When Anne Riegel walks in for her shift at the Best Buy store in northeast Columbus, Ohio, she sports a crisp blue shirt and a friendly sidekick named Travis.
Wearing a custom name tag and uniform, Travis — a yellow Labrador retriever — operates as Anne’s emotional and mobility support dog. He also specializes in customer service.
“Our customers always want to pet him, and some people stop by regularly just to say hi,” Anne said.
A car accident in 2000 limited Anne’s mobility, and she sought the assistance of a four-legged friend. For the past few years, Travis has ensured Anne lives her life as normally as possible.
Then one day a couple of years ago, Anne explained to her manager how important Travis was to her. “He helps me in all other areas of life, and I think I need him here,” she had said.
Through a workplace accommodation, Travis joined the team and soon became a hit with everyone, along with enabling Anne to successfully do her job. Like a good boy, he assists Anne while walking, opening doors and reaching for products.
At Best Buy, he has earned the nickname “Best Boy.”
“Travis absolutely loves going to work,” Anne said. “He understands that it’s a fun place to be and gets so excited to walk through those doors every day.”
Even with the constant attention, Anne considers Travis a “quintessential professional.”
And just as it is with all employees, he is taught to put the customer first. Though sometimes it proves difficult for customers to concentrate on the technology rather than Travis, he never lets a client lose focus. For instance, when Anne engages with a customer, Travis activates his “invisible dog” mode, lying down and closing his eyes to lessen any distraction.
After displaying his sales skills with coworkers and customers, Travis has truly “earned his kibble,” Anne likes to say.