Keep Seattle Furry: Take Your Pet to Work

Separation Anxiety

Hey, Seattle, June 23rd is Take Your Pet to Work Day!

PugetPets knows the distress, worry and anxiety we all feel when having to leave our furry friends at home for long periods while we are out “bringing home the bacon (flavored treats).” That’s why we started offering pet-sitting and dog-walking services back in 2006. But for some lucky Seattle pet guardians (including many PugetPets clients), work and pets aren’t mutually exclusive. More and more employers are considering policies that allow employees to bring dogs and sometimes cats and other animal companions to work with them. Dog-loving Seattle is leading the way.

Seattle’s Amazon Advantage

Ground-breaker Amazon has long had the most well-known dog-friendly office culture in Seattle. Fun stuff for dogs like reception-desk treats, hallway dog races and dog-level water fountains are all part of the company’s Standard Operating Procedure. PugetPets client Cecil Carihill (in the photo he’s attending a company meeting) is among the dogs we care for who sometimes accompany their humans to work at Amazon. Cecil goes to work twice weekly, in between walks with his PugetPets walker, who has been the 5-year-old’s lifelong friend. He loves being a part of the office action and interacting with the other dogs (and humans) he encounters during the workday. And he especially loves nap-time…er, I mean, meetingzzzzz….

Pet Problems and Policies

Of course, having a pet in the workplace isn’t all fun and games…and sleeping. Employees may have pet allergies. Clients might be uncomfortable with dogs. Cats might be uncomfortable with dogs. Dogs might be uncomfortable with each other. Bathroom breaks will happen. And what about fresh air and exercise? Having a comprehensive policy on workplace pets is a must for most companies. Amazon’s policy includes a thorough application process and “probation” period, as well as rules about when and where dogs can be, including “dog-free” zones for those who prefer not to interact with dogs. With the right policies in place, having dogs and other animal companions around at work makes everyone’s work day better, diffusing tensions and pressure, providing moments of fun and humor, lowering blood pressure (it’s true!), and encouraging breaks, fresh air and exercise, which have been demonstrated to improve employees’ physical and mental health and increase productivity.

Exemplary Policy

A handful of other notable Seattle companies also have a variety of dog-friendly policies. These include REI, with a dog “park” area where employees can visit their dogs during their breaks, and Trupanion Pet Insurance. Ballard-based Trupanion was named The Bark Magazine’s Best Place to Work in 2015, and employees there can bring both dogs and cats to work with them. Well-crafted policies on pets in the workplace combine with great perks for both pets and employees, making Trupanion’s exemplary pet-friendly culture a success. According to Seattle Dogspot, some of Trupanion’s secrets include:

  • free pet insurance
  • free dog walking service at work
  • a fenced area in the lobby for puppy playtime
  • a day off for pet bereavement
  • baby gates and tethers at every cubicle
  • a Pet Team that provides advice and reviews incidents
  • a fire safety plan that ensures people and their pets can be evacuated safely

But Wait, There’s More…

Other local employers take pride in allowing dogs, and sometimes other pets, to accompany their humans to work. Examples are Seattle’s Owen Media, a Public Relations firm catering to high tech companies, and Paula’s Choice Skincare, based in Seattle’s International District. Renton-based Pet Partners, a therapy animal service provider also welcomes dogs, cats, rabbits, and even the occasional parrot to share office space! A host of smaller Seattle companies also have pet-friendly policies. For example, at Ballard’s Advanced Sign Design, you’re likely to be met by goofy, lovable pit bull Chico and his serious-minded boss, chihuahua Zorro.

Keepin’ It Furry

In 1999, Pet Sitters International (PSI) established Take Your Dog to Work Day “to encourage businesses to allow dogs in the workplace for one Friday each year to celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote their adoptions from local shelters, rescue groups and humane societies.” If your employer isn’t among the Seattle companies with pet-friendly policies, consider encouraging them to take part in the upcoming Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday, June 23rd, and to celebrate the whole week, designated by PSI as “Take Your Pet to Work Week.” Such a celebration may encourage companies to consider adopting some permanent pet-friendly policies, ranging anywhere from a day off for pet bereavement to a weekly or monthly “Furry Friday,” to a fully pet-inclusive practice such as Amazon’s or Trupanion’s.

Improve the workplace with animal companionship and help keep Seattle furry!