It seems like each day brings a new unofficial national holiday, but this week’s is the best of all, since today is Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD)! Pet Sitters International created this holiday, which has its origins in a cause we all care about—to celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote their adoptions.
Many of us fur parents will be jumping at the opportunity to bring our beloved fido’s and fidette’s into the office so our co-workers can “ohh and ahh” over our fur babies (because your dog is the cutest of all, right?). While the excitement builds, it’s important to take precautions to ensure a successful day—and that the workplace tradition lives on for years to come. Here are the things you should think through before you bring your pup to work tomorrow:
Be Aware of Your Co-Workers Preferences and Sensitivities. As dog mom’s and dad’s, it’s hard for us to understand that not everyone in the office wants to be around our dog—maybe they don’t like dogs (#catpeople) or are allergic. In any case, take the time to poll the office so you can respect your co-workers preferences and sensitivities. Make sure to understand their level of comfort with dogs of different sizes and breeds. It can be helpful to take a small office poll to inform your understanding.
Dog-Proof Your Office Space. While you love your dog unconditionally and coming home to your shoe chewed up is just another day with Sparky, your dog chewing through someone else’s things on the job may ruffle more than a few feathers. Take the time move co-workers valuables, any toxic items (like poisonous plants and cleaners), electronics (like cords and wires), or harmful food (like your office candy bowl) out of your dog’s reach. If your dog has specific allergies, make sure your co-workers are aware. You’ll also want to figure out in advance which spaces are off-limits to your pet.
Mind Your Dog’s Personality and Manners. Your dog may be the pinnacle of perfection at home, but that can all change in a new environment surrounded by other dog’s. You’ll need to assess your dog’s readiness before you bring him in. Do they know their basic doggie manners (sit, down, wait, stay) ? How do they greet new people? What about new dogs? Do they bark a lot? TYDTWD can be great for all involved, but it’s important to remember it’s still a workplace, and your dog’s barking isn’t exactly the productivity driver.
Learn About the Rest of the Pack. Many of your co-workers will be just as excited as you to take part in the day, so there may be a full pack in the office. As the leader of your pack, you’ll need to make sure you understand the personality, behaviors, and health of other dog’s coming into the office. When the time comes for the dog’s to meet, make sure it’s in a neutral area, like the parking lot.
Bring a Bag. Be prepared with your dog’s basic necessities, including a leash, food, water, water bowls, treats, waster bags, a blanket for them to lay on, cleaning supplies in case of an accident, and toys (a frozen kong can be great for keeping your dog occupied). Think about bringing a crate, baby gate, or pen depending on your workplace environment.
Take a Much-Deserved Break. Unlike many of us plugging away at a 9 to 5, our dog’s won’t always be able to hold it. Plan ahead so that you have some time in the day to spend with and taking care of your dog (like feeding and bathroom breaks). Check tonight on where to take your dog for bathroom breaks.
Create a Contingency Plan. Your preparation can go a long way towards making the most of the day, however, there are times when TYDTWD simply doesn’t work for you, your dog, and/or your co-workers. In this case, make sure you have an alternate plan should your dog need to leave. You know your dog and co-workers best, so watch for any signs of anxiety, agitation, or fear from all parties involved.
Honor the Holiday and Partake with Purpose. There are a number of ways you can highlight the purpose of the day. Have information on hand about local rescues and shelters. Ask your co-workers to consider bring in donation items for those organizations. Consider bringing in a few foster dog’s that are available for adoption. Whatever you choose, it’s important that everyone walks away with rescues and adoption on their mind.