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Waukesha County workplaces bring in shelter dogs and cats to promote employee wellness

Posted at 10:31 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 13:04:55-04

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Shelter dogs and cats are helping workers around Milwaukee deal with stress at the office while raising money for the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County.

The workday at Novo Group, an employment agency in Brookfield, has temporarily come to a halt and their company could not be happier about it. That's because they are taking a 'Pause with HAWS.'

"I would be at my desk having conversations with clients and candidates, making it happen," said Novo employee Carrie McKnight-Saunders.

Instead, McKnight-Saunders and her coworkers get to play with dogs and kittens.

"A lot of time when we think about employee wellness we are thinking about physical well-being, but the animal care is more of the mental and emotional component," said Kelly Renz, president of Novo Group.

HAWS came up with the idea of having a "Pause with Haws" for workplaces focused on wellness.

The National Institute of Health Studies found interacting with animals decreases levels of cortisol, the stress-related hormone and lowers blood pressure. Plus, it can boost your mood and increase feeling of support.

So far HAWS has had about a dozen 'pause' events this year. It is not an animal adoption event.

"This is just in an effort to help people reduce their stress levels, come in either at their lunch hour or the end of the day and just enoy spending time with animals and just kind of destress and then be ready to re-engage," said Maggie Tate-Techtmann, HAWS of Waukesha County.

HAWS says its an win-win for them because in order to bring in the animals companies either give a donation or employees raise money to help the humane society. And employees get a chance to step away from ringing phones and meeting for at least an hour.

"This is much better, I would rather do this every Friday," said employee Abbie Timmerman.

You can learn more about Pause for HAWS event at