Over our nearly 65 year history, we have been big and small but in our latest visage, we are a little different than most. As our work environment has changed and dress code policies relaxed, we have also embraced being pet-friendly – ok, and not to put too fine a point on it – we are especially dog-friendly. It isn’t uncommon at all to find two or three dogs roaming around the office, helping with creative inspiration and acting as ambassadors of goodwill.
Why do we do it? We allow pets because we love them and what they bring to our work environment. A majority of our employees have dogs and love to share their lives with us the way some people enjoy sharing stories about their children. But unlike children who require a high level of supervision, dogs are free-floating spirits of kindness and calm that can function pretty much on their own. You can be having a challenging day or creative block and a simple wet nose reminding you it is time for a small treat can change your entire attitude.
We also find that dogs are incredible icebreakers. They are adept at inspiring conversation between employees that are new to the company or the department. People can attribute any persona they want to a dog based on a positive interaction but there is always a happy hello and smile when staff encounters a pet partner, which carries over into employee interaction. But we are probably different than many pet-friendly offices in that we allow dogs that have proven themselves behaviorally to roam free throughout the agency, making their daily rounds of greetings or joining employees in the lounge for break.
There is no single right approach to pets at work. We have a policy regarding pets that is highly adaptive, which only happens because we have employee buy-in on policy/practices and we practice a high level of respect in applying the “program”. We also have pet owners that are very much in tune with their pets and know which pets are better left at home or that do not mix well with other pets.
Pets are very much an expression of their owner’s personality and by default a reflection of our agency’s personality. If you visit us, you may be greeted by one or more of our pets including a Golden Retriever, a Jack Russell Terrier, a Border Collie, a Havanese, a Lab mix, a Maltese mix, and on a rare occasion, a very beautiful grey cat. Like us, they are eager to welcome you in to meet the team and get to work. They make us all happy and most of all they keep us smiling.