If you’re fortunate enough to work in an office that allows dogs at work — or if you’ve hit the jackpot and work at home, like me — then Friday, June 20, 2014 will be just another day for you.
But if your office normally is dog-free, Friday might be very special, indeed.
It’s the 13th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day.
Created in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, TYDTWD has a few dog-related goals:
- To show the dogless that they’re missing out on something terrific.
- To promote animal adoptions from shelters and rescues.
- To explore the health and productivity benefits of having pets in the workplace.
- To help employers lift employee moral.
Talk with your manager or human resources representative about the possibility of participating in TYDTWD. Although some companies might have policies that prevent companion animals in the workplace, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Pet Sitters International has put together a list of compelling reasons why pets are beneficial to employees in the workplace. Chief among them are increases in productivity, creativity and office harmony and decreases in absenteeism and smoking. If your boss is undecided, telling him people work longer hours when they bring their dogs to work might cause him to consider the event more carefully.
If your office is planning to celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day, a little advance planning will make the day flow much more smoothly. Here are 4 tips:
1. Broadcast the News
Make sure that everyone in your office knows that Friday is TYDTWD. Send out an email and post something in the break room. Once the word gets out, find out who’s allergic and make arrangements so that they aren’t affected by the day’s events.
2. Make a Guest List
Not all dogs have the right temperament to do well in an office, especially somewhere they’ve never been, and on a day when they’ll be exposed to lots of other dogs and people. Ask your co-workers to sign up if they plan to bring in their dogs, and make sure they know that their dogs will be expected to be quiet, well-behaved and potty trained.
Find out if any of the dogs have problems with other dogs, and either discourage their caretakers from bringing them in or temporarily relocate the person to an area where there aren’t any other dogs. If any kind of fight ensues, separate the dogs immediately and send them home.
3. Bring a Doggie Bag
Don’t come to TYDTWD empty-handed. To ensure that your dog is comfortable and safe, bring the following:
- Leash: Keep your dog on leash all day, even if you’re in a private room. You may need to catch him quickly if he bolts for the door or gets into a confrontation with another person or dog.
- Crate or exercise pen: Although not strictly necessary, bringing a containment device for your dog will give you a break from constantly monitoring him throughout the day.
- Food, treats & bowls: If your dog is on a special diet, post a sign on your cubicle wall letting people know they shouldn’t give him treats. Likewise, ask others before you give their dogs treats.
- Pet stain remover: Even if your dog is reliably housetrained, accidents still happen. Stay in the good graces of your boss and cleaning crew by cleaning up immediately.
- Poop bags: Set a good example and clean up after your dog when you’re walking him.
4. Follow the Rules
If everyone allows their dogs to roam willy-nilly, it’ll be chaos. Distribute a list of rules people will need to follow if they participate in TYDTWD.
- Well-mannered dogs only: If your dog can be a jerk from time to time, don’t press your luck. Leave him at home. The best way to make sure your office never participates in Take Your Dog to Work Day again is to allow your dog to act up and cause a scene.
- Only clean dogs allowed: Bathe your dog before the big day so he doesn’t stink up the place. If he makes a mess, clean it up immediately.
- No sickies! If your dog shows any symptoms of being under the weather, leave him at home. Bringing a sick dog to work will not only put the other dogs at risk, but also stress out your dog and possibly exacerbate his condition. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current, too.
- Puppy-proof the office: Move any poisonous plants and make sure your dog doesn’t have access to chemicals, power cords or anything else that might get him — or you — into trouble. Be sure to read my dog-proofing tips.
- Don’t be pushy: If people don’t want to play with your precious puppy, don’t force them to. Believe it or not, not everyone loves dogs as much as you do.
On the big day, don’t let the presence of your dog interfere with getting your work done. The idea of TYDTWD is to show employers the positive benefits of pets in the workplace, not that pets are time-wasters or excuses for slacking off.