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Pets In The Workplace

Visit some offices and shops in Indian River County and you’ll be met by dogs, cats, cockatoos, turtles, toads and frogs – and even geckos.

Tripper sits dutifully deskside with her pet parent, Publishers Alliance Corporation Vice President France Kenyon.

Tripper sits dutifully deskside with her pet parent, Publishers Alliance Corporation Vice President France Kenyon.

A surprising number of mom-and-pop employers bring their pets to work, believing they add warmth and interest to the establishment while soothing the nerves of customers and staff. The size and temperaments of work-place pets range from diminutive and docile to thigh-high and bounding. A posted warning at Central Window on U.S. Highway 1, for instance, preps customers for an affectionate assault by Chloe the “attack cat.” The Jewelry Studio on Highway A1A features a flirty, sulfur-crested cockatoo named Adonis with a weakness for blondes. At Publishers Alliance Corporation on Beachland Boulevard, a people-friendly German shepherd called Tripper insists on giving everyone a good sniff. Aquatic frogs Bonnie and Clyde lethargically work the front desk at Dr. Charles Fischman’s office, near the hospital, in a tank where Chinese fighting fish once swam.

Work-site pets, at minimum, are hugely entertaining. The handsome and ever-charming Adonis spends much of his day saying “hi” to customers (“hi buddy,” if you’re male), reports Deanne Frohlich, owner of the Jewelry Studio and the bird. Other than during one hour of designated afternoon play time, when Frohlich allows Adonis to flit about the store, the bird mostly sits in gentlemanly fashion on his open perch behind the counter. But Adonis will shamelessly profess “I love you” or “How you doing, baby?” whenever he’s in the mood for a little extra female attention.

Adonis gets downright starry-eyed when he’s around 8- to 12-year-old blondes, says Frohlich. “He likes their high-pitched voices and the fact that they’re small. He laughs along with them, like he’s one of the crowd. Men get more of a cold shoulder.”

Read the entire article in the September/October 2011 issue