WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT. (MAY 29, 2013) – A Vermont-based outdoor clothing company that has embraced a pets-at-work culture as long as Nestlé Purina PetCare Company has won a nationwide contest created by Nestlé Purina to celebrate pet friendly companies across the United States.
Ibex Outdoor Clothing was selected from 138 companies that applied online for the “Purina Pets at Work Contest” in December 2012 and January 2013. Actor John O’Hurley, well known for his role as J. Peterman on the TV show “Seinfeld,” helped choose the winning entry and visited Ibex offices today to present the Grand Prize — $5,000 in pet supplies and $10,000 to a local pet shelter chosen by Ibex.
The Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society, based in nearby West Windsor, VT., was chosen by Ibex to receive the $10,000 donation.
“As I read through the finalists’ entries, it was clear that Ibex shares Purina’s passion for pets and encourages its associates to bring their pets to work every day,” said O’Hurley, who has starred on other TV and Broadway shows and serves as co-host of the National Dog Show Presented By Purina. “As a lifelong dog owner, it’s heartwarming to see companies such as Purina and Ibex that believe spending time with pets at home and at work can help make life better for pets and their owners.”
Fifteen years ago, Nestlé Purina recognized the benefits of allowing employees to bring their pets to work and started a “Pets at Work” program. For a company that strongly believes people and pets are better together, it seems natural that every week hundreds of dogs and cats are brought to Purina’s St. Louis campus, and associates and their furry friends enjoy each other’s company every day.
Bryan Carroll, who works in production for Ibex, wrote the company’s nomination story and submitted it with several photos of dogs that regularly come to work at ibex. Forty two employees work at Ibex’s headquarters in White River Junction, VT., and about 15 dogs tag along with their owners to the office every day. Dogs in the workplace have been an integral part of Ibex’s culture since the company opened its doors in 1997, according to Carroll.
“Ibex headquarters couldn’t be described as dog-friendly; dog-obsessed might be more accurate,” Carroll wrote in his submission. “The smiling face, wagging tail and wet kisses that most people expect at home, or highly anticipate at the end of a long workday, are available to us all day, every day at work.
“Most importantly, having our dogs alongside us at work helps us maintain a healthy and happy work-life balance, an oft-overlooked and difficult to achieve accomplishment in this busy world.”
As a sign of its commitment to pets, Ibex prominently displays its associates’ dogs on the company website and has devoted one section to pets titled: “Dogs Matter: The Best Friends of Ibex Employees.” The section features photos of 21 dogs, including Ellie, Bentley, Stella and Stan. The company plans to use the prize money to make its offices even more pet friendly with such items as dog beds, dog gates, leashes, water bowls, pet toys and treats.
“We are so happy to have received this award from Purina,” said Keith Anderson, vice president of marketing, Ibex. “Being dog lovers and owners, this is exciting not only for Ibex, but also for our dogs; they will literally enjoy the spoils of this grand prize. But what makes this award particularly special is that we are able to share the win with our local shelter, Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society. Pets enrich so many lives, encourage outdoor adventure, and just make people happier – we love that.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, a study* has shown that employees who bring their pets to work tend to have a lower stress level by the end of the day. Stress in the workplace has been associated with negative physical and psychological outcomes, including a general decline in physical health. The study found that interacting with their pets lowered the levels of cortisol in the employees’ bodies, a stress-related hormone that can lead to high cholesterol levels, hypertension and depression.
The Center for Disease Control** says that having pets can help reduce blood pressure, decrease loneliness, help to lower cholesterol levels and encourage physical activity. The better an employee feels on a regular basis, the more they are able to stay focused and produce quality work.
“We truly feel that having dogs in the office increases productivity and collaboration amongst co-workers, and certainly makes for a more interesting day,” Carroll wrote.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare
The North American headquarters for Nestlé Purina PetCare is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Mo., where Ralston Purina was founded more than a century ago. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. One of the leading global players in the pet food industry, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of the Swiss-based Nestlé S.A. – the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in White River Junction, VT, Ibex is a designer of year-round Merino wool outdoor clothing and cycling apparel, founded in the belief of the superior natural performance and properties of wool. Ibex couples the natural renewable resource with technical innovation and inspired design to create apparel for a diverse range of outdoor and active pursuits and passions. Men’s and Women’s items are divided into Ride, Base, Zing, Peak and Live categories, and are made from the best merino wool fabrics sustainably sourced from New Zealand. All Ibex clothing and accessories are available for purchase online, in catalog and through outdoor specialty stores. For more information, visit www.ibex.com.
*Los Angeles Times: “Bringing Your Dog to Work Can Ease Stress, Study Finds,” March 30, 2012;
**Center for Disease Control website (http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health_benefits.htm) “Health Benefits of Pets;”