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Retirement after dogged devotion

Tokyo, Feb. 6 (Reuters): While Japan’s elderly fret over a planned cut in state pensions, one ageing company worker settled into a comfortable retirement today.

Heidi, an Old English Sheepdog, was presented with a voucher for a year’s supply of beef jerky at a ceremony in Tokyo marking nearly a dozen years of dogged devotion to Oracle Japan, where she specialised in stress management.

“I want to thank you for helping staff and customers relax,” said chief executive Masaaki Shintaku. He then gave Heidi a kiss, to applause from the 1,000 employees present at the ceremony.

At 12 years old (or about 70 in dog years), Heidi is unlikely to be hounded by the financial concerns of ordinary Japanese.

The long-haired pooch has been adopted by a member of staff at Oracle Japan, a unit of US software powerhouse Oracle Corp, who said he hopes to keep her in the manner to which she has become accustomed.

Heidi joined the company as its first doggie employee, although a number of birds and fish are also on the payroll.

She managed to achieve her star status without working like a dog — only appearing at the office twice a week.

Heidi’s role in helping human employees to relax and make the most of their creative powers will be taken over by Wendy, a puppy of the same breed.

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