Work like a dog: Take your dog to work day

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Every day, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes brings his best friend to work: his rescue dog.

“I have a Rottweiler-cross named Mika who comes to work with me each day,” he told Vancity Buzz. “I adopted her from a shelter as a puppy, and she’s been my best friend for 12 years.”

Holmes says having dogs in its Vancouver office is an easy way of calming stressed employees and he encourages his staff to bring in their four-legged friends.

Mika Holmes relaxes at the HootSuite office. (Twitter/@mikahoots)

Mika Holmes relaxes at the HootSuite office. (Twitter/@mikahoots)

HootSuite sales rep Kirsten Drayton brings her French bulldog Wally to work every day, and he can often be seen snoozing under her desk. She said having her dog with her means she’ll get outside a few times a day instead of eating lunch at her desk.

“Being able to bring Wally to work with me means I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving him home alone all day or incurring the expense of doggy daycare. It’s also just more fun having him here and he definitely improves my mood if I’m having a bad day,” she said.

HootSuite is among a growing chorus of Canadian companies choosing to go pet-friendly.

Almost 150 of the 1,300 employees at Electronic Arts have registered to bring their pet to work and on any given day there can be up to 150 dogs in its Burnaby complex.

Development director TJ Galda brings his Labrador Beau to the office every day.

“He gets countless belly rubs on any given day.  We have a ‘Dog Lovers’ group where everyone plays a role in making sure the rules are followed and are constantly looking for ways to improve the dog-friendliness of our campus,” he told Vancity Buzz.

“Here at EA Sports, being healthy and fit is part of our culture and going for a walk each day with your dog is a great way to be able to do so even on the days where you don’t have time to hit the gym or play a sport.”

Thousands of companies across North America will allow staff to bring their canines to the office this Friday for Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Pet Sitters International (PSI) started the annual event in 1999 as a way to encourage employers to experience the joy of pets in the workplace, celebrate what great companions dogs make – and encourage adoptions from local shelters and rescue groups.

Marketing Manager/Boston Terrier (Take Your Dog to Work Day)

Marketing Manager/Boston Terrier (Take Your Dog to Work Day)

Besides getting your dog out of the house, there are some compelling reasons for offices to go dog-friendly: Companies that participate report increased employee morale, decreased absenteeism and improved relationships between coworkers. It may also physically decrease the stress of office workers. A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.

It appears it’s an idea pet owners are getting behind. A survey from Modern Dog Magazine, whose Vancouver offices are VERY dog-friendly, revealed most people would make big trade-offs in order to be able to bring their dog with them to work: 54% of its readers would take a job for lesser pay.

Editor Jennifer Nosek brings her two miniature Dachshunds – Rose and Esther – and said “it’s much harder to be cranky or take yourself too seriously when there are dogs milling about doing goofy things.”

These two miniature Dachshunds – Rose and Esther - are a fixture at Modern Dog Magazine.

These two miniature Dachshunds – Rose and Esther – are a fixture at Modern Dog Magazine

But just because there’s a day designated for having dogs at work, don’t just assume your boss will be on board. Let your superiors know about the day, and make sure you have their consent before bringing your canine to the office.

Pet Sitters International offers a free action pack at to help sell your employer on becoming dog-friendly, even if it’s just for one day. It also provides the following tips for participating dog owners to ensure that everyone in a normally non dog-friendly office are happy for the day:

  • Dogs should be kept on a leash, unless in the employee’s office or cubicle
  • Use a baby gate to prevent dogs from leaving their office unsupervised
  • Specific areas, such as bathrooms or employee dining halls, should be designated as dog-free
  • Have a back-up plan for taking the dog home if he is not comfortable in the work environment

Having a calm, well-behaved dog in the office can go a long way to convince management and coworkers that having a pet-friendly office is a good idea.

The office dog at Duolynx Print in Langley.

The office dog at Duolynx Print in Langley.

Elsa/HR Manager (Take Your Dog to Work Day)

Elsa/HR Manager (Take Your Dog to Work Day)

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About the author

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Darcy Matheson is the founder of PetFundr, a crowdfunding site for animal welfare projects. Her first book, "Greening Your Pet Care," is available on Amazon and in major book and pet stores.
@darcynews

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