BOLIVAR, Mo. – It isn’t something you see every day but for the Bolivar community, a trip to Walmart also means getting to interact with a special employee.
Her name is Henley and just like any other employee she has a name tag, a vest with her name and the Walmart logo on it but there’s one very different thing about her.
Henley isn’t your average Walmart employee. She’s got four legs, a tail and she gets paid with something that means more to her than money, treats. Being a dog isn’t what makes her so special, though. It’s the important job she has with her owner because without her he wouldn’t be able to work.
Jay Ho-gland served in the army for 10 years. In 2014 he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was medically discharged.
“It was pretty easy to find a job it was keeping the jobs that I had a lot of problem with,” said Ho-gland.
Ho-gland struggles with anxiety and other PTSD symptoms. His psychiatrist suggested he get a service dog.
“I have trouble with large crowds and being around lots of people, noises and it’s so comforting knowing she’s there. It’s like having someone there that’s always got your back,” Ho-gland said.
He said thanks to Henley his life has improved.
“She’s the reason I still have a job because without her there have been days I don’t think I could make it,” said Ho-gland.
Like all Walmart employees, Henley has a nametag and even a vest courtesy of a co-worker.
“A fellow associate crocheted her a scarf so that she could have her own Walmart spark on the back of it,” Ho-gland said.
Associate Samantha Mitchell said Henley is all work and no play when she’s at Walmart.
“She’s completely all about him. She’s in her zone when she’s out here on the sales floor,” said Mitchell.
But when she’s at home or on break she gets to let loose.
“She becomes a playful puppy again. She rough houses and plays with my three boys and they just have a blast when they’re at the house,” said Ho-gland.
“Everybody is in such high spirits when they see her around. When she’s in the back she’s happy, playful, wagging her tail,” Mitchell said.
Most customers enjoy seeing her furry face, especially the younger ones.
“It’s been educational for kids because the parents are like well that’s a service dog you can’t go up and pet her,” Ho-gland said.
“You’ve just got to explain to them that dog is helping him work and if it wasn’t for her he might not be able to work,” said Mitchell.
Ho-gland and Henley work the morning shift stocking shelves. While Ho-gland is stocking, Henley is standing, sitting or laying by his side.