A Pet-Friendly Auto Salon

dog with owner in shop

When you think about pets at work, you might picture a cat snoozing in a cubicle or a dog playing in an office building's courtyard. But all kinds of workplaces are becoming pet-friendly-- not just laid-back offices. That's why, when we held our 2012 Pets at Work contest, we loved the story of contest finalist NorthWest Auto Salon, based in Washington. Their story shows how pets can be incorporated into a workplace where the work is hands-on, detail-oriented and customer driven. We caught up with them to learn how they make it work.

It’s All About the Bond

"Although it is an automotive-based business and we are moving cars around all day every day, the dogs have the run of the shop," co-owner Ben Abrams explains. But that hasn't been an issue so far. The dogs have been trained to steer clear of the cars, and for the most part they do. Part of the reason why the dogs are so well-behaved is because they're so bonded with their owners.

He believes seeing the bond between these dogs and their owners is good for morale. "It just leaves you with a sense of 'This guy’s got his buddy out here' and it makes you feel good about knowing that neither one is missing the other while they’re at work."

So how do they get all of their car detailing work done while still finding time to keep their dogs safe and occupied? They shared their secrets to success with us.

Making Your (Non-Office) Workplace Pet-Friendly:

  • Dog gates are a must. For auto salons or hair salons or any workplace where people are hands-on all day, gates help keep dogs from wandering into unsafe places. That means employees can concentrate on their work without dropping everything to chase after a dog.
  • Large offices likely have a site services staff to take care of cleanup, but smaller workplaces might not have the same resources. Consider hiring a service dedicated to cleaning up dog waste. This will help prevent any debates over whose dog made which mess.
  • Avoid letting customers bring in their dogs. This might be tempting for them once they see your workplace’s dogs, but new dogs might push things over the edge. You don’t want to drop what you’re doing to break up a loud play session when you’re in deep concentration and working with a lot of materials.
  • To prevent dogs from fighting over food, encourage people to feed their dogs at home, or in a break room.

We hope those tips helped people who don’t work the 9-5 office life get inspired to make their workplaces pet-friendly.