Work is going to the pets - Invisible Fence offers discount to businesses

By Stephen Weigand

Though the National Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 24 has passed, a $100 discount for installing an invisible fence in the work place runs until July 23.

The Mercer Island-based company Invisible Fence Northwest is increasingly installing its system in offices and job sites, according to general manager Randy Bates.

Bates said the company supports the idea of bringing pets to work.

More and more people are taking their pets to work, said Rebecca Murray of Invisible Fence, especially business owners. Retail shop owners can leave their doors open on a hot summer day without fearing that their pet will run out, or pets can be kept away from dangerous areas on job sites, she cited.

Island Cats, a cat veterinary on Mercer Island, uses Invisible Fence at its office to keep ``Biscuit,'' a domestic short hair, away from the cat food it sells.

``We have it set up so she stays away from our food,'' said manager Amy Koeniger. ``If you let her, she'll rip open the 20-pound bags of food. She's very naughty.''

The company has installed more than 20,000 of the systems, which uses a wireless collar that emits a radio signal when the pet approaches an area that is off-limits. The pet is trained to obey the sound of the signal. If it does not obey, the collar gives a small static shock to reinforce the sound.

Training is the most important part, said Murray. The company meets the pet, usually a dog, and assesses its personality to design a system based on where the owner wants it to go.

Though Invisible Fence uses its own product in a very small area in its office, Bates said the company also uses a physical gate because they don't want their customers' pets' collars to beep when they visit the office.

The company has been in business for more than 30 years, 17 on the Island.

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