Columbus Direct employees are preparing for a month of animal love in the office in order to celebrate National Pet Month, which runs from today until May 4.

Dogs, cats and rodents are welcome, but exotic pets and fish are not allowed onto the office floor as their specialist equipment could be problematic to maintain.

A designated area for litter trays, food and water has been set up, and dog owners have been told they must take an hour on their breaks to walk their canines.

Greg Lawson, managing director at Columbus Direct, said: "I hardly ever get to see my dog, so this is hugely exciting for me. I can't wait to walk her on my break and spend some quality time with her. I'm hoping she'll be good and stay under my desk, but if she chooses to have a wander around the office, that's fine too - so many people have told me they're looking forward to meeting her!"

Cat owners have already begun preparing their office spaces for their pets, with furry beds being hung over radiators and some employees laying towels across the backs of their chairs for their cats to snooze on.

Website editor Vicky Anscombe is delighted that her two cats, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, will be able to join her for April.

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover

"I get up early for the gym and I'm often busy after work, so I don't get to spend as much time with the boys as I'd like - this is such a treat!" she said. "I'm sure that Mel will prove to be a hit with the ladies; Danny is more reserved, and will probably find an older gentleman to sit with. I'm also bringing in my friend's mouse, which can live in a shoebox by a meeting room."

The office space has been evaluated by the RSPCA, who have agreed that for one month it's suitable for pets and pet owners to co-exits harmoniously. Colleagues without pets have joined in the fun by very kindly donating spare leads and bones for the dogs and catnip, which has been scattered in cat-friendly places, such as by the radiators, on top of the photocopier and on large piles of paper.

Please note: Due to unprecedented numbers of excitable pets being set free on the office floor and the unforeseen hygiene problems that ensued, this has now been cancelled. We would also like to apologise to the owner of the chocolate labrador on the third floor; it is most regrettable that the ill-tempered cat from HR was trapped in a lift with your dog. We will, of course, be covering all your veterinary bills.



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