Visitors to our Robins-Starr Humane Center often exclaim with glee or envy when they discover one of our favorite staff benefits. Here, every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day.
My own dog, a 4-year-old Rottweiler named Frieda, is introduced on tours for new volunteers as the “official greeter” for our hallway. She gleefully pops her head over the Dutch door at any opportunity for a pat or ear scratch. She has also become an ambassador for big, goofy dogs everywhere and Rotties in particular. Some of our volunteers seem to have formed Frieda’s unofficial fan club, and I am met with disapproving glances should I arrive in the office without their friend.
Our office policy has enabled some staff members to adopt special needs dogs. Those who are managing separation anxiety especially benefit from this arrangement and see formerly anxious dogs build confidence as they accompany their humans to work.
The humans also see the benefit of reduced stress. Amanda Macdonald, manager of major gifts said, “Your pet helps keep things in perspective when you are overwhelmed – as family members often do.”
Taking a break from a harried workday to go for a walk with your dog has a calming affect, said Gail Bird Necklace, education and training administrator. “It’s peaceful, comforting and creates a work environment that is truly unique and appreciated.”
A little more than a month away, many more offices will become pet-friendly, at least for a day, on Friday, June 25 for Take Your Dog to Work Day. Pet Sitters International launched the concept in 1999 as a way to promote pet adoption. The official TYDTWD website offers a wealth of information, including tips on lobbying your employer to participate. It’s also a great way to hold a fundraiser for orphaned pets at the Richmond SPCA. If you’re organizing at your office, consider asking that each person who brings his dog also make a $5 donation, or if your workplace isn’t the right environment for pets, suggest hosting a “Casual for Canines” day instead.
A formal policy on bringing pets to work has not been necessary here, but there are a few best practices we can pass along:
- Current vaccinations are especially important when taking your pet to places other dogs congregate. That’s especially true for those of us working in a humane center. Rabies vaccinations are of course required by law. Check with your veterinarian’s recommended vaccination and booster schedule for Boardatella (aka kennel cough), a highly transmissible respiratory infection.
- Be respectful of your office mates. Just like not everyone appreciates the same iTunes playlist, neighbors may be disrupted if your dog is exessively vocal.
- Observe your dog’s wishes as well. They’re not all social butterflies, so if you have a homebody, let her be where she’s most comfortable.
- Accidents happen – though we find them rare here – be prepared to clean up after your pet.
- My lint roller is sometimes the most handy tool on my desk!
Tabitha Hanes is the community relations manager for the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here.