BY Richard Norris

DATE: 22 JUN 2018


Today is #BringYourDogToWorkDay. A great idea. Not just for today, but for every day.

Did you bring yours?

The benefits of a dog in the workplace are mostly untold. Yet, dogs are harbingers of happiness, health, and humour at work, as well as at rest and play.

If you own a dog, have ever owned a dog or know someone who owns a dog, you know dogs bring fun and adventure. Ask anyone with a dog and they will passionately affirm that a dog adds to your life. Dogs are co-creators of and catalysts for amazing memories and moments. And they can bring all of that to your workplace too.

When I was a veterinarian, no matter where I worked, staff dogs were part of the establishment. They added character, calm and, only occasionally, comedic chaos.

When I was in the army, many officers brought their dogs to work. Just about every office I ever walked into had a dog. Labradors. Jack Russells. Cairn Terriers. Lurchers. Border Collies. Staffies. Some stayed under their masters’ desks, some roamed seeking attention - be it for a scratch, a pat, or scrounging for food. Still some made a beeline for any visitor, regardless of rank, with a wagging tail, a lolling tongue and a general attitude of welcome. Some, like my Zulu, did all of the above.

The Scottish company, Brew Dog, proclaim that staff dogs make the workplace more chilled and relaxed. They are so dog-friendly, that they have even introduced a week’s paw-ternity leave for those with new pups or pets. Love it!!

Now dogs at work shouldn’t be the exception. Why not make them the rule?!

In case you’re not convinced yet…let’s consider just three of the benefits of bringing a dog to work that you’d be barking mad not to consider. You and your workplace will be:

1. Happier.

A simple formula for happiness at work is: (People + Office) x Dog = Happiness.

Whatever workplace I’ve been in where there’s been at least one dog, generally, the people are a lot happier. A dog disrupts patterns of behaviour and attitudes that are unhealthy and/or unhelpful. Happiness is a natural by-product of having a dog around.

Guaranteed, they will slowly and surely slip under even the guard of the strongest resistor and create subtle rebellion of playful productivity and creative calm. See below.

2. Healthier.

Studies abound on how having a pet helps improve the recovery and reduces the rates or recurrence in heart attack victims. Medical trials monitoring people’s blood pressure and heart rates showed significant reductions simply by putting a dog in the room. I recall watching a documentary on dogs being allowed in prisons as pets. The rates of violence dropped markedly.

Extrapolating from these reports, dogs lower stress and incite calm. What would the impact and influence of a dog in your office be?

Before you say anything, yes, dogs require exercise and loo breaks. And that’s a good thing. An office dog or two can get those desk jockeys out and about to get their 10,000 steps a day. A healthier workforce, means less sick days, less absence, greater productivity and, thus, greater results.

Just a thought…

Why not set an office dog-walking rota? Or have dog-walking meetings? These might just catch on!

3. Friendlier

Dogs can teach us a lot about relationship-building. They are peerless masters at making the emotional connection and have amazing emotional intelligence.

My old dog Biscuit knew when I was stressed out or when I needed a distraction or break. She would sidle up to me and worm her head into my lap, give me those sad brown eyes and BOOM! she had me! My problems faded away and she became my focus. Once she had it, she always made the most of it. A walk. Food. Cuddle time. It didn’t matter, but it was very telling and tangible. Our bond just grew stronger.

Today, we live in the age of social media, but, as I’m sure we have all witnessed, social media can at times be very anti-social and impede our ability to emotionally connect with our fellow humans. In the office, social media can be a bane to relationship and team building.

But a dog is the best social media out there. A dog genuinely connects people. A dog is a magnet for attention.

By nature, dogs are not lone wolves, they are pack animals. They like to be part of a social group, to make and have friends. And they will work doggedly (sorry for the pun) for you to join their pack. The only caveat is you must give them time and TLC. They will happily spend as much time with you as you can spare. And, often, you will find you will look for more reasons, real or imagined, to spend time with them.

To be a friend, you must first be friendly. Dogs know this. Dogs are faithful friends forever. They will never leave you nor forsake you.

A true friend is authentic, always. With a dog, what you see is what you get. No hidden agendas. No mixed messages. Their body language is always aligned with what they are thinking or feeling. Can that be said of all of our other friends?

Whilst dogs are deemed man’s best friend, they are also your own in-house counsellors. They listen intently. They never pass judgement. A dog you can trust with your most personal secrets and struggles. They keep 100% of all conversations and confessions confidential.

Now, take your dog by the collar. #BringYourDogToWorkDay. Today and, hopefully, ever after. Be happier. Be healthier. Be friendlier.


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