Lee Birchall spills the beans on our favourite furry friend
Meet Alfie. He is a five-year-old Border terrier. He was born in Stow, he likes sniffing things at great length, chasing squirrels and playing ‘two ball’ – an elaborate throwing and catching game. He is also the seventh member of the Hot Tin Roof team.
Alfie makes the daily commute on foot and happily pads round the office, mixing things up with a nap in one of his favourite spots. He contributes to office life in his own little way but can occasionally be a nuisance. If you are thinking of getting a pet at work here’s our guide to the pros and cons of having a pedigree chum in your office
Icebreaker – pro
Alfie is incredibly friendly and is always first to the door to meet our clients. The chat flows. What’s his name? What sort of dog is he? How old is he? By the time we’ve made it to the boardroom we are on first name terms, have established animal preferences and have a potted history of our attendees pet history. Alfie sometimes attends meetings but often prefers to guard the door, waiting for our director, Sarah, to come out so he can greet her all over again. While we always check at the outset that our guests are comfortable with dogs, we usually find he’s a hit. One lady even ended up with her own Border Terrier pup a day after coming to a meeting!
The one who smelt it… – con
If you make the decision to have a dog in the office you have to accept certain canine habits, including (whisper it…) flatulence. A look of embarrassment and resignation on the face of our favourite chap will usually be accompanied by an exclamation of ‘Oh Alfie!’ from one of the team, alerting everyone to his faux pas. To his credit, he will usually slink off to an empty meeting room or sit by the stairs until the situation has passed.
Not while I’m on the phone – borderline
The nature of PR means that we spend a lot of time on the phone. Selling in stories, speaking to clients and so on. Whilst he is generally a quiet dog, he finds it hard to hold back his excitement when one of his favourites comes through the door. He unleashes his full range of barks, whimpers and whines – an impressive canine cacophony – and will only stop once he has received the correct amount of attention. To ensure this doesn’t interrupt important calls we have developed an almost foolproof system of banishing him to the other side of the glass doors until the conversation finishes. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
Canine capers – pro
Alfie’s amusing behaviour is the perfect remedy for a stressful day. From taking his life in his hands with a snooze between the spokes of an occupied office chair to savaging and shaking his towel whilst darting around the office, he often makes us laugh. He has a habit of sleeping in strange places, and recently has found a cosy home between one of the filing cabinets and the radiator. He’s also partial to sitting on our director’s knees while she works – even better than an electric blanket on chilly winter days.
So while there may be the odd drawback to having an office dog, on balance we think that Alfie fits in just fine with the cats at Hot Tin Roof. Perhaps a promotion is in order!