MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Beware, all ye who enter the Acadia Corp. offices in Town Hill. You might get bowled over by a pack of wild dogs.
Well, they aren’t actually wild, just wildly exuberant and ever so happy that you’ve come to visit.
On any given day, dogs can be found hanging out and greeting visitors in offices, stores and other workplaces all over Mount Desert Island.
Sonja, a golden retriever, seems to think she’s in charge at WMH Architects in Northeast Harbor. While her management skills are questionable, she is excellent at client relations, and her humans, architects Bill Hanley and Heli Mesiniemi, love having her around.
“We’re a family business and she’s part of the family,” Hanley said. “Her companionship helps keep our feet on the ground, and she gets us out on walks and keeps the blood pressure in check.”
Sonja’s best canine friend is Oscar, a chocolate Labrador retriever, who “works” at McGrath’s Variety Store a couple of blocks away on Main Street. Owner Terry Renault brings him in every day.
Renault said some people stop in just to see Oscar, whose favorite position is curled into a ball just inside the front door.
“There are a lot of people who come in and grab him and take him for walks, with or without other dogs,” he said.
Kira, an elegant Samoyed, is one of the few dogs on MDI that has the credentials for the job she’s doing.
A certified therapy dog, she helps Dr. Stephen Kosherak, the psychologist at the Community Health Center in Southwest Harbor, provide a calm, comfortable environment for his patients.
“It’s very good for people who are anxious, people who are depressed,” he said. “She is marvelous with kids, the smaller the better. If they are nose-to-nose with her, she’s thrilled.”
Winter, a goldendoodle, is aptly named because her curly coat is white, and she loves cold weather and snow.
She spends part of most workdays at Harbor House, the community service center in Southwest Harbor where her “mom,” Ingrid Kachmar, is executive director.
“There are people who come in just to see Winter,” Kachmar said. “They don’t care about the rest of us.
“We’ve had Senior College classes here, and they’ll bring her treats every week. She has a really good thing going.”
Rosie, a boxer, isn’t tech savvy. But she is very good at supporting those who are at Coastal Computers in Somesville.
“She loves our techs,” said Kristina Minott, who owns the company with her husband, George Grohs. “She’s a stress reliever, and she kind of livens up the place and keeps us all happy.
“She’s also our official greeter. She often sits in a chair by the window and watches to see who’s coming in.”
Meanwhile, back at Acadia Corp., Amy and Finn, who belong to President and CEO Dave Woodside; Cash, who belongs to General Manager Todd Graham; and Shiloh, who belongs to Operations Manager Matt Heistand, are happily milling around.
All four dogs come to the office nearly every day.
“They create an atmosphere that’s relaxed and less formal, less stressful,” Woodside said.
“We’ve hired several new people in the last few years, and the dogs almost always come to the job interview. They’ve never given anyone a thumbs down.”
(One wonders if that could be because they don’t have thumbs.)
“You’d be surprised how many times the dogs wind up coming to work even if we aren’t here,” Graham said. “We may be off at meetings or taking a personal day, but somebody will pick up the dogs and bring them in.”