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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 11:08 GMT
Dog ends habit for office smokers
Rupert with payroll supervisor Rachael Ince
Rupert has proved so popular, other branches are to get a dog
Smokers at an office in West Yorkshire have kicked the habit thanks to a new colleague - Rupert the cocker spaniel.

The nine-month-old dog was brought in by managers at Relay Recruitment in Bradford in January to help staff beat the post-Christmas blues.

But the move had an unexpected bonus as four of the firm's 12 smokers gave up cigarettes by substituting fag breaks for a 10-minute walk with the dog.

Bosses now plan to provide dogs for their staff in Leeds, Halifax and York.

Morale boost

Relay Recruitment spokesman David Gatehouse said: "We're delighted with the effect Rupert has had on staff health and morale.

"We initially brought him in because we'd seen research which said that having a pet reduces stress and increases a feeling of well-being.

He's proved a real hit
David Gatehouse, Relay Recruitment spokesman

"We thought we'd bring in a dog so people could make a fuss over him and it would lift morale, especially during the depressing days after Christmas and New Year.

"Then somebody suggested instead of having a fag break they'd take him for a 10-minute walk round the block.

"The idea caught on and now four or five people have given up smoking altogether and others are cutting down.

"They're also losing weight because of all the exercise they're getting."

Rupert is owned by managing director Steven Street, but has proved so popular he even spends some weekends with other members of staff.

"He's proved a real hit," said Mr Gatehouse. "The staff love him."


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