Dog helps to stub out smoking

STAFF at a West Yorkshire recruitment office are now a much healthier bunch thanks to their surprise new colleague – Rupert the cocker spaniel. Managers at Relay Recruitment in Bradford had the bright idea of bringing in the nine-month-old pooch in Januar

STAFF at a West Yorkshire recruitment office are now a much healthier bunch thanks to their surprise new colleague - Rupert the cocker spaniel.

Managers at Relay Recruitment in Bradford had the bright idea of bringing in the nine-month-old pooch in January, to help workers beat the post-Christmas blues.

But four of the firm's 12 smokers found the endearing pup's company so hard to resist that they ditched the fags in favour of taking him for 10-minute walks.

Bosses were so impressed with Rupert's animal magnetism that they now plan to provide dogs for their staff in Leeds, Halifax and York.

Relay Recruitment spokesman David Gatehouse said: "We're delighted with the effect Rupert has had on staff health and morale.

"We initially brought him in because we had seen research that said having a pet reduces stress and increases a feeling of well-being.

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"Then somebody suggested that they take him for a 10-minute walk round the block instead of having a fag break, and the idea really caught on.

Rupert is owned by managing director Steven Street, but has proved so popular that even he spends some weekends with other members of staff.

"He's proved a real hit," said Mr Gatehouse. "The staff love him to bits.

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