Is this Carlisle’s most dog-friendly business?

A solicitors’ firm certainly think their offices are the city’s most canine-crazy - in the nicest possible way.

Visitors to Wragg Mark-Bell’s Castle Street offices can easily see that everyone who works there is dog daft.

And a whistle-stop tour around the building would appear to confirm it.

The company is among a growing number of workplaces where staff are welcomed in bringing their pets with them as bosses work to create more relaxed environments and help colleagues strike the best possible work-life balance.

At Wragg Mark-Bell, wander into senior partner Nick Kennon’s office and you are greeted by Fern, a placid 13-year-old Irish wolfhound-greyhound cross and Benji, a dog rescued from Cyprus.

Step into the office next door and you’ll probably be followed by Fern and find leading criminal solicitor Sara Budniak sorting through paperwork with her little dog Rocco on her lap.

Moving into the conveyancing department, two King Charles Spaniel puppies are playing under a desk and downstairs in accounts Jack Russell Lara looks like she is going to embark on some typing.

In fact, the 19 staff at Wragg Mark-Bell have 17 dogs between them - although  they do not all come into work at the same time - and staff who do not have dogs might borrow one a walk at lunchtime.

Mr Kennon believes that having dogs around the business makes his team’s offices a friendlier place to work.

He said: “I started bringing dogs into the office on the odd occasion out of necessity


“But I found that on the days I did bring them in it improved spirits and morale, making everyone relax a bit.

“We generally have around four dogs in the building at once. Fern likes to wander around the place spreading a bit of cheer and happiness and it makes it a more informal, friendly place to be.”

Head of conveyancing Laura Urquart is delighted that she can bring her four-month-old puppy Willow in every day.

“I wouldn’t be able to have a dog if I couldn’t bring Willow in as there’s nobody at home to look after him,” she said.

“He enjoys being here and I take him out every lunchtime. Having the dogs around makes it feel more we’re a family.”

Ms Budniak has enjoyed bringing Rocco into work since getting the pug Italian greyhound cross from the Oak Tree Animal Refuge, at Wetheral, in October.

“Rocco is my first dog so it has been a big help bringing him into work and having dogs here certainly helps people destress - they’re very entertaining,” she said.

Bringing dogs into the workplace is a rapidly growing in popularity across the UK.

That’s not least because of the positive impact behavioural and workplace experts perceive them to have on staff health and wellbeing.

Studies have shown that 43 per cent of employees would like to see pets allowed in the office.

Of them, 39 per cent believe having their pets with them would increase their productivity - and 50 per cent believed it would increase happiness at work.

Supporters also believe that having pets at work could make ownership easier - meaning people don’t have to worry about running home to let their dogs out, taking pressure off work time too.

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