Meet Carmen - Saab Australia's Facility Dog
After training as a Guide Dog with See Differently Carmen found that her lifelong passion for food couldn’t be ignored. So she decided to embark on a new career path and joined Saab Australia as the company’s first Facility Dog.
Meet Saab’s first four-legged employee, Carmen. After training as a guide dog with the non-for-profit organisation, See Differently (also known as the Royal Society for the Blind) Carmen found that her lifelong passion for food couldn’t be ignored any longer. So she decided to embark on a new career path and joined Saab Australia as the company’s Facility Dog (and president of the crumb collector club).
Carmen spends a lot of her time in our Adelaide offices to provide support for our staff, to greet and welcome visitors and to create a positive and inclusive atmosphere. However, like any driven employee, Carmen still regularly attends ‘facility dog school’ so that she can best serve as a Saab ambassador.
Carmen’s duty is to support our staff and visitors, which she provides through meeting her daily objectives below:
- Threat identifier (barking at possible ghosts in roof, so far Carmen is the only employee who’s spotted these),
- Autonomous vacuum (cleaning up crumbs from the café after scone day)
- Productivity assessor (she is yet to do this with her eyes open).
- Encouraging movement, activity and motivating people for pats and play
- Encouraging people to participate in group sessions and workshops. Carmen can make people feel more comfortable, especially in a new or unfamiliar environment.
- Providing a point of conversation and helping people to engage in chat
- Offering support and friendship
- Bring a smile & relief to stressful working environments
During an interview with Carmen, we got beneath that golden surface and asked some questions sent it from her followers.
What is your breed?
“I’m a quarter Golden Retriever cross Labrador”
What is your favourite food?
“Paws down, carrot. It’s my favourite dessert - you’ve got to try it!”
When is your birthday?
“I was born on the 6th of July, 2019”
What is your favourite part about working at Saab?
“I’d be lying if I said cleaning up crumbs wasn’t one of the best bits (who knew humans could be so messy), but my wonderful human colleagues are also my favourite. They have so much love to give through their cuddles, walks, tummy rubs and the funny high pitch conversations they try to have with me. They make my day!”
What does a normal working day look like for you?
“Well I wake up 6am - bright eyed and bushy tailed. I have a nutritious breakfast followed by a power nap and then passenger princess my way to work.
When I arrive I like to greet the human’s hello, play with any teddies I can find (the Civil team have the best toys!) and nap again for good measure.
After lunch, I begin my afternoon shift as crumb collector and then I nap again because its 5pm somewhere. I wander on down to the café and make sure to say hello to lots of other Saab employees along the way. After some more playtime I then head home for the day – tough life I know”.
What is your favourite teddy?
“Look lately it’s been changing quite regularly, as I’ve recently gotten into playing the game Operation (aka de-stuffing) but my donkey pillow will always hold a special place in my heart”.
Saab and Volunteering
Saab takes great pride in being able to support staff members and their volunteering passions, as well as a great cause like See Differently. We have welcomed several of Carmen’s puppy friends into the Saab family while they have been undergoing training to be a qualified assistance dog. Evidently this brings joy into our workplace, but it also allows these dogs to experience a typical office environment, which is very important for their learning and development.
"Saab has been very supportive of my efforts to be part of the chain that allows See Differently to deliver the best-in-class dogs to those in the community who need help"
See Differently is the largest service in SA for providing assistant dogs and volunteers play a huge part in making this possible. As a result, clients who receive the trained dogs are “overwhelmingly grateful for the work and support put in by the training staff, volunteers, and supporters like Saab”.