AD AGENCY PROVIDES EMPLOYEE PET INSURANCE

Two Golden Retrievers and a Lab to Immediately Benefit

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's taken for granted that company health plans cover employees' doctor visits and prescription medicine. But Byrnes & Merz Advertizing, in Newtown
At Byrnes & Merz: humans (left to right): Carolyn Clingman, graphic designer; Mary Kate Loconte, account supervisor; and Andy Merz, partner. Dogs: Maggie, Neal and Auggie.
Square, Pa., has announced that it will soon provide pet insurance for its employees.

Three of the seven people who work at the ad agency outside Philadelphia own dogs: Maggie, a golden retriever; Auggie, also a golden; and Neil, a yellow Labrador.

Dog friendly office
Byrnes & Merz is an informal, dog-friendly kind of place to work, said agency partner Andy Merz.

"This is just one of our quirky things here. The dogs are part of the agency. Sometimes they all come in on the same day, or sometimes only one comes, but they hang out and get along well with each other and with people," he said. "They've really settled in."

Mr. Merz recalled one day last year when a limousine came to pick up the employees for a day at the spa, and one of the dogs happened to be at work that day. "The dog got a ride in the limo, and was dropped off before we went to the spa. He didn't get a pedicure."

Canine medical concerns
Byrnes & Merz has bought Veterinary Pet Insurance and will pay about $40 to $50 a month for the three dogs, Mr. Merz said. Like regular employee health insurance, pet insurance covers ear infections, accidents, skin rashes and cancer, among other ailments.

The agency's affinity for dogs is also apparent on the company's Web site, byrnesandmerz.com, where an animated dog leads viewers through the site. Maggie, the agency dog, is even listed on the contacts page with her own e-mail address.

Byrnes & Merz's clients include Mainline Health, which operates three Philadelphia-area hospitals; Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath; and the Chester County Economic Development Council.

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