, some landlords and home insurances discriminate against certain breeds, like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Akitas and Rottweilers, which prevent them from being placed in a loving home.

 She also points out the number-one mistake people make with their dogs is to give up on them. “We live in a society where disposing dogs is acceptable. When you combine knowledge, hope and love you can teach your dog what they are supposed to do.”

 “The most surprising thing to both Brian and me is the ignorance or lack of empathy of humans in regards to cats and dogs in facilities,” she said. “Thousands of cats and dogs are killed in our country everyday. Yet, there are people who still go to a breeder instead of adopting. When you adopt you are saving lives!”

 If you want to learn more about Odie’s Place, become a foster or donate to help with adoption costs and medical bills (like Chloe’s surgery), please visit .

Maria Poulos Pimentel is a New Jersey transplant now settled in New England.   Maria works in marketing and publicity by day and snuggles with her sweet collie/shepherd/husky Tessie by night. She was a reluctant dog owner at first, but she's quickly learning the ropes and discovering all the joys of doggie parenting. Maria will be sharing more of her adventures in dog love with PawsGo.

 Tessie was adopted through Odie’s Place, a small privately run animal rescue program in Massachusetts.

Do you have a story about an individual or organization that's making a difference for animals?  Share it with PawsGo!  Leave us a comment!  We’ll follow up!