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Dogs in the Office: Little Gold Studios

Little Gold Studios in Brunswick, Melbourne is the perfect coworking space for designers, makers, craftspeople, artisans, and creative small businesses of all types. Housed in an old sewing factory this small inspiring community of 10 businesses includes Ask Alice Stationery, Carla Hackett Lettering, Retro Print Revival, Saint Gertrude Letterpress … and one extra addition to their space that makes it irresistible to us dog-lovers — they have a resident office dog called Diesel!

We have discussed here on Puppy Tales many times the benefits of having dogs in the workplace and so today we wanted to ask Sass Cocker the founder of Little Gold Studios and Ask Alice a bit about Diesel and why she wanted a workspace that would also welcome him.

The Interview

1. Tell us a little about your dog Diesel?

Diesel is a little legend. My boyfriend and I found him at Staffy Rescue 5 years ago. He’d been surrendered by his previous owner and at that time was 4 years old and very timid. It took Diesel a good few months to relax and come out of his shell and a whole year passed before we finally heard him let out a small bark. Nowadays he is a happy, relaxed and vocal boy who loves being around people and hanging out at the studio. He loves cuddles, pats, eating, howling, roasting himself by the heater and chasing birds in the park.

Diesel the office dog at Little Gold StudiosDiesel relaxing on the lounge.

2. How does Diesel fit in at Little Gold Studios?

Diesel is a very important part of Little Gold Studios, bringing us good company, entertainment and lots of laughs! He generally comes to work Monday to Friday and is missed if he takes a day off. Diesel loves studio life, he is mates with all the studio members and is happiest when we have a full house. He excitedly greets everyone at the door and would make an excellent doorman if only he could master the door knob.

3. Do you have a special setup in the studio for Diesel to sleep, eat and drink?

Nothing too special. He has a bed under my workbench and a water bowl in the kitchen. He does like his bed but he also likes sunning himself in the courtyard and moving from desk to desk where he receives pats and treats. I’ve also spotted him hanging out on his own in the kids’ cubby house, on the couch in the courtyard and sometimes lying down in the loft with his head draped over the edge of the loft floor so he can oversee everyone at work and make sure everything is in order.

Diesel the office dog at Little Gold StudiosDiesel on his office bed.

4. What would you say the benefits are for Diesel, yourself and your coworkers when he is in the office?

Diesel brings something very special to the studio. The space feels incomplete without him and he does a wonderful job of making us feel loved by sharing his affection with anyone who’ll take it. Diesel is a typical Staffy in that he gets pretty sad when he’s left at home on his own, so coming to the studio everyday keeps both him and the humans in good spirits.

5. In 2013 your business Ask Alice Stationery donated all of the funds from your annual charity calendar to the Dog Rehabilitation Program. Are you a strong advocate of the benefits dogs can bring to all members of our community?

Definitely. I grew up with dogs, lots of dogs! I have experienced first hand the benefits of having a dog by your side and am so impressed by the work that is taking place in that particular dog program. The program is run by the RSPCA at the John Morony prison in NSW. The program takes shelter dogs who are considered unsuitable for rehoming to the prison and gives participating inmates the opportunity to work with the dogs, rehabilitate the dogs and help the dogs reach a point where they are ready for rehoming. Whilst the program appears to be all about the dogs, it is equally as beneficial to the inmates, giving them a positive environment to work in, teaching them about working with animals and leaves them with qualifications that can lead to employment opportunities on their release. Staff members who run the program witness a positive change in participating inmates. The dogs give the inmates an excuse to let their guard down, smile and share love and affection.

Diesel the office dog at Little Gold StudiosDiesel with his toddler friend Hazel.

6. Have you ever run into any issues with Diesel being at the studio?

Nothing major. We sometimes have bees and wasps in the courtyard and last year Diesel ate a wasp. It stung him several times in his throat and caused him all sorts of respiratory problems for 48 hours. He also pinched a bag of macadamia nuts from my desk once which required another trip to the vet and he has been known to very gently and carefully remove carrot sticks and tiny teddies from the hands of the studio toddlers.

Diesel the office dog at Little Gold StudiosDiesel, the handsome Staffy!

7.What would be your top three tips for anyone else wanting to bring their dog to work?

1. Do it! Do it now!
2. Set up some rules right from the start and stick to them. Pop a dog bed or mat close to your desk and get the dog into the habit of going to the bed on command. If the dog starts to pick up any bad habits, you can try and break the habit by sending the dog to their bed. Diesel has to stay on his bed when the mailman comes because he was starting to copy the neighbour’s dog by barking each day as the mailman approached. Now he stays on his bed everyday as the mail is delivered and has downgraded his barks to a concerned groan.
3. If your pup turns out to be a bit of a terror in your workspace, don’t give up. Do a bit of doggy proofing, watch some episodes of Cesar Milan and pay a trainer to come to your work. Be consistent and patient with your training and you will get there in the end. Your dog will thank you and all your hard work will pay off over years to come.

Diesel the office dog at Little Gold StudiosDiesel, hard at work.

We would just like to thank Sass and Diesel for the fantastic interview and photographs. Sass’s business as mentioned is called Ask Alice and you can visit her website and check out her beautiful stationery! To finish we thought we would include a video of the Little Gold Space taken for the upcoming Spaces by Frankie Magazine. While, unfortunately, Diesel does not feature in the video, Sass does and it gives you a lovely feel for the studio space.

from frankie magazine on Vimeo.

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