dogwork

This past week could have easily been the worst few days before Christmas. A memo was sent out around the office which said that we are no longer allowed to bring our dogs to work. I was really upset when I got the memo because my dog Dani is very well behaved when I take him to work. He gives loves and cuddles to everyone in the office and usually sleeps for the most part, not bothering or pestering anyone. I made it known that I was upset and that the new pet policy will have to be revised. Besides, the only time I do bring Dani to work is when his other dad (an ex-bf that Dani is very attached to) can’t watch him which in reality only happens a maximum of 3 times a month.

I went home after seeing the memo and couldn’t sleep the whole night. It made me question the morals of the company I work for and what I’ve always thought it was which was a small company that is more like a family than a corporation. The owner of the company had said that same day that he didn’t want the company to be too corporate because that is not his vision but wouldn’t banning pets to come to work be something a corporate type office would do? Even then, more and more corporations are having a “Take your dog to work day”. There are many benefits to allowing dogs to work such as reducing stress and improving employee morale.

Here’s an article from the Boston Globe that I came across while doing research on “Take Your Dog to Work Day”.

Allowing dogs in the workplace can lower stress and lift morale.

Golden Retriever 'Murphy' rests on the floor of the office of his owner, Stephen Dean (rear). 'Murphy' comes to work with Dean every day.
Golden Retriever ‘Murphy’ rests on the floor of the office of his owner, Stephen Dean (rear). ‘Murphy’ comes to work with Dean every day. (Globe Staff Photo / Evan Richman)

For people who love spending time with their dogs, leaving them home when going to work is difficult.

While most businesses don’t allow dogs, Pet Sitters International, which promotes the annual ”Take Your Dog to Work Day,” says that’s slowly changing.

”We’ve seen steady growth in participation,” says John Long, a member of the Pet Sitters organization. ”The first year, we had 500 companies; in 2003, more than 5,000.”

Take Your Dog to Work Day, the seventh such event, is tomorrow, and Pet Sitters International expects more than 10,000 companies to have some sort of canine-related event.

”Having dogs in the workplace has been shown to reduce stress and improve employee morale. Employees are more willing to work longer hours,” says Long. ”It’s also a nice recruiting tool. A company that has a pet-friendly policy will appear more attractive to a dog lover.”

Of course, having dogs come to work has its share of challenges. Some people are allergic to dogs, and some are frightened of them. There’s also the issue of potty breaks and cleanups, and of setting a professional tone.

Long says having dogs in the workplace goes smoothly when the company sets guidelines that everyone agrees on in advance and that address the potential problems. Dogs may be allowed in certain parts of the building, for example, or can come only on certain days.

Although a couple of large companies are involved in Take Your Dog to Work Day, most workplaces that allow dogs are small ones, says Long, and typically in a creative line of work. Small technology, advertising, or design companies seem to have more dog-friendly workplaces, says Long, as do real estate agencies.

”You only want to bring in pets that are, first and foremost, clean, well-groomed, and socialized. No dogs with an aggressive nature, shy, or nervous,” he says. ”And always have cleanup supplies on hand.”

Don Linville, a partner in the Sacramento, Calif., Web-development firm CR deZign, runs a dog-friendly office. He left his tie behind on Wall Street and likes working in a relaxed, small-business environment. His 10-month-old retriever, Henry, has grown up in the office and is there most days when clients aren’t.

”When I looked for a dog, I specifically looked for mellow, for a breed that would work best around people,” he says, ”and I made sure everyone who works here was OK with a dog.”

Because Henry was a puppy when Linville joined the firm, cleanup supplies and a crate were crucial. ”When he was small, the crate was his default,” says Linville. ”He’d be in the crate except when it was time for walking or play.”

Now Henry’s main job is to be a greeter. ”He prefers the mailman over the UPS guy, but he likes the FedEx guy best of all,” says Linville, who notes that the retriever’s also a good center fielder in the occasional office Wiffle ball games.

For Linville, the advantage of having Henry in the office is that it makes working long hours more bearable. ”He’s a good distraction. I can’t focus for 12 hours straight, but I can put a leash on him and take a walk,” he says. ”Or just stop, take a couple of minutes, and throw the ball for Henry.

”He has become kind of a mascot here. Folks are genuinely bummed out if he’s not at work.”

Gina Spadafori is the author of several pet-care books and a consultant to the Veterinary Information Network. Her Web log and column archives can be found at spadafori.com.

Later the next day, a new memo came out stating the the pet policy will be revised in the new year to still allow dogs to be able to come to work on certain days. I was so happy to read this and my Christmas was not ruined after all. Merry Christmas to you all from Redd and Dani.