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June 21, 2013

Dogs at Work

Dogs are on my mind even more than usual these days. That’s because I am dog shopping this weekend.  Not through a pet store or an Internet seller, but with a local rescue group here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. My guess is, there’s going to be a new dog in the Pacelle household come Sunday.

And on Monday, I am going to bring this adoptee to work, assuming all goes according to plan, and I pass muster with the organization’s adoption group (I’ll pull rank if I must, though). That practice – of people bringing dogs to work – has been in place at The HSUS for several years, not long after I became president of the organization in 2004. Some of our staff petitioned me, mainly our very persuasive and persistent Jennifer Fearing, and it didn’t take long for me to buckle to the pressure campaign. I announced a dogs-in-the-workplace policy, with all the appropriate bells and whistles, some months later. Jennifer has even co-authored a book on the subject.

Falkor, HSUS office dog
Falkor, companion to our online media outreach
specialist Jennifer Moulton, is ready to work.

On a typical day, we have about 100 pooches at the office, but it is important to remember that they are spread throughout a large physical office environment with hundreds of people.  What’s amazing is that you hardly hear the dogs. They are so well-behaved, and seem that they know they are in a professional setting. There’s a woof or a bark every once in a blue moon, and the ears go down since they know they’ve committed a transgression. Hearing a growl is almost as rare as a sighting of Bigfoot.

Most dogs sleep through the day, with their slumber interrupted by a periodic walk or even a gambol around the building. It’s good for the dogs and the staff to stretch their legs, and for the dogs to do their business. Our employees report a decrease in stress and appreciate not having to leave their canine companions at home all day, or to pay the costs of pet sitter or dog walker. A study by Central Michigan University shows that allowing dogs in the workplace results in a more cohesive and effective working environment. This policy also increases employee retention, productivity and morale. And let’s face it, as highly social animals, dogs are much happier hanging around their people all day.

Along with being the first day of summer, today also happens to be the 15th annual Take Your Dog To Work Day. Created by Pet Sitters International™ in 1999, TYDTW Day honors the human-animal bond, promotes adoption of homeless pets, and gives employers the opportunity to see how beneficial a pet-friendly workplace can be.

If you brought your dog to work today, show us! Post a photo or video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine with the hashtag #takeyourdog.

And wish me luck this weekend!

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