Should Pets Come to Work With You? My Thoughts After Spending a Day With the Dogs

Dr. Becker and Bella at "Take Your Dog to Work Day" event
Here I am with Bella, a Pit Bull mix, who reminded me of my own dog Gracie.

There's something about dogs that makes you feel relaxed and more social with your fellow human beings. You can see it at any dog park, and today I had the pleasure of seeing it at Pfizer Animal Health's first "Take Your Dog to Work Day."

I've been to a lot of corporate offices in my day, and I can tell you, the smiles I saw there on every human face were bigger, brighter and more genuine than on your average workday. The wagging tails and doggy grins on the canine attendees were brighter, too.

The event was at Pfizer's Madison, New Jersey, offices, on the grounds of Giralda Farms. Once the estate of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, Giralda was also the site of one of the oldest and most prestigious dog shows in the country, the famed Morris and Essex Kennel Club show, as well as the animal shelter she founded, St. Hubert's, which is still operating today.

I was honored to be asked to give the keynote address to the crowd, but the real highlight for me was just walking around and meeting all the dogs with their proud people at the other end of the leash. My favorites were Missy, a "canine cocktail" who seemed to have springs instead of feet and would do just about anything for a tummy rub, and Bella, a Pit Bull mix who reminded me of my own beloved Gracie, a Labrador Retriever/Pit Bull cross.

I guess I'm a little bit of an idealist, because although I know there are people with allergies and dog phobias, I can't help but think that stress levels in the workplace would drop if we could bring our dogs to work with us every day.

Eddie at the Pfizer Event
Check out Eddie, a three-legged Labradoodle who won the canine talent show by showing of his treat hunting prowess. Look how happy he looks hanging out with his owner.

The research backing up the positive health benefits of dogs has only increased in the years since I wrote "The Healing Power of Pets," We know that spending time with dogs lowers our blood pressure, helps us engage in more friendly ways with each other, is correlated with better fitness, and has a host of other health and social benefits for us.

I think spending time with us is good for our dogs, too. You could see it in the tail-thumping pride demonstrated by Eddie, a three-legged Labradoodle who won the canine talent show by finding a hidden treat and then giving a high five with his one front paw. What a brave and happy dog!

When deadlines are piling up and the economy's looking grim, who couldn't use a little more of that kind of inspiration in the workplace?

I want to thank all the employees of Pfizer Animal Health for sharing their wonderful dogs with us. It also got me wondering about other companies that let their employees share their offices with their pets. Tell me Vetstreet readers, are you able to bring you dog to work with you? Would you like to? Are there any special events or benefits for pets provided by your company? I'd love to hear more if there are. Please tell me in the comments below.

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