New Zealand’s top office dogs crowned
Meet Jagger, a very good boy and now officially New Zealand’s top office dog.
Three Auckland dogs have been named the country’s best workplace canine companions, in a year in which four-legged friends were credited with saving some workers’ sanity.
The annual Top Office Dog, run by Frog Recruitment, chose three winners from a pack of more than 240 dogs.
Jagger, a rescue dog who “works” at Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rehoming in Birkdale, was crowned top office dog.
The results were announced in a Zoom call attended by almost 50 dogs.
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“Jagger is a vital member of staff; a foster brother to shut-down, neglected and abused dogs that arrive at the rescue centre,” Frog Recruitment managing director Shannon Barlow said.
“He is calm, patient and very tolerant even when they are growling him because they don’t know better. He lies with them and helps them understand that they are OK now and there’s nothing to fear. His understanding of what these dogs need is like nothing we’ve ever seen, and his job in this rescue, although difficult, is something he loves to do.”
Wren, a working mobility dog and companion for his owner, was named “top dog with a job”.
“Wren’s owner Claudia is permanently in a wheelchair and in 2018, during her last year of high school, she was paired with Wren. Wren helps her physically, such as picking things up, opening doors, pressing the ‘walk’ button, barking on command when she needs help, and more,” Barlow said.
Mino, an Auckland apartment-dwelling chihuahua maltese toy poodle cross, who has his own Instagram account and “works” at home, was people’s choice.
Mino’s owner said she got Mino after the first lockdown, when she went through a three-week stand down with her employer, Air New Zealand.
“It was a really tough time and during March and April, my mental health was badly affected. Getting Mino really helped my stress levels during that time and I felt more energised having him around me. Then Air New Zealand restructured and I was able to secure a two-day-a-week position working from home with Mino by my side. I think he was my lucky charm! He is fantastic support and the sweetest boy.”
Barlow said research had shown that having dogs at work improved employees’ mental health.
“When workers were forced to work from home through the Covid-19 lockdown, adapting to an ever-changing work environment was stressful. Our research found a sharp rise in employee burnout, with more than 64 per cent feeling more burnt out at work than they did prior to the lockdown. But there is much research to highlight the impressive impact a four-legged friend can have on workplace wellbeing – and more recently, on the mental health of the WFH workforce.
“Dogs in the office or home office help their owners and colleagues by bringing benefits including improving morale, reducing absenteeism and stress-related illnesses, and helping to improve employees’ mental health.”