Meet Fionna, the half-Chihuahua, half-Jack Russell mix who is the greeter at Boni Tire & Auto Service Inc. in Flemington, N.J.

Modern Tire Dealer recently ran an article on the owners of the dealership, Dan and Lori Boni. Fionna’s photo was sent along with other shots of the company’s employees.

Lori feels Fionna is an integral part of the dealership’s team. “Fionna goes to work with me six days a week, charming customers with her winsome ways,” she says.

According to Lori, Fionna is “Boni Tire & Auto Service's mascot, our official greeter. People appreciate her warm welcome -- even those who don't particularly like dogs or are afraid of them are won over by her gentle insistence for attention. 

“She never nips, so can be trusted with children of all ages. Customers enjoy her company while they sit in the waiting area as their cars are being serviced. Invited or not, Fionna will lie on or next to them.”

Fionna had a hard life before being adopted by the Boni’s. She was found wandering the streets of Philadelphia and turned over to an animal rescue group. According to Lori, “Every rib could be counted, her lungs were black with pneumonia, and there were clusters of mammary tumors. She was shivering with fear, but quite tame. After four months of intensive care, she was ready for adoption.”

Lori found Fionna on the website PetFinders.com. Her $250 adoption fee was well worth the cost, Lori says. Not only does she reward the Boni’s with love every day, she also increases traffic at the dealership.

“Sometimes customers stop by just to say hello to Fionna,” Lori notes. “They are sorely disappointed when she's not at the shop yet. And if she's not there, it's normal for Dan to be questioned about how she is and why she's not at work. The heck with me, his awesome office administrator. It's Fionna they ask about!”

According to the website www.petcentric.com, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports nearly one in five companies allow pets in the workplace. It reported that a survey of pet-friendly businesses conducted by the APPA found that:

 * 73% said pets created a more productive work environment

* 27% enjoyed a decrease in absenteeism

* 73% said interpersonal skills improved

* 58% said employees stayed late with pets (no need to go home to let the dog out)

* 100% said they would continue to allow pets in the workplace

“Other general feedback was that staff morale and camaraderie improved when employees could bring their dogs to work. Happier employees lead to better job performance,” the website adds. (See www.petcentric.com for guidelines for dogs in the workplace.)

Do you have a dog or cat or other companion animal at your dealership? If you do, please send me a photo and some history. E-mail it to lori.mavrigian@bobit.com. I’ll post your photos on our Facebook page.

Anyone who knows me knows I love animals. So I can’t resist a final comment. Rescue animals make great pets. And they’re good for business, too!

Author

Lori L. Mavrigian
Lori L. Mavrigian

Managing Editor

Since joining <I>Modern Tire Dealer</I> in 1979, Lori Mavrigian has held several key positions leading to her current title as managing editor. In addition to handling the day-to-day operations of magazine production, Lori writes features, contributes photography and is in charge of several of the magazines departments. She also works with the magazine's National Advisory Council for the exclusive Ludwig Report surveys. She earned a B.A. in Mass Media-Communications from the University of Akron.

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Since joining <I>Modern Tire Dealer</I> in 1979, Lori Mavrigian has held several key positions leading to her current title as managing editor. In addition to handling the day-to-day operations of magazine production, Lori writes features, contributes photography and is in charge of several of the magazines departments. She also works with the magazine's National Advisory Council for the exclusive Ludwig Report surveys. She earned a B.A. in Mass Media-Communications from the University of Akron.

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