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Rescue Dog ‘Trust’ Lives Up To Her Name And Wins Top Honour At National Top Office Dog Competition

From a pack of more than 400 dogs, Trust, a cattle-cross from Auckland has been crowned New Zealand’s ‘Top Office Dog’, with Rosie the Labradoodle from Palmerston North taking out the ‘Top Dog with a Job’ award and Hippo the miniature Schnauzer from Rotorua winning People’s Choice. A new category for 2021, Top Dog-Friendly Workplace, was taken out by medical clinics Healthvision.

Trust “works” as a Wellbeing Officer at Family Works Waitemata in Auckland.

Her owner and team leader for Social Worker in Schools, Phoenix Llewellyn says because of Trust’s “beautiful soul and loving nature”, she has been given the special job at work.

“Trust has melted the hearts of my workmates, with one of the team making her a badge befitting her new title of Wellbeing Officer. And that’s exactly what she is. People take turns giving and getting cuddles from her, and someone from another site even wanted to book an appointment to spend time her. She is very therapeutic and good for your soul.”

The Top Office Dog competition was established in 2015 by Frog Recruitment, after research highlighted the impressive impact a four-legged friend can have in the workplace

“It is well proven that dogs at work improve employee mental health, and many owners say their dog is a key reason to want to work from home. Dogs in the office or home office help their owners and colleagues by bringing positive benefits including improving morale, reducing absenteeism and stress-related illnesses, and helping to improve employees’ mental health,” says Frog Recruitment managing director Shannon Barlow.

The winning pooches were selected from a lineup of more than 400 canine colleagues from Kerikeri to Invercargill, and judged by a panel including Petstock, TV weatherman and dog lover Matty McLean and animal behaviourist, Mark Vette.

Mark says the judges were looking for those dogs who significantly contribute to the wellbeing, happiness and productivity of the workplace and also dogs who have been well prepared to fit into the workplace - in particularly socialising them to positively interact with workers, and putting in place the tools and techniques to have a dog safely in the workplace.

“The Frog Recruitment Top Office Dog competition is a great idea for so many reasons,” says Mark.

“Current science clearly demonstrates that having dogs in our lives improves our mental, heart health and physical health in many different ways. Most importantly oxycontin - the love hormone - is activated in the dog and the people around them including the workplace - that has to be a good thing in our world.”

Trust was adopted by Phoenix not long after the family lost their almost-15 year old girl, Gidget, to cancer.

“Trust helped us heal from our loss, and gave us somewhere for our love to go, after the heartbreak of losing Gidget. We helped her heal too, as we found out the limp she had when we got her was actually a fractured elbow. With treatment it healed, and even though she is left with a long-term injury, she doesn't let it stop her making friends - human and doggie alike!

“We think she is the most awesome dog, and we believe she found us, not the other way around. We love our Trusty girl!”

Palmerston North’s Rosie, the winner of ‘Top Dog with a Job’ also caught the judges’ attention. Rosie is a therapy dog from Therapy Dogs NZ and owner Abi says she has “gifted me hope, faith and perseverance.”

Abi is autistic and has sensory processing and obsessive-compulsive disorders. She says with Rosie at her side, she is able to function better and is now an advocate for neurodiversity and works in the disability sector as a peer facilitator.

“Rosie is the main attraction at work,” she says. “She is also trained to help me by alerting me to the fact I might be having an episode, helping me overcome sensory overload and can find help if I need it. She helps me overcome obstacles and by helping me, I’m able to help lots of young adults with disabilities. She’s my superhero.”

According to his owner Matthew Christensen, People’s Choice winner Hippo is a top home and office executive, supervising his every move and running security. He’s a favourite at the Prince’s Gate Hotel in Rotorua where he ‘works’. “Hippo loves everyone. He stops traffic on a daily basis for photos and brings smiles and fun to the neighbourhood. We call him the chief social director of fun!”

Top Dog-Friendly Workplace winner Healthvision has five ‘PAWfessionals’ – Ruby, Eddie, Moshie, Howie and Milly. Healthvision’s Debra Williams says that during time of heightened stress, such as the Covid lockdowns, having dogs in the workplace provides a much needed distraction for staff and brings a sense of calm.

“Our Healthvision health heroes - nurses, support workers, carers, and health professionals - continued during lockdown to work 24/7 to provide care for clients in the community. Our team of five tail-waggers frequent our Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Palmerston North offices on FUR-idays. They are all bow-wow besties and have as much fun together as the staff do with them.

“Everyone is bound to have a tough day particularly when working in healthcare. Nothing beats a puppy cuddle when you are feeling stressed or anxious. All six offices are dog-friendly and we enjoy sharing photos, stories and doggy-tales with the wider team.

Having dogs in the office certainly benefits employee well-being and makes Healthvision a fun place to work.

Trust will receive a PetStock prize pack worth $1000, six month’s access to Mark Vette’s virtual online training school, Doggles and a bow. As Top Dogs in the pack, Trust, Rosie and Hippo prize package including a trophy they can proudly display at their ‘office’.

www.nztopdog.co.nz @frogrecruitment #nztopdog

Click here for Mark Vette’s tips for introducing dogs into your workplace.

© Scoop Media

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