A COMPANY with just 27 staff regularly has eight dogs in the office.

Software company KFA Connect, in Ringwood, believes it may have one of the highest proportion of canines relative to the workforce of any company locally.

Other staff own another nine dogs who only visit on special occasions.

Operations director Juliet Ward was one of the first to bring her dogs, Kiah and Jazz, to work five years ago, and says clients and suppliers are impressed with the warm welcome when they visit.

She said: “What is incredible is that all the dogs get on very well. The newest member Maisy, owned by Emily, one of our developers, settled in very fast last summer. Many of the team take their four-legged friends out for walks as a group during their breaks or at lunchtime. We have never found that the dogs in the office have put off potential new recruits, and we don’t insist that all members of staff are dog owners.”

The directors at £2.5million turnover company believe the dogs have a calming effect on the staff, who can often be stressed when approaching tight deadlines when updating major IT systems.

“It’s very therapeutic to have them in the office and there are so many other benefits including the fact that the dog does not get left at home all day alone, and there is no need to pay for dog walkers during the day,” said Ms Ward.

“We just find that the fun of owning a dog also works well in the workplace.”