It’s becoming much more commonplace for people to take their dog to work with them. Many businesses now proudly claim they are a dog-friendly workplace. In fact, it can give employers a competitive edge when recruiting new staff.
But think about it: “take your dog to work”, “dog-friendly” or “pet-friendly. All these phrases are singular! What about all the households that have two (or more!) dogs? Can you take them both to work and still be friends with your boss and colleagues?
Paws N’ All sat down with accounts manager Carolyn McIntyre who, at the time we spoke with her, had been commuting to work with her two German Shepherds Arya (6) and Bronson (1, pictured main) for the best part of a year. We asked how she finds taking her two dogs to work at the same time and what advice she would give to others contemplating doing the same:
How long have Arya and Bronson been coming to work with you?
Arya first came to work with me when she was eight months old and Bronson has been coming to work (with Arya) since he was two months old.
What made you start taking them to work?
I originally started bringing Arya to work as she was an entire female and came into season. I didn’t want to leave her at home, even though we have a fully fenced property.
Since then, I often bring my dogs into work – when they are ill or had an operation or just when something is happening at home and I don’t want to leave them there alone.
What did you have to with your employer before bringing them to the office?
I asked for – and received – permission from my employers prior to bringing them into work. I also checked with all my work colleagues. But luckily they are all animal lovers, so there were no problems.
Also, I used to bring in sheets to cover the carpet on the floor, so as to minimise any dog hair being left on the floor.
Was it difficult to adjust when you first started bringing both pups to work?
Since Arya has been coming for such a long time, and she is such a well-behaved girl, she knows that while we are at work she needs to be quiet. She gets her reward with play time when we get home.
Bronson first came in when he was two months old. He went around and introduced himself to everyone, but then followed Arya’s lead and just lay down and slept most of the day.
So now they come to work and it’s quiet time, with a few wee walks, throughout the day.
How do you ensure they are not a distraction to you or others?
They are kept in my office with the door shut and generally they are very well behaved while they are here.
What difference does it make to you having them both there with you?
I can be more focussed on my work rather than worrying about what might be happening to them at home. They just add more joy to my day!
What difference has it made for them being with you rather than potentially home alone?
I don’t know the answer to that one. I do know that German Shepherds are very pack-oriented dogs and so love being with their family.
I believe they would much prefer to be sitting here quietly at work with me than running amok at home alone.
What has been the most difficult adjustment?
When it’s nearly time to go home (and they somehow know when that is), I don’t like to get up and walk around much as they think we are leaving. So I try to limit my movements as much as possible.
And what have been the benefits?
They have become a great de-stresser for some of my work colleagues. I have had colleagues come into my office and say that they just need some puppy cuddles. It’s a great way to put the smile back on anyone’s face.
If lockdowns forced you to work from home, how did they adjust to that?
I haven’t worked in this job from home, but I do do my husband’s business accounts from home. Arya and Bronson behave the same way there.
When we go into the room I use as an office, they lie down and go to sleep. In return, they get play time once I have finished what I am doing.
Overall, what has it been like for you and your workplace to have multiple dogs there at the same time?
I have to say that I have been very lucky in a lot of respects – my dogs are pretty well behaved, I have an office where I can close the door if necessary and I have great bosses and work mates. I love my dogs very much, so it makes me happy to have them here with me. But without any one of these, the whole experience would be vastly different.
I think it has also been a lot of fun for my work colleagues to watch them growing up. They might not see them for a month or two and they can’t believe the difference!
What advice would you give to others who may be thinking about taking their dogs to work?
I believe dogs make a happier workplace by making staff happier and less stressed. I would recommend taking your dogs to work with you.
But you have to consider your work colleagues [and] the environment you are working in: Is there somewhere for them to sleep/drink/go to the toilet/quiet [time]? And what type of dog [do] you have (noisy and unsettled or quiet and well behaved)?