Dogs make our lives at home happier, so wouldn’t it be great if they could do the same at our workplace? That’s why we’re encouraging dog lovers everywhere to join businesses across the country on Friday, June 25, as they open their doors to a canine celebration of the 11th annual Pet Sitters International Take Your Dog To Work Day™.
This year’s theme is “Go Furry,” and we want every dog to go to work — with us! We’ve fetched tips to help you make the day a successful celebration of our best furry friends.
Get the green light
If your company hasn’t participated before, this is the year to start. Try these techniques to get your boss on board.
Find strength in numbers. Talk to fellow dog lovers in the office to get an idea of how many people might participate, and approach your boss with a plan.
Need more compelling numbers? According to a 2008 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey, nearly one in five companies allow pets in the workplace; workers believe bringing pets boosts morale and improves working relationships; and 34 million people who bring their pets to the office also work longer hours.
“It’s a great benefit that doesn’t have a great cost,” says Jeanine Falcon, vice president of human resources for Replacements, Ltd., a dinnerware supplier in Greensboro, N.C., where employees’ pets have been welcome for over a decade. “Who doesn’t smile when they see a puppy?”
Start small. “Have a pilot day,” says Falcon, whose company welcomes dogs daily, and has also hosted cats, rabbits, and even an iguana. “Try it on a slow day, half-day, Friday — or just try it for a morning.” That way you can gauge what kind of pet presence works for your organization.
Don’t despair. If your boss just won’t budge, propose an alternative celebration. Beth Stultz, marketing specialist for Pet Sitters International, suggests other activities to commemorate the day: “People can bring in pictures of their canine companions, you can host a hot dog lunch to benefit a local shelter, or throw a pet-friendly party after business hours.”
Once you have the OK, it’s time to get ready. Try to cover all your bases, and don’t forget the details.
Be considerate. “Check with management and coworkers to find out if anyone is allergic to or afraid of dogs,” Stultz says. If anyone is uncomfortable with dogs, avoid forcing interaction. Stultz recommends using a baby gate to keep dogs in workspaces or designating a dog-free zone such as a meeting room or cafeteria. And all dogs should be in good health, up-to-date on shots, and well-mannered, Stultz says.
Prep work. Dog-proof your workspace by removing hazards like poisonous plants or electrical cords. “Prepare a doggie bag with food, treats, bowls, or any items your dog will need,” Stultz says. Create a schedule for the day, planning feeding times and potty breaks.
Educate others. Use the day to promote animal adoption and the efforts of local shelters. Hold a fundraiser and have information available about adoptable dogs, Stultz says. Let your own dog be a canine ambassador to introduce others to the joys of ownership.
Celebrate good times
Now’s the time to get the party started. Contemplate the “Go Furry” theme for inspiration, and keep the following in mind:
Be creative. “In the past, we have partnered with PSI and done an adoption fair and pet first-aid [classes],” Falcon says. “We also make goodie bags for the dogs.”
Stultz says other businesses have come up with a variety of activities, from hiring a pet photographer, organizing dog parades and fashion shows to contests for best trick, friendliest canine coworker, and dog/owner look-alikes.
Enjoy the day. “Having pets around really does bring joy to your workplace, and it creates a great connection between employees,” Falcon says.
Make the celebration an enjoyable event, and hopefully your pooch will be welcome year-round.
Want more ideas?
Host a successful Pet Sitters International Take Your Dog To Work Day™ by visiting www.takeyourdog.com, where you can find useful planning tools, celebration suggestions, training tips, and more.
Katy French is the assistant editor of DOG FANCY.