Farmington HillsJune 27, 2012
Who let the dogs out? Village Green
By David Wallace
C & G Staff Writer
As many at the Village Green Cos. corporate office on Northwestern Highway wrapped up a busy workweek June 22, they found time to bring their four-legged friends to work for a good cause.
For 14 years, Pet Sitters International has set aside one day each year as Take Your Dog to Work Day, and for 12 years, Village Green has taken part. Software support specialist Christine Eluskie is the driving force at Village Green, because for many years she has worked with the Animal Placement Bureau in Lansing to foster dogs who need homes. She adopted the first dog she ever fostered, Chloe, a 9-year-old American pit bull terrier.
Take Your Dog to Work Day at Village Green goes a long way toward supporting the small rescue. Dog owners paid a minimum $25 each to take their dogs to work with them, and Eluskie solicited donations for a one-day online auction that this year had 170 items up for bid. The event requires a lot of organization.
“It’s stressful, and I don’t sleep and everything, but it ends up being really good, and it’s money that the rescue didn’t have,” Eluskie said.
In all, 36 dogs belonging to Village Green employees from the company’s various offices, including Chicago, Minneapolis and Cincinnati, participated, and the auction alone brought in more than $5,000.
The Animal Placement Bureau can pay $7,000 for veterinary bills and $1,200 for food in a month, Eluskie said, which is a lot for a small rescue group.
“It’s because we don’t turn down dogs that have huge medical needs,” said Eluskie.
At the Farmington Hills Village Green office, about 15 dogs came to work with their owners. The day had an Australian Outback theme, because Outback Steakhouse in West Bloomfield donated lunch, coupons, Frisbees and two gift certificates for the auction. All the dogs wore Outback bandanas.
In keeping with the theme, the workers had a “dingo” parade before lunch and a “kangaroo” jumping contest for the dogs toward the end of the day. Participants also attended a presentation from Suzanne Hock and her dog, Tanq, about U.S.A. Therapy Dogs.
“I don’t want to monopolize their whole day, but I do like the speaker person coming, but I do like to do some type of contest to be able to do the awards, because I know there are some people that really do like the awards too, like me,” said Eluskie.
Mike Palmer’s Boston terrier, Ellie, won the jumping contest among little dogs.
“She’s enticed by food,” said Palmer.
Chloe won the contest among medium-sized dogs. While she doesn’t care for fetch, she and Eluskie compete in rally obedience, which is an obedience sport for dogs. Having Chloe jump on command wasn’t a problem.
“If I’m doing training stuff with her, she’s good,” said Eluskie.
Claudia Czerwiec’s Siberian husky/Akita mix, Nikita, won the jumping contest among the big dogs.
“It was nice having her with me today. She’s my buddy,” said Czerwiec.
Take Your Dog to Work Day offers benefits for humans and dogs.
“It’s nice to break up the work, because sometimes work gets pretty crazy, and so yeah, it’s nice to have a fun day,” said Czerwiec.
Palmer and Ellie have participated in Take Your Dog to Work Day five times.
“She likes to play a lot, so it’s a balance (with work),” said Palmer. “It’s a good thing it’s on a Friday, and it’s nice for other employees that don’t have dogs that like to see other dogs.”
It also gives the dogs some socialization.
“It’s just a change of scenery for them,” said Eluskie.
For more about Take Your Dog to Work Day, visit www.takeyourdog.com. The Animal Placement Bureau’s website is at www.apbpets.com.
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