Wagging tails all in a day’s work at Paws Aboard

molly Pool PupTOWN ‘N COUNTRY — The co-workers at Paws Aboard have some particular demands. They need regular walks and bathroom breaks. Their break room lunches are usually taken on the floor. And they’ve been known to bark at one another on occasion … at least the four-legged workers.

More than half of the staff members that occupy the office at Paws Aboard are dogs. Founder Amber McCrocklin makes it a point to bring her pups to work every day and the rest of her staff does the same.

“We don’t just do it because it’s fun to have your dog at work, we actually use the dogs to test the products,” she said.

McCrocklin started Paws Aboard in October 2003 when she had trouble getting her now 9-year-old golden retriever Bo in and out of her boat. So she invented a doggy boat ladder and began her business. She eventually expanded to a whole line of dog products including dog life vests and retractable dual-dog leashes.

She opened an office in a warehouse in Tampa and made sure there was plenty of space for the four-legged creatures.

On a typical day, visitors will find a half-dozen dogs walking around the facility. They range in size from a small Maltese to a large Labrador. McCrocklin said she likes to have the variety in the office because they can test a range of products.

“For example, we can test our vests, which run from the extra-small to the very large dog,” she said.

McCrocklin said the dogs play an important role when choosing products. They recently got some new product samples for doggy chew toys. The staff turned to their furry workers to test the items and immediately found that one dog chewed right through the material.

“I immediately knew that item was out, no question about it,” McCrocklin said.

The human staff said they also like having their pets around.

“I’ve become very spoiled,” said Cory Day, director of operations. “It’s nice that I don’t have to worry about my pet while I’m away at work all day. I’ve worked here six years and I can’t imagine having to work at a job without my dog.”

McCrocklin said the pooch perk has kept down her turnover.

Staff members admit the dogs can act like divas. Visitors can prompt them to fight for attention, sniff out strangers and flip over for belly rubs.

McCrocklin said when she interviews new employees their dogs must pass the interview to determine if they are compatible with the other dogs. But even these white collared dogs have been known to growl and whimper from time to time.

But McCrocklin insists their all bark and no bite during office hours.

For information about the company, visit www.pawsaboard.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/news/northwest/2011/nov/16/wagging-tails-all-in-a-days-work-ar-325079/

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