Dogs At Work?

Friday is the official Take Your Dog to Work Day, started by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1996 in the United Kingdom and brought to the U.S. in 1999. PSI started Take Your Dog to Work Day with the thought that if employees brought their dog to work for a visit, it might help inspire their co-workers to adopt homeless pets. It is a worthy notion but I think there is even more benefit to be considered.

I asked my staff what they liked about being able to bring their dogs to work with them and here are some of the responses I got:

“If you are ever having a bad day or are in a bad mood, a dog can be the best way to cheer you up.”

I like the comfort of knowing my dog gets well socialized.”

“I like knowing my dog isn’t home alone all day and she can make other people smile when they get to play with her.”

“I like starting and ending the day together and we are there for each other whether it was good or bad.”

For me personally, I can’t imagine not having my dog at my side through my workday. Diva hangs out quietly for several hours while I write or catch up on e-mail and phone calls, then does her job and reminds me when it’s time to take a break. She seems to have a keen sense about when to interrupt if I’m getting stressed or frustrated. Those few minutes when I take her outside for a toss of the Frisbee or just a few minutes scratching her belly somehow help me to refocus so I can get back to work and carry on with enthusiasm.

Fortunately at That’s My Dog! everyday is Take Your Dog to Work day and it got me thinking; what if this concept wasn’t limited to just one day a year in other places of business?

We already understand the value of dogs in service and therapy work so how much could the presence of dogs decreases stress and increase productivity in the typical workplace?

How beneficial might it be to have a dog or two were you work? If you could spend a few minutes petting a dog or tossing a ball for Fido during your break would it help to re-focus some energy to get through the rest of the afternoon? How might a dog mitigate the tension in an attorney’s office during a difficult mediation or diffuse the worry in hospital waiting rooms? Could hanging out with a dog during meetings actually increase cooperation and minimize conflict within the corporate structure? Would already brilliant minds be even more inspired if they took a few minutes to decompress and goof around with a canine pal during lunch? We know laughter generates good will, stroking a dog decrease stress hormones and lowers blood pressure…so wouldn’t dogs routinely in the work place serve to improve the environment in a number of ways?

The first Friday after Father’s day is our day to celebrate the human – canine bond at work. If you are one of the lucky ones who have an employer that participates, share your stories and pictures on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you! …And if you happen to hold a position of influence in your organization, mull over the notion of having dogs in the office routinely…how could you make it work and how could it benefit the mission of your company?