If you’re like me, you probably know someone who has taken their pet to work. For that matter, you might have yourself showed up to work once or twice with your pet. And, if you’re like me, you may even be vaguely aware that there’s an official calendar day for taking your pet to work. But that’s where my knowledge ended. And so, as I prepared to write this post, I got a little bit of an education.
Take Your Pet to Work Day was created “to show our love for our pets by taking them to work with us”. It also encourages adoptions from shelters and rescue groups. So far, no real surprise. What I didn’t know is that this calendar date was established by Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters.
Take Your Pet to Work Day was first celebrated in 1996 in the United Kingdom and 1999 in the United States. An estimated 200 to 300 businesses participated in the inaugural celebration. Take Your Pet to Work Day is an annual event and is always celebrated on the Friday after Father’s Day.
This special day isn’t just for dogs, but also includes cats and other pets. Although companies aren’t required to register to participate, PSI says its tracking tools indicate that involvement continues to grow, with hundreds of thousands of visitors exploring its website annually.
DogTime offers some tips to employees who are fortunate enough to work at a job where Take Your Pet to Work Day is celebrated. Foremost, make sure everyone is open to the idea. You can read the details at their website, but the bottom line is you should only bring your pet to work if your pet will enjoy it and won’t cause any problems. If the day will stress your pet or your co-workers, you should leave your pet at home. Same goes for if your pet will misbehave or cause havoc.
If all obstacles are cleared, you might help your pet give a best first impression by grooming his coat and brushing his teeth on the day prior to his big appearance. You’ll need to remember to bring supplies to provide for your pet’s needs. And bring a leash or gate or crate to confine your pet. Even those coworkers who like animals might prefer to choose when to say hello.
Want to encourage your workplace to celebrate Take Your Pet to Work Day? A study published in 2012 by Virginia Commonwealth University confirms that pets in the workplace reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. The Huffington Post also points out other benefits too. For example, having a pet in the office forces an employee to take breaks, and some studies claim that employees taking frequent, short breaks can increase productivity. Pets can also make the environment friendlier, and some studies show that in pet-friendly workplaces, employees were friendlier to each another, which resulted in customers having a more positive impression of the company. And if all these reasons aren’t enough, PSI points out that the event supports the local pet community. PSI feels that through this day, non-pet owners will witness the special bond their coworkers have with their pets firsthand and will be encouraged to adopt a new best friend of their own.
Beside everything above that I learned, I also discovered that PSI holds a photo contest each year, “with a cash prize award to the winner as well as a donation made to an animal shelter or rescue group of the winner’s choice”. From the Facebook page for Bring Your Pet to Work, it seems as if more than one organization is offering contests and promoting this event. This June 21, get your camera out, snap photos of your pet at work, and enjoy the day!