With my days in a corporate office not too far in my distant past it is easy to remember how difficult it was to pursue a climb up the corporate ladder while being a responsible and attentive dog owner. Each morning after ensuring that my dogs had done all of their business, eaten breakfast and had fresh water for them to last the ten or more hours that I would be away, I would look them in their sweet brown eyes, tell them to be good and that I loved them, and hit the road for my hour commute. At the end of the day I would rush home to them to get them outside to go potty again, to play, to eat their dinner and to spend time with them. Five days a week, fifty weeks a year.
When my Labrador Retriever puppy Jackson came home we hired a puppy sitter to let him out a few times a day, knowing he could only hold his bladder for a few hours at a time. I felt like any new mom with the “nanny” raising my “child” instead of me. The puppy sitter’s notes of their afternoon play sessions made me sad that it was not me playing with him throughout the day.
I hated how much time I spent away from them, how much of their short lives I was missing. I remember seeing the photos through social media of dog-friendly companies and companies who participated in Take Your Dog to Work day. I day dreamed of what it would be like if they could come with me, of the walks that we could take during lunch, the puppy kisses I could get after stressful meetings, the extra projects I could finish if I could take an extra thirty minutes at the end of each day without worrying that their little bladders would make them miserable.
A year ago I left that job, not because I could not work with my dogs, but to pursue a new career as a freelance writer. However, one of the best side effects and perks is that I now work from home with my two Labrador Retrievers by my side, and I cannot imagine ever working a day without them by my side ever again. In fact Tinkerbell, the latest addition to our family, has never known the days of waiting all day for me to come home from the office. All she knows is that she can snuggle with me seven days a week while I do whatever it is that humans do with a computer.
I’ve always wanted a human resources department to do a study of pet owners and non-pet owners in their company. Did the non-pet owners and perhaps the cat owners (whose pets are more self sufficient) put in more time, earn more promotions and climb higher on the ladder than dog owners? Would allowing dogs in the workplace lead to increased productivity among dog owners? Would the dog owners stay at the office a little longer and be more engaged in their work instead of feeling guilty at how long their dog had been home alone?
Then there are the stress relieving benefits. Would employees whose dogs were at work with them have a better spring in their step, be more collaborative and generally pleasant with their dogs by their side? According to a study done at Virginia Commonwealth University dogs do make a positive difference in the workplace. According to an article published on the university website in 2012, “during the course of the work day, self-reported stress declined for employees with their dogs present and increased for non-pet owners and dog owners who did not bring their dogs to work. The team noted that stress significantly rose during the day when owners left their dogs at home compared to days they brought them to work.”
Pet Sitters International, who created Take Your Dog to Work day in 1999, has a great packet of materials that you can download from their site for participants. Bookmark their site www.takeyourdog.com so that you can plan early enough for your company to participate in 2015. The digital download is full of tips on how to make the day a great event that is fun and safe for all dogs and humans involved. Of course pets do not do well in many situations, including warehouses, factories, restaurants, scientific laboratories and a variety of other professions, but they can certainly be a great fit in office building settings.
We reached out to our Canine Caviar holistic pet food fans and found a few lucky dogs who are able to go to work with their human parents. Dash (greyhound) and Dewey (poodle mix) have been to work with their Furr parent Kim at a veterinary clinic in Connecticut.
Cassie, who feeds Canine Caviar natural dog food to both of her Labrador Retrievers and lives in Alaska, told us, “My first job let me take my Labrador Retriever Sunny to work every day and she and I both loved it. My second job wasn’t as flexible, with good reason, so when I got a new job offer one of my questions I asked my potential employer was whether or not I could bring my dog to work. Their answer of ‘yep’ played a huge role in me taking the position! Now I take my Sunny and my new pup Kana to work almost every day!”