Whiskers in the workplace

Pets are part of the atmosphere in some local businesses

While “Take your Dog to Work Day” is scheduled for June 26, that pet-friendly event happens almost every day — with dogs, cats and birds — in some Camas and Washougal businesses.

A few examples are listed below:

Kona

Brett Scott describes his dog, Kona, as the greeter at Washougal Lumber Co., Inc.

Kona, a 6-year-old yellow labrador retriever, can often be seen inside or outside near the front entrance.

Scott and his brother, Kevin, are the fourth generation owners of the lumber and hardware store, at 2820 “E” St.

Brett’s 19-year-old son, Ryken, also works there.

The business, which will be 100 years old in 2017, sells hammers, mailboxes, shovels and WD-40, as well as paint, plywood, metal roofing and plumbing and electrical supplies.

“Without the local support, we would not still be here,” Brett said. “We appreciate this town and these people.”

Kona’s fans include Dennis Helland, of Washougal, who brings the canine a bone and microwaves it six days a week, before enjoying coffee, and sometimes doughnuts, with the store owners.

“He’s kind of a landmark,” Brett said, regarding Kona. “He’s a crowd pleaser.”

Chris Delaney, with the City of Washougal water department, brings treats to Kona and dog sits for him when Brett is out of town.

Ryken said Kona is really smart.

“I hang out with him after work,” he said. “He’s my best friend.”

Ralph Meuler, of Washougal, has been a Washougal Lumber customer for 18 years.

“He is the welcoming committee when you enter,” he said, regarding Kona. “He’s a nice guy.”

Socket

Aaron Lutz said hardware stores have historically had cats, in order to keep mice away.

Now, however, felines such as Socket, can be lazy and they do not have to do anything.

Socket, a 6 month old male rescue cat from Longview, joined the Lutz Hardware family in November 2014. He was named by a teenager, who received $50 in cash, in a contest.

Socket, a Russian Blue mix, is gaining fans and admirers, much in the same way that his predecessor, Coaster, did, at 505 N.E. Fourth Ave, Camas.

A flyer, posted by his favorite sandpaper near a copy machine, mentions that “Coaster the Great” died in August 2014, after being a regular member of the Lutz Hardware family for more than 14 years.

Coaster was a former homeless kitten that was found by a Lutz employee in Camas.

Aaron said it can be challenging to get Socket to the store on some mornings. The cat likes to go outside and play “keep away” or “fetch” first.

“He sits on my newspaper while I eat breakfast,” Aaron said.

A photo of Socket is included along with employees in the Lutz Hardware store ads.

“People tolerate me, but they love my cat,” Aaron said.

Socket can often be seen following General Manager Jeremy “Sho” Shojinaga around.

That includes attempting to grab a phone cord while Sho answers calls.

Aaron said Socket likes to sleep in the store and play with zip ties, which are made to tie cables and signs on cyclone fences.

“He’s the perfect cat for a hardware store,” he said.

Socket also likes to play with crushed up receipt paper.

“They add a lot of character to stores,” Shojinaga said regarding pets in the workplace.

The store, opened by Aaron’s grandparents, George and Cassie Lutz, in 1950, carries paint, plumbing and electrical supplies, lawn and garden equipment, hardware and housewares.

Charlie

A 3-year-old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel has added a warmth and friendliness to the atmosphere at Camas Hotel, according to Karen Hall, one of the hotel’s owners.

“A few minutes of play time with Charlie makes work less stressful, and more fun for most of our staff,” she said.

Hall said Charlie is an ideal workplace dog, especially for a hotel, because he is easygoing and good natured.

“He loves everyone,” she said. “When someone is feeling down, he seems to know and tries to comfort them. We firmly believe that pets are therapeutic.”

When Charlie was a puppy, he needed more play time and attention.

“Now the only challenge is that we need to be sure to make time for his two walks per day, and we have to plan on sharing whatever we order for lunch,” Hall said.

Some of the hotel’s guests bring treats for Charlie.

Hall and her husband, Tom, purchased the Camas Hotel, 405 N.E. Fourth Ave., in 2008.

“We have some pet friendly rooms, and we welcome well-trained clean pets,” Hall said. “Not all dogs know how to handle themselves with the public.

“A good natured dog and a little training will help most dogs adapt to the workplace, and they and their human pack will be happier and healthier for it,” she added.

Farrell and Eddy

Two zebra finches have made Camas Antiques their home.

Farrell, a female, and Eddy, a male, can often be seen nesting.

They were named by a customer in honor of the store that used to be located at 305 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas. That customer won a $25 gift card to Camas Antiques.

Farrell has laid three eggs, which are expected to hatch by the end of this month.

“We consider them to be our pets,” said Clark Crawford, store manager. “People usually like them. We have received a lot of compliments.

“They have a nice, little song,” he added.

The store’s owner, JoAnn Taylor, purchased the birdcage in Atlanta, and she bought the finches with orange beaks at PetSmart in east Vancouver.

The birdcage, with the birds included, is available to purchase for $495.

Crawford spent part of his childhood raising pigeons, and he took care of doves as an adult.

He said people often visit Camas Antiques, saying they heard the store has birds.

One of the store’s dealers has two beta fish on display that are available to purchase.

“This could turn into a pet store,” Crawford joked.

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