I know I speak for most pet parents when I say that I’m happiest when my dogs, Jake and Betty, are by my side. I’d like to think the same sentiment applies for my dogs, but I secretly suspect they only put up with me for the services I provide. Regardless, I’m at my best when I’m with them.
I’m fortunate to be part of an organization where pets are warmly welcomed in the workplace. This has made all the difference for my quality of life, as well as Jake and Betty’s. At San Diego Humane Society, our employees are encouraged to bring pets to work with them because we know how beneficial this is for the animals, their parents and even other staff around the office. Anyone with a heart for animals – and I’d argue even those without – benefits tremendously from the joy and thrill of animal interactions. For me, my animals center me in the office in a way that nothing else can. They don’t care what kind of day I’m having; they just want to be there with me. And I don’t have to do anything but glance at them occasionally and maybe give them a pat. That is very low maintenance.
Now a confession: this relationship has led to some pretty serious codependency. I am happiest with my dogs. To the point that I don’t really want to go anywhere without them. Now, that’s not practical, but at least I don’t have to make that decision my workplace. Just last week, there were ten dogs, two rats, and a parrot hanging out in the offices around me. I couldn’t have been happier. And believe me, it makes a difference. In fact, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that supports this claim. The presence of animals in a workplace setting is proven to improve morale, reduce stress, strengthen creativity and productivity and can even enhance collaboration amongst co-workers.
Our friends at Petco last month announced the launch of National Pets @ Work Day in an effort to raise awareness about the symbiotic benefits of having pets at work. We admire and applaud Petco’s efforts to advance pet-friendly workplace policies across the nation, because we know firsthand how impactful this progressive model can be. And, given San Diego Humane Society’s mission to inspire compassion, National Pets @ Work Day strongly aligns with the work we do to help people and animals in our community.
I sincerely hope that my vote of confidence in the pet-friendly workplace model will encourage businesses here in our community and across the country to embrace a similar policy. Even if it’s just one day a week, I know you’ll see significant improvements in the overall welfare of employees and the beloved companion animals who rely on them, even if you go through a dozen more lint rollers than you ever thought you’d ever use.
As for me, once I get in to the office, my dogs or at least one of them, immediately rushes down the hall to pick up treats and pats from everyone. That’s her job and she takes it very seriously. But we’re all better for it. Including the shelters. As pet-friendly workspaces become more common, we’ll lose yet one more barrier preventing adoption. You can’t use work as an excuse not to get to a dog, or cat, or rat, or guinea pig, or macaw. You can take them all with you.