Tessie Goes to Work
I am lucky enough to work for an organization that allows dogs in the office. They encourage it, actually. As a newcomer to both the office and this doggy parenting stuff, I wouldn’t have even considered bringing Tessie to work. But by popular demand, I brought her with me about three weeks after she trotted into my life.
She did great at the office, but I did not. At this point, we were still getting to know each other and I was worried she was going to take off like she had from our house two weeks prior. To allay this fear, I hooked her leash under my desk leg, giving her plenty of room to move around my office cube.
As I typed away, I wasn’t aware she was silently chewing her leash, almost severing it completely. Obviously she didn’t love being tethered to my desk, and I was a nervous wreck letting her run loose in the office. The whole thing was too stressful, so I decided to hold off on Tessie’s work visits for a while.
|Tessie on break|
Fast forward to July. She’d been with us for five months and the hot summer weather forced my hand. But by now we had bonded, she hadn’t bolted, life was good. I was going to give the “bring your dog to work day” another go.
To my relief, it went great – for both of us. Tessie was excited, sniffed around a bit, but ultimately she settled nicely right next to me. Unless I had to get up to go to the printer, in which case she needed to escort me every single time. Coworkers oohed and ahhed over her, enjoying the new doggie in the office. This time around, I had faith the office door would stay closed, but also that Tessie wouldn’t take off if it didn’t.
Taking Tessie to the office has also allowed her to socialize with other dogs. Enjoying the company of fellow pups hasn’t been her strong suit, to say the least. We’ve been working on it, and meeting Ollie, my co-worker’s adorably fluffy Australian Shepherd-Bichon mix, proved she was making progress. Tessie was skeptical at first, as she is with most dogs, people and things, but she and Ollie co-existed nicely in the office, one would even call them friends. I was a proud momma.
|Tessie and her work friend Ollie|
This experience has me thinking about the concept of bringing a dog to work and why companies allow it. According to research by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, about 20 percent of all U.S. companies allow employees to bring their pets, mostly dogs, to the workplace. I was surprised this number is so high. I always felt pets were a distraction – an adorable one, of course – but one nonetheless. Weren’t we at work to do, well, work?
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 found that employees who were around dogs in the workplace reported feeling less stressed than employees who have dogs but left them at home. The same study also found that pets triggered workplace interactions that would not normally take place. Tessie is proof – several of my coworkers who wouldn’t typically stop by my desk swing by to say hello to my pooch.
Bringing her to work, even if it is once or twice a week, has definitely brought me closer to my coworkers. I’d almost feel left out if I didn’t have her! Her sweet face brings smiles and melts away stress, if only for the moment. I didn’t know I would enjoy having her in the office so much, which could also be said for having her in my life.
Maria Poulos Pimentel is a New Jersey transplant now settled in New England. Maria works in marketing and publicity by day and snuggles with her sweet collie/shepherd/husky Tessie by night. She was a reluctant dog owner at first, but she's quickly learning the ropes and discovering all the joys of doggie parenting. Maria will be sharing more of her adventures in dog love with PawsGo.
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