Therapy dogs are gaining in popularity globally. From the battlefield, to the classroom to hospitals and beyond, canines are going where no canines went before. From the days of never considering bringing your pet into the workplace, today there are several organizations and initiatives that actually encourage the practice. Today we will explore several and the benefits of the programs provided.
As part of Giving Tuesday on December 28, the Michigan Humane Society and Motor City shelter brought ten homeless and adoptable dogs to Cadillac Square in Detroit. Why? — so corporate types could take a break from their suit-and-tie job responsibilities to pet dogs! What an idea!
The event, titled ‘Pets for Pets’ was twofold. One, so they could comfort and be comforted in turn by these pups — and two, so they could make a donation to the Michigan Humane Society.
“We wanted to do something for #GivingTuesday that raised awareness for our cause but we also wanted to sort of give back to our supporters,” said Shaun Bailey, the humane society’s public relations specialist. “We thought the park downtown would be a great venue for foot traffic. We thought people might jump at the opportunity.”
People can often get stressed out during the holidays and be looking for a little compassion, and we thought this would be a pretty good opportunity to provide them with that,” added Bailey.
Alliance of Therapy Dogs
As a therapy dog organization, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs knows the benefits of having therapy dogs in the workplace. Having a therapy dog at the office can actually change the work dynamic from staid to proactive.
Some of the most successful companies in the world welcome therapy dogs on their premises. Companies such as Google, Amazon and Ben & Jerry’s are now recognized for their work culture and employee friendly and pet policies. Other businesses have actually gone as far as putting some of their stellar dog workers in charge. Build-a-Bear Workshop has promoted Milford to Chief Executive Dog, and P&G Petcare “employs” Euka, Vice President of Canine Communications.
According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study published in Spring 2012, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.
The study was conducted at a dinnerware company in North Carolina, which is now home to 20 to 30 dogs a day on its premises. Their research found average stress level scores fell about 11% among workers who had brought their dogs to work, while they increased 70% for those who did not. The study also found that pets triggered workplace interactions that would not normally take place.
Why Rethink your Pro-Pet Policies?
There are several reasons to rethink your company’s pet policies, namely, exercise, convenience and work/life balance.
It’s a known fact that exercise can aid in stress reduction. So, by adding dogs to employees’ running programs, Human Movement Management, a Louisville,Colorado active entertainment company, is banking on its pet policy to amp up employees’ workouts.
“We work long days and long hours,” says Jen Chappell, a customer service representative at Human Movement. “Having dogs around the office makes it fun, and makes us get out of the office and exercise.”
HMM president Jeff Suffolk, who’s Golden Retriever’s name is Brady, adds that employees also value the convenience of being able to take their furry friends out for their mid-day walk themselves rather than having to hire a dog walker.
“I always felt like if we had the conveniences of our homes, that we would never dread coming to the office,” Suffolk says.
Also, dogs contribute to a work/life balance. As a software application development company, employees at Indianapolis’ Inverse-Square often work an excessive number of hours. By bringing pets to work to act as therapy dogs, it allows for the time to pass at a more enjoyable clip, noted Bob Baird, the company’s president and founder. “With dogs around, it is too hard to get bent out of shape.”
So readers, does your dog ‘sub’ as a therapy dog by joining you at work? If your work environment welcomes dogs, please comment below and tell us about your programs and some of the benefits they offer the employees. Share your shaggy dog stories — or short-haired stories for that matter. We would love to hear them!
Primary Source: Therapy Dogs in the Workplace