by Judy Galbraith, president & founder of Free Spirit Publishing
As a young girl, I grew up with my dog Bonnie, an Airedale terrier. She was smart, loving, protective, and always willing to give me a shoulder to cry on when I was feeling frustrated, sad or lonely. Sometimes, I’d hide behind our garage and talk to her. Bonnie never judged or told me what to do. She just listened and offered her canine companionship, which helped me through the challenges of growing up.
I believe in the power of animal love and I’ve carried that into our workplace. I’ve always brought my dogs to work, and although not every person at Free Spirit is equally a “dog person,” everyone has come to appreciate the good humor and even moral support dogs can provide. I’m a strong advocate of welcoming dogs in the workplace and supporter of the Pet Sitters International Take Your Dog to Work Day®. Their mission is to “celebrate the great companions dogs make and encourage their adoptions from local shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies.”
My current dogs, Twiggy and Violet, are both rescues. Twiggy was a stray from Oklahoma who was transported from there to a Twin Cities Humane Society. Violet came from Small Dog Rescue Minnesota. Both grrrrls have needed training to become good citizens in and out of our office. We take classes and work just about every day to ensure good office manners. Employees are welcome to engage in this, too, by learning commands such as “off” or “enough,” which is especially handy when Twiggy or Violet wants a never ending supply of treats or belly rubs.
As you know, work can be continually challenging and stressful even on the best of days. But when the paw of support is given (dogs seem to sense when you need the love), it can make a world of difference.
In Europe, people bring their dogs almost everywhere, and I know why. Dogs are part of our family, so why wouldn’t we want them with us as much as possible? Besides, they’re often more well-behaved than some humans I know.
In short, if you are in a work environment that might be open to having an office dog or two, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Training is needed, both for humans and dogs. And, of course, they have to be potty trained, although there will be occasional accidents. But the rewards more than make up for any inconveniences. I know. I’ve been bringing dogs to work for over 30 years and I can’t imagine having it any other way. Twiggy and Violet definitely give the practice two paws up.
If you have dogs or other pets in your workplace, how have you and others benefited?
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