Monday, June 22, 2015

TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK


Next Friday, June 26th is Take Your Dog To Work Day©.  Pet Sitters International (PSI) created the day in 1999 to celebrate how dogs are great companions and to encourage adoptions from local shelters and rescues.  PSI believes that, through events like this, non-pet owners are able to observe, first-hand, the special bond people have with pets and will be encouraged to adopt a furry friend of their own.  In addition, for those who have other types of pets, the entire week, leading up to the 26th, is Take Your Pet To Work Week™.  The entire week is not only focused on celebrating the value of pets in the workplace, but to enforce the idea that adopting a homeless pet is the way to go.

Less than 300 businesses participated in the first celebration in 1999.  Since then, tens of thousands of companies in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, and Australia have participated.  In addition, companies such as Facebook, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon, Huffington Post, and Google allow dogs to come to work daily because they believe that having dogs in the workplace enhances quality of work.  Supporting this belief are studies conducted by institutions such as Central Michigan University and The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.  Both found that when dogs were present, employees were more likely to trust each other and collaborate more effectively.  In addition, according to a survey conducted by American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPA), companies which allowed pets in the workplace had lower absenteeism rates, and employees were more willing to work overtime.

As an employer, why would you want to participate?  Many businesses, due to increased costs, have had to reduce employee benefits.  This is an affordable benefit that shows employees that their employer not only cares about them but also recognize the importance of pets in their lives.  Involvement enhances a company’s ties within the community and can augment any existing relationships with shelters, rescue groups, and pet focused businesses.  Most of all, participation actively shows that the company supports the adoption of homeless animals. 

If a company cannot allow dogs or pets in the workplace, they can still help celebrate and promote the day.   A business could organize a fundraiser and assign the funds to a local animal charity, shelter or rescue group. Creativity is the key.  Businesses can hold wish-list drives, photo contests, etc., to raise money.  Use the day to educate employees about local homeless pets, the health benefits of having a pet, and pet care, by inviting a representative from local pet charities and rescues, vet clinics, etc., to come and speak. 

For those first-time employers who are willing to allow dogs in the workplace for the day, send out a memorandum to all employees regarding the guidelines for the day.  Be sure to include where Fido is allowed to go, and what areas are strictly off-limits, taking into consideration anyone who may be allergic, among other considerations.  It would also be wise to require that all dogs be spayed or neutered and up-to-date on shots. Highlight that dog aggression will not be tolerated and that the owner of a dog displaying hostile behavior will be asked to remove his pet immediately.  Outline items such as what to do in case of a “doggy” accident and how others should approach an unfamiliar dog.

Employees can ensure the day is a success by observing a few courtesies.  Check to see if anyone is allergic or has a fear of being in the proximity of dogs.  Be sure that where the animal will be located is safe, and there are no hazardous materials easily accessible.  First impressions are usually lasting, so a trip to the groomer beforehand helps create a good one.  Not all animals like being in unfamiliar environments.  If the animal is aggressive, shy, fearful, or not well behaved around strangers, it is probably best he stay home.  Bring items that help ensure not only the dog’s safety and comfort but coworkers too.  A baby gate to block an opening, or a portable kennel, keeps the animal from wandering unsupervised.  Bring along food, treats, dishes, chew toys, a leash, paper towels, and clean-up bags.  Be sure that adequate clean water is available. Locate appropriate areas where the animal can go to the bathroom and be sure to clean up any messes.


With a little preparation and consideration, taking your dog to work can be a fun day for humans and canines alike.   


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