‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’ should be spark for more companies to offer pooch-friendly options

Dogs in Office Chairs

Pasadena Humane, a pet-friendly workplace, allows staff members to bring their well-behaved dogs to work. Jude and Hazel greet visitors in the Shelter Shop.

Arguably, one of the biggest challenges for pet parents who do not work remotely is leaving their pets at home to go to work. Staring into those sad, puppy dog eyes while heading out the door is enough to leave some pet parents with lingering guilt that lasts the entire workday.

“Take Your Dog to Work Day,” celebrated this year on June 24, is a welcome reprieve for many guilt-ridden pet parents and their dogs.

At Pasadena Humane, we’ve allowed staff to bring their pets into the workplace for decades. Team members with their own offices, and those who share with amenable colleagues, have the benefit of bringing their well-behaved dogs to work.

Unfortunately, because of her boundless love for people and animals, my dog Sueshi does not always meet the definition of “well-behaved.” Her exuberant greetings — characterized by jumps of glee and a high-pitched, astonishingly loud bark — are often misunderstood. So, Sueshi usually stays home with my husband Pierce, who works remotely.

Luckily, there is no shortage of other well-behaved staff dogs who work as greeters, like Jude and Hazel in the Shelter Shop, or Luca, an 80-pound Bernedoodle who welcomes volunteers in the foster office. Terrier/poodle mixes Jack and Gizmo keep our administrative functions running smoothly as Jr. Accountant and Jr. Human Resources Specialist, respectively. At the same time, Jasmine, a spaniel mix belonging to a member of our outreach team, brings joy to the kids in our youth programs.

Pasadena Humane isn’t alone in our pet-friendly workplace policies. While you might expect pet-focused companies like PetSmart, Petco and Purina to be pet-friendly workplaces, tech giants such as Amazon, Airbnb and Uber have also long touted pets at work as an employee benefit. At Googleplex, Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, “Dooglers,” or dogs belonging to Google employees, even have their own dog park, the Doogleplex.

The good news for many pet owners is that one of the anticipated benefits of a post-pandemic world is an increase in dog-friendly workplaces. As pet owners worked from home during the pandemic, it became clear that spending more time with Spot or Fido was mutually beneficial.

It’s estimated that more than 23 million Americans adopted a new pet during the pandemic. A 2021 study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital reported that 63% of pet owners were concerned how their pets would cope when they returned to the office. That same study found that more than half of the 500 top executives they interviewed planned to allow pets into the office.

Allowing pets at work brings substantial benefits to both workers and the company. A pet’s presence in the office helps relieve stress, improves communication and increases productivity. Pet owners report a better work/life balance and higher job satisfaction when they are allowed to bring their dogs to work.

As an employer, there are many things to consider before allowing pets at work. Make sure to build consensus among your employees and make considerations for allergies. Create clear guidelines and policies for office pets. Scope out a pet-friendly outdoor area and consider how to “dogify” your indoor workspace. Then, HAVE FUN!

And if you’re looking for a new work buddy, we’ve got you covered. Stop by our “Free Adoption Day” event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 25 (adoption fees are waived for all available dogs, cats and “critters”). No adoption appointment is needed. View adoptable pets at pasadenahumane.org/pets

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on June 24, 2022.