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Take your pet to work

February 20, 2013 - Jodelle Greiner
I am an Animal Planet junkie and at times, they will feature people who bring their pets to work. It’s a popular trend and one many employers are encouraging.

I googled “dogs at work” and found a whole bunch of hits. One that caught my eye was from WTVR in Richmond, Va., which filed a report on the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications “iPadJournos” mobile and social media journalism project. The students’ study found that bringing dogs to work lowers stress and increases employee satisfaction. (See

“The overall results generally are that pets in the workplace may provide a buffer to the stress that occurs throughout the day, not only for individuals that bring their dogs to work but for the entire workplace in terms of enhancing their job satisfaction overall,” said Dr. Sandra Barker, the director of VCU’s Center for Human-Animal Interaction, to WTVR.

With more layoffs, employees having to work more hours and get more done with less resources, stress is rampant in the workplace these days. It makes sense that more employers are becoming more lenient about allowing pets in the workplace, an effort to keep the employees they’ve got.

Personally, I’m a farmgirl and grew up with dogs and cats. Unfortunately, since I rent, I can’t have pets (see “Pets are good for us” on the Sentinel’s website I have no problem with pets in the workplace — it would probably be good for me to have something furry to calm me down when my computer is crawling along — but I can see where some people might have an legitimate objection.

People with allergies should certainly speak up and let employers know they can’t tolerate a pet in their vicinity — some people are so allergic even secondary contact could set off their allergies. Those with phobias should also speak up and alert their employer if they can’t be in the presence of a certain type of animal. A good point made by the WTVR article is that all pets should be well-trained and up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Tolerance works both ways: those who don’t own pets might want to give an animal in the workplace a try. Who knows, you might be converted to a furry frame of mind.

Employers should talk to their employees and find out what they’re all thinking and try to accommodate where they can. Most importantly, employers should set a policy everyone can live with and stick to it.


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