As I typed on my laptop, I felt something touch my leg. Glancing down from my desk at work, two soft warm brown eyes met my gaze. His speckled snout lay on my foot, and then – whomp, whomp, whomp — went the tail.
Before last summer, I’d never had the pleasure of bringing my dog to work with me. Which is strange, because I worked in the parks field. You’d think if any place would be in favor of having your dog with you, it would be the people trusted to protect wildlife.
I knew my current work place was different when I arrived the first day to fill out my paperwork. Walking down the hallway, baby gates fit snugly across the openings of cubicles. Then I saw mounds of fur curled up in ball back in the corner. I would guess on any given day we have 6-12 dogs in the building.
The strange thing is you’d never know it. At my workplace, we are required to sign an agreement, stating that our dog is well behaved, no incessant barking, no running loose, and of course, friendly with people.
There’s something calming having Logan with me at work. My work can get stressful dealing with a lot of people, and I find having him with me to be calming. Plus, when I bring him to work, I’m forced to step away from my desk to take him out. Both of us benefit from stretching our legs with a stroll around the block. Instead of eating at my desk for lunch, he and I spend lunch time walking two miles on the Boulder Creek path. We both end up getting more exercise than if I’d left him at home.
Apparently, I’m not alone in reaping benefits from bringing my dog to work. Studies show lower levels of stress and better productivity from employees who bring their dog to work. I also find that it breeds better camaraderie and communication with my co-workers. They come to see me to pet Logan and we end up talking face-to-face rather than by email. Our receptionist is probably Logan’s biggest fan, providing him dog biscuits and pats on the head throughout the day.
I’ve always felt guilty about leaving our dogs alone for so much of the day when Bryon and I go to work. We don’t feel comfortable with a dog door, as it would potentially allow wild animals into our house. Paying a dog-sitter every day to take them out can add up fast to a significant expense. Bringing them to work alleviates my guilt and brings joy to my day.
While it’s still pretty unusual for organizations to allow this perk, more are catching on. As you might guess, companies like Purina and PetSmart encourage employees to bring their four-legged friends with them. But did you know that even mega huge companies like Amazon and Google are dog-friendly? Amazon estimates that more than 6,000 canines accompany employees to work at its offices around the country. Google even has its own term for Google employees who own dogs, calling them “Dooglers.” Dogs who come to work at its main campus in Mountain View, California even get their own badge.
The perk of taking the dogs to work is one of my favorite things about my current workplace. When my day goes awry and I’m feeling a bit exhausted, a wag of a tail and a lick of the tongue can make all the difference.