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Sure, it's 'Bring Your Dog to Work Day,' but should you?

It may be national "Take Your Dog to Work Day" today, but for Aaron Baker, every day is a dog at work day.

Baker, owner of Baker’s Painting, Body and Glass shop in Merced, brings his dog, Sassy, to his shop almost every day. Baker has had the chocolate Labrador retriever for five years, and Sassy has proven to be a good "work" dog.

Today is the 10th anniversary of "Take Your Dog to Work Day." It was started by Pet Sitters International, and has been embraced by thousands of employers, including big ones like Smith and Hawken, Amazon and Google.

But not every dog should be taken to work today, even though across the country, thousands of pets will accompany their owners to the workplace.

Baker said that Sassy is an easygoing, happy dog that loves to greet customers. And Baker has been bringing her to work since she was a puppy.

"My employees are OK with Sassy, and she’s good with customers," Baker said. But sometimes Sassy can be annoying because she is so outgoing.

"She’ll lick you to death before she’d bite," Baker said.

For those people who want to bring their dog to work today, Baker has some advice.

"I’d make sure that it’s safe for the dog, and that the other employees are comfortable with the dog," he said.Cindy Norviel, owner of Head To Tail, a Merced dog-grooming business, also brings her dog to work. Sadie, a Labrador and golden retriever mix, is more than just a companion to Norviel.

"She is security for me, she alerts me when customers are coming in," Norviel said.

The groomer said that people who are going to bring their dogs with them to work should make sure that the dog is friendly and gets along with other dogs. Dogs should also be taken outside for bathroom breaks, and water should be available for the dogs, especially if the workplace is warm.

Bringing a calm, happy dog to work is a nice idea, if it is allowed by the company. For those dog owners who can’t bring their pet with them, there are alternatives that will help keep the dog happy.

Brandi Warner, who heads up the play care area at University Pet Resort in Merced, brings her two dogs, Dolly and Lolobell, with her almost every day. The Yosemite Avenue business specializes in boarding animals, and has a special place for dogs who are staying just for the day.

"It’s just like day care for kids," Warner said. "Owners drop the dogs off in the morning, and pick them up at night."

And like a day care, they offer more than just a kennel. There are grass play areas, doggy pools and other friendly dogs to play with. The dogs get playtime, and then are put in a kennel for nap time, before going back out to play again.

"We have people who say that their dogs can tell when they are coming out here, they get so excited," Warner said.It’s not just the dogs who have a good time when they accompany their owners to work.

Norviel said that Sadie is a good companion and a great greeting dog.

"It’s fun to watch her, it’s almost like entertainment," Norviel said.

Warner said her dogs also enjoy the workplace, and she doesn’t need to worry about them being home alone. "They get lots of attention and lots of exercise here with me," she said.

Baker said that bringing Sassy to work has become a routine for both him and the dog.

"She loves people, and if she’s home by herself, it doesn’t work for her. She needs something to do," he said.

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