by Monster Staff
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but should they be allowed in the workplace? Fully 68 percent who voted in a recent Monster Meter Poll said no. But when we asked Monster members to tell us about their experiences with dogs at work, we heard about dogs that reduced stress, created rapport and sniffed out some shady job applicants. On the flip side, many of you recounted more unpleasant experiences with pooches on work premises. In the run-up to Take Your Dog to Work Day, here’s a sampling of what you had to say about dogs in the workplace:
Dogs in the Home Office
I work from home, so my 3-pound Yorkie sits on my lap all day while I am at the computer. He is an excellent companion and always has good input on clients. If he gives me the look, I know they are probably writing me a hot check. If he goes on them, that’s actually a good sign, because he trusts them enough to get that close.
I work at home and my dog is my constant companion. She lets me know when DHL and FedEx are at the door, keeps me from sitting at my desk too long by reminding me it's time to get some fresh air and helps me relax as I see her sleeping while I work. Woof!
An Instinct for Good Hires
I owned my own business for six years, and I always took my two Maltese to work with me. My oldest, Dolce, was the best judge of character I had ever seen. He loved almost everyone, but when there was someone he didn’t like, that person ended up being less-than-honest every time. I hired based on his instincts after he had judged several ex-employees. From that time on, I was never sorry I hired who he liked! We all called him head of human resources.
I have worked as an executive assistant in an upscale office in a private residence for years. I've been fortunate to have the frequent company of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels during the workday. Often, when the stress levels run high, I've taken a few minutes to pet and hug the dogs. I can almost feel my blood pressure going down. I am an advocate for dogs at the office -- as long as they’re well-behaved!
I truly believe that our four-legged friends can promote a healthy working environment and better relations between coworkers. I have personally witnessed coworkers on very uncommon ground bond over an animal and strengthen a rocky relationship.
I work at a hospice facility. Pets visiting their beloved human in their last hours bring much joy to many of these people. Of course, the staff enjoys them as much as their owners. We even have a little dog puppet at the nurses’ station that barks like a real dog. It always makes people smile.
I am a social worker. Part of my job is to visit clients in their homes to make sure their needs are being met. In probably greater than 50 percent of the homes I visit, there are animals, mainly dogs with a few cats. I have seen how having a dog brings so much comfort, companionship and entertainment to these people who are confined to their homes unless someone takes them out to eat or to a store. The pets are a vital part, I believe, in maintaining a positive outlook, having less loneliness and depression, and in actual protection.
I think dogs offer a wonderful and beneficial effect to the elderly, and I am glad I can see this dog/owner relationship at work while on my job.
Then There Are the Accidents…
I really do like my boss’s dog, but if he wanders into the warehouse and “goes,” my boss expects the workers there to clean it up. I don’t think that’s fair. The dog has also bitten a customer before, so I’m just waiting for the liability suit.
A colleague’s dog ate some Gorilla Glue. It expands with water. Had to take the dog to the vet to surgically remove the large blob of glue in its stomach. The dog almost died.
A woman I used to work with owned a young bull terrier. She brought it to work one day, and while it seemed friendly enough to everyone else, it tried to tear the throat out of an employee. If the owner had not had a death grip on the dog’s leash, we probably would have been driving this employee to the hospital or morgue. I guess the moral of the story is to leave the dog at home unless it has a very pleasant disposition.
Dogs and Productivity: Pro and Con
I have coworkers who spend more time on smoke breaks than I would have to spend taking my dog out for relief, so there would be no interference with productivity. As a matter of fact, having my dog in the office allows me to work overtime without having to run home and let him out.
I work for a company run out of the owner’s home. They have a large dog that is there all the time. He barks at the least little sound, which makes phone conversations difficult. He will interrupt your work by nudging you or sitting on your feet until you pet him. I know the owner doesn’t mind, but I feel that I am not using my time wisely.
I had to bring my dog to work one day last year when it had a serious medical issue. I pulled up a second chair next to my desk, covered it with an afghan and Charly watched me work all day. My clients loved it!
That being said, I'm not sure that it would be a great idea if everyone brought their dogs to work as a matter of course. Dogs are a lot like people with different personalities -- some get along with everyone and some with no one. Also, other people in the workplace may be either afraid of dogs or allergic to them. Bottom line: Work is just that -- work, not home.
Taking a Bite Out of Credibility
I took my white puffball Havanese puppy to work, because I was the new girl in a sales organization and I wanted the support staff to see me in a nonthreatening way. When my manager asked me to go in his office to discuss operations, I had the dog in my arms in a baby blanket. Our discussion turned into a match about who was right about a procedure. With the dog in my arms, my point of view, which turned out to be correct, didn’t go over very credibly. I never brought my dog in again.
Dogs belong in the workplace about as much as some people do. That said, my dog does better in the workplace than I do. She is so patient and tolerant when we are interrupted for a pet, a casual visit or some time-consuming story about another animal. She does not even mind when people trip over her or disregard her and then act like we are in the wrong. “It's a dog!” they exclaim. “They let DOGS in here?” It's all I can do not to snap back, “Well they let YOU in here, didn't they?”
If there is one thing we could all learn from having well-behaved dogs in the workplace it would be to slow down. Don't take everything so seriously. Enjoy each step of the journey the workday brings. Don't be judgmental. Take a nap (or two or three) throughout the day. Be nice to everyone. Most of all: Enjoy it or sleep through it!