Friday, June 21 is Take Your Dog to Work day

Under DeskCompanies see benefits when furry friends visit the office
Friday marks the 15th annual celebration of Take Your Dog to Work Day. Although not all companies participate and employers are advised to ensure staff concerns such as allergies are addressed, studies show having pets in the workplace can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve collaboration and trust, and employers say they think having an animal around helps customers and businesses connect. The Oregonian (Portland) (6/14)

June 21 is the 15th annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” created by Pet Sitters International to introduce employees to the benefits of dog ownership and promote adoptions from local shelters and rescue groups.

Companies that want to include other species can take part in “Take Your Pet to Work Week” June 17-21.

Even in pooch-friendly Portland, not every company allows pets in the workplace every day. Some find that allowing their employees to take their pets to the office during the annual “holiday” decreases stress, boosts morale and may even be good for business.

“Most people do like dogs, whether they have one or not,” says Lori Venneberg, human resources operations manager for Beaverton-based Digimarc Corporation. “It just improves mood, cuts the tension, and it doesn’t necessarily interfere with productivity. In fact, it kind of reduces stress level.”

Recent research backs her up. A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study found that having dogs at work reduced levels of cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress. Another study by researchers at Central Michigan University revealed that the presence of dogs established a sense of employee collaboration and trust.

Digimarc participated in Take Your Dog to Work Day for the first time last year. Venneberg, who worked previously in a dog-friendly office, had heard about the day and thought it would be fun to implement at her current company.

The management did some homework first by identifying potential issues, such as allergies or a fear of dogs, and determined that employees with those concerns could choose to work from home that day.

The participants signed a liability waiver and agreed to bring dogs that were flea-free and current on vaccinations.

All employees had the chance to interact with the dogs during an ice-cream social, and the dog owners received a “doggie bag” filled with paw towels and poop bags and treats.

 Buster participates in Take Your Dog to Work Day at Digimarc Corporation.Lori Venneberg

“We had no accidents, nobody got in fight, it all went off very smoothly and was a very big hit,” says Venneberg, who brought her own dog, Buster.

The day went so well last year that the company is offering it again this year.

At Honda’s Northwest Training Center in Northeast Portland, technical training coordinator Monte Wolverton looks forward to bringing his Yorkie, Teddy, again to work this year.

Last year on Take Your Dog to Work Day, Wolverton found that Teddy served as a conversation starter during a training session with students from dealerships around the Northwest.

Wolverton also found that the dog’s presence reminded him to take necessary breaks.

“Sometimes, you get so focused on your job, but the dog has to take a break outside once in awhile,” he points out, “so it’s kind of a good refocus.”

Even at a cat shelter, a dog’s presence can be welcome.

Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood doesn’t participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day, but executive director Karen Green does bring her newly adopted yellow Lab, Sunny, in from time to time, which helps remind her to take breaks and get some fresh air.

“We’re considering creating a pets-in-the-workplace policy,” she says.

She points out that dogs could actually benefit shelter staff by helping to socialize the cats with canines and determining which cats like dogs, providing helpful knowledge for potential adopters.

Before implementing such a policy, Green says, it’s important to ask staff for input and make sure all concerns are addressed. Not all pets are suitable for the workplace, and vice-versa.

Those companies that do allow pets, either on a part-time or permanent basis, say that having animals around benefits not only employees but also their business.

“I think it’s wise from a business aspect,” says Bethany Sutherland, a commercial account manager at Hecht & Hecht Insurance Agency Inc., where company president Evelyn Hecht brings her dog regularly.

“It provides common ground for a lot of our clients, because a lot of our clients are dog owners,” Sutherland points out. “It’s a nice ice-breaker, and it kind of humanizes us, because it shows that we’re people, and we have lives outside of what we do for a living.”

Hecht & Hecht will participate in the “holiday” for the first time this year, and Sutherland is excited about the chance to spend her work day with her 7-month-old golden retriever, Ruby.

Dogs aren’t the only animals that can connect with clients, however.

Every day is ‘take your pet to work day’ for Paul McGill and Baxter at PondCrafters and YardBirds in Southeast Portland. Paul McGill

Paul McGill, owner of PondCrafters & YardBirds in Southeast Portland, says his two shop cats are very popular with customers and help his store to stand out.

McGill initially adopted Baxter, a gray tabby, as an inexpensive alternative to exterminating the mice that were getting into his fish food. When Baxter got lonely, he adopted Stella, and the two felines became fast friends. Now, McGill can’t imagine working without them. Neither, it seems, can his customers.

McGill notes that his return clients typically ask about the cats, tell him what they need and then ask how he’s doing – in that order.

He recommends any retail business with the potential to be pet-friendly to consider cats.

“My customers absolutely love the fact that we have cats in the store,” he says.

Tips to make sure Take Your Dog to Work Day goes smoothly:

  • Keep your dog on a leash unless he’s confined in your office or cubicle.
  • Use a baby gate to make sure your dog doesn’t dash out of your office.
  • Designate “dog-free” zones, such as bathrooms or employee eating areas.
  • Have a back-up plan that allows you to take your dog home if he’s not comfortable with you at work.


Dogs that are appropriate to take to work should:

  • Enjoy meeting new people and visiting new places
  • Get along well with other dogs or pets
  • Walk well on a leash
  • Be able to negotiate stairs and elevators, if your office has them
  • Be comfortable “settling down” in a crate or on a mat
  • Greet people without jumping on them

2 Responses to “Friday, June 21 is Take Your Dog to Work day”

  1. Frank Grant says:

    If your dog has pancreatitis, you likely have an understanding of the seriousness of this condition. As with many things in life, prevention is key. Before we explore the topic of pancreatic disease, let’s talk about how miraculous this organ truly is. Think about this. The pancreas is relatively small organ.

  2. Margret Willis says:

    With chronic pancreatitis, there may not be any symptoms. On occasion you could see slight cases of vomiting or diarrhea. With this, a slightly elevated pancreatic enzyme level could be found.

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