It's a Dog-Eat-Dog World
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE EXCLUDES CAT-LOVERS- IF YOU ARE NOT A DOG-PERSON LOOK AWAY NOW. A little fluff piece on bringing dogs into the office.
Have you ever thought that life would be so much easier if you were a dog? All you have to do is sleep, eat, walk and repeat. You have no worries, stresses or responsibilities. Well, unless you are Vice President of Canine Communications at one of the largest companies in the world.
Procter and Gamble’s Pet Care department employed labrador, Euka, for more than 50 dog years. A retirement party was held in her honour in 2012, and her successor Pawl Griffin was inaugurated with a presentation of the official company badge and bandanas of his brands (IAMs, Eukanuba and Natura Pet Foods). Life for Euka and Pawl wasn’t all a walk in the park. They had some pretty heavy responsibilities around the office. Euka was the official greeter of office visitors, attendee of corporate events and industry activities, supervisor of numerous shelter makeovers and educator of school children about how best to take care of animals. Most importantly, she played a large role in office wellbeing.
It has been proven that petting an animal relieves stress, releasing endorphins that produce a calming effect. Cuddling a pet can also actually reduce blood-pressure and improve cardiovascular health. So it’s no surprise that some cutting-edge offices are introducing dogs into the workplace. Companies such as Google, Amazon, the Build-A-Bear Workshop and Ben & Jerry’s are renowned for their progressive, friendly work cultures and ethics. All of these companies have dog-friendly policies, enabling employees to bring their furry friends into the office (providing they are on a lead, they behave, and wear their best collars).
Ben & Jerry’s calls them K9-5ers:
“Here at Ben & Jerry's, we love our dogs almost as much as we love our ice cream (okay, maybe the same amount). That's why we are proud to have dog-friendly offices, where we welcome our "K9-5ers" to join their humans at work each day. Members of the K9 crew start their day with a pup-friendly treat at the reception desk, and enjoy plenty of pets, cuddles, and walks throughout the day. It's a "ruff" life for this pack of K9 pals, to be sure. But as any Ben & Jerry's-er will tell you, having their furry friend by their side during the day makes all this hard ice cream work all the sweeter.”
While this seems like a PR fad, bringing pets to work has actually been shown to boost morale, start conversations, reduce stress, and even increase productivity. In a wider context, pet therapy has become a popular treatment for those struggling with a wide variety of physical or mental health issues.
The goals of a pet therapy program can include:
improving motor skills and joint movement
improving assisted or independent movement
increasing verbal communication
developing social skills
increasing willingness to join in activities
improving interactions with others
Whilst some of these applications aren’t transferable to the workplace, it highlights that something as simple and easy as a dog cuddle or walk can have an incredible impact on wellbeing.
Don't have a dog? Don't worry! You can borrow one. There are now online communities set up so you can borrow a dog for a walk, or a weekend, giving you a fix of puppy love, whilst helping out its owner.
The main message here is: never underestimate the little things. Just put one paw in front of the other and take small steps towards wellbeing. But if you want to introduce your pooch into your office, be sure to ask the permission of your boss, and check on the allergies of your coworkers.
By Grace Proctor,
Content Editor, Let's Reset.