Offices for the Dogs

Offices for the Dogs

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To many, a pet is like a child or a best friend. They can cheer you up, comfort you in lonely times and reach a spot in your heart that makes you melt. Their wagging tail and goofy smile is a sense of relief when you walk in from a hard day at work.

Do you find yourself saying, “I’ve missed you,” or “I wish I didn’t have to leave you all by yourself”? Wouldn’t it be nice to spend the whole day with them? Well, the day might soon come when you can do just that. Bringing your pet to work is becoming the new craze, and it might soon be coming to an employer near you.

In-Box or Litter-Box?” Here’s the Scoop!

Bringing your pet to the office has recently been seen more in small businesses and “creative arts” type companies such as graphics, design or in technical trades. Much like the “Casual Friday” or incentive contests, the idea of toting Toto to work is to boost productivity and moral.

In fact, millions of Americans believe pets on the job lower absenteeism and encourage workers to get along, according to the survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA). And now, nearly one in five U.S. companies allow pets at work.

Bringing your furry (or scaly) friend to work is catching on, even if it is just for one day. For instance, Pet Sitters International (PSI)'s, Take Your Dog To Work Day, celebrates all the enjoyment people get from their dogs, as well as encourages adoptions. According to PSI, about 10,000 companies participated in the special day this year, double the number that did in 2006.

Of course there are those who aren’t too keen on the idea. Some are allergic to pet dander, while others have fears of certain animals. Concerns also range from stinking up the office to the pets just getting in the way. Some cities also have ordinances about bringing animals to the workplace. Either side has arguing power, so don’t be disappointed if your company puts the kibosh on the idea.

What's a Dog to Do?

If your employer already has thought or is thinking about allowing pets in the office, there are some basic guidelines you should follow:

  • Bring only well behaved, quiet and people-friendly animals.
  • Pets need to be leashed or closed in (baby gates usually do the trick).
  • Keep your companion well-groomed and flea free. Talk to your vet or pet supply store for the best ways to keep your friend in tip-top shape.
  • Do not rely on an assistant or co-worker to take care of your animal. Asking them to keep an eye out while you get up for a minute is fine, but avoid making it a habit.
  • “Child proof” your office — tie up loose wires, put poisonous plants out of gnawing reach and keep choking hazards at bay (rubberbands, paper clips, etc).
  • Make frequent potty breaks and clean up the mess your pet leaves when finished. Nobody likes stepping in animal doo-doo.
  • Make the area your pet will be in comfortable. Bring in a pillow/sleep pad, toys, bones/treats, etc. Remember that just because they aren’t home alone, they still need something to occupy themselves.

If you aren’t able to bring your pet to work, there are a couple other options for you:

  • Consider doggy daycare if you don’t like the idea of leaving your pooch at home alone.
  • Ask if you can bring in a small fish tank. They are popular in many offices, low maintenance and the sound of water is sure to sooth away any mid-day stress.
  • Some dog breeders have extra kennels for “baby-sitting.” Check out what’s around your work — you can even go visit your pet on your lunch hour.
  • Bring in a picture of your pet so you can see them whenever you need a pick-me-up. If your pet is at home, call and talk to them on the answering machine. To avoid the “she's coo-coo” look, it might be a good idea to call on a break or lunch… from your car.

Now, if only we can figure something out for farm animals…

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Lifestyle Design Center
Models: Marion Corbin-Mayer of Creative Catalysts