By Amy L. Morris
May 24, 2012
Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. In addition to my work as a journalist, legislative staffer and public relations practitioner, I’ve spent most of my life in the company of dogs. I started training the family dog when I was 9 and my time with dogs never stopped. So imagine my pleasant surprise when Roger Martin and David Waymire welcomed my dog Riddle into our office shortly after I was hired by Martin Waymire.
Riddle is a Belgian Malinois and will be 10 years old next week. She’s been my constant companion and has tolerated my obsession with dog sports throughout her life. She is titled in obedience, weight pulling, and the German protection sport schutzhund.
Not only is Riddle “allowed” to roam our office, she is a welcome addition to our staff. She is featured on the company website, has her own Facebook page, comes to most of our meetings and her presence is occasionally requested by clients (she is sporting client John Bebow’s tie in the picture above). Interestingly, research conducted at Central Michigan University indicated that the presence of a dog led to employees rating team mates “more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who had not.” And USA Today reported that dogs in the office (with the right set of rules) can reduce stress and build connections with co-workers. Research published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management and covered by NPR confirmed these ideas, but emphasized this only works if the dogs are friendly, clean and well-behaved.
So how to make it work? For those considering additional staff of the canine variety, the ASPCA provides a few guidelines on how a dog can be a positive addition to an office setting and not be disruptive to co-workers and clients – it boils down to being considerate of others and their feelings about animals. With a bit of sensitivity, dogs can even improve the mood and overall productivity of employees and visitors alike.