Take Your Dog To Work Day, 2010: a tale of two local dogs
Photo courtesy of Matt Bradish
We spend more on our pets than we have in the past, and include them in more of our activities. For some, that means going to work, too. June 25 is "Take Your Dog To Work Day". The event was started in 1999 by Pet Sitter International to celebrate the relationship that are created by dogs and their humans - and to promote pet adoption.
In fact, Matt Bradish is one of the many American people who take their dog to work with them. His black lab/beagle mix, Claudette accompanies him at his independent record shop Underground Sounds in Ann Arbor.
In early 2002, Claudette joined the family as a 6-week-old puppy and has always been a huge part of day-to-day life. In her early life, Bradish was an independent contractor for Comcast, and the lucky canine was able to spend 30 hours a week accompanying him in his vehicle as he worked going from house to house. Later when Bradish opened Underground Sounds, she became a fixture there, too. The duo start their day by walking a few blocks from their car to the shop, and along the way getting a little exercise and allowing Claudette a chance to "read the paper," sniffing all of the areas that other dogs have been. Once at work, she gets to hang out and be in the midst of the patrons, getting attention lavished on her.
Kids are a personal favorite. "She loves interaction with people, is so tolerant of kids petting her and pulling on her ears; she just loves being around them," Bradish said.
As the store mascot, Claudette is well-behaved and is content to stay in the store off-leash — even if the door is open. Only once did she get into trouble.
"She bolted out the door after seeing the UPS guy," said Bradish, and after disciplining her behavior promptly, she's never done anything like that again.
The much-loved canine even seems to have a sense of time, like when it's time to wrap things up for the night. She'll approach her owner as if to say: "Isn't it time for you to start counting down that drawer, dad?" And she's right, it usually is.
Photo courtesy of Rob Raux
Software designer Rob Raux of Ann Arbor shows another facet of the trend. He gets to work from home exclusively and his dog, Daphne, benefits. Their workdays typically begin with Raux's wife getting their two kids ready and off to school while Daphne, a 2-year-old Rottweiler, gets fed. Raux will, after the morning routine, alert her that it's time to go to the comfortable, well-lit basement, where Raux's offce is. Daphne has a dog bed set up in the office and gets a great amount of attention and best of all, company, for the better part of the morning while her human counterpart works.
At lunch, Raux makes a point to play one-on-one with her, and might run a few miles while Daphne stays home. (Although she accompanies her dad on short runs occasionally on weekends, she isn't ready to run the distance that Raux does at this point.)
After Raux returns home from running and working the other half of the day before the kids get home, Daphne still has the benefit of having company. "She's a great dog and we feel at this young age, she's more settled and less needy than she might be, if this arrangement wasn't in place."
Raux notes that despite the fact that she is only 2 and a dog with a lot of energy to expend, she has a definite sense of balance. He attributes this not only to him being with her during the day, but also after the rest of the family gets home from their day of school and work — she is included in the family's activities as much as possible.
Both dog owners note that having this arrangement has been a wonderful experience and it's possible for others to have the same privilege. Raux notes that for him, the transition was gradual, as Daphne was 9 weeks old when she arrived home and was being crate-trained. Being diligent about balancing the rigors of puppyhood properly, and easing the maturing dog into the "dad-is-working-now-mode" routine was the key in his case. One thing that Bradish emphasizes is that those who are not crazy about dogs might want to reconsider, adding that most are great to be around, "you just need to give them a chance."
With mindful attention to proper training, addressing a dog's basic physical and emotional needs and establishing what is expected of them in the workplace, having your dog be with you while you're actively working can be a viable option.
While not all situations lend themselves so easily to the arrangement, many do — and some employers and employees alike might want to consider the benefits of allowing the practice on a regular basis. If more convincing is needed, The Art of Wag might do the trick. A satirical take on the Sun Tzu's treatise, this e-book, written by Florentin Smarandache & V.Christianto, offers tips to enhance the experience of having your dog in the workplace. Visit takeyourdog.com for more information on how to take part in this year's event and to raise awareness for pet adoption.
Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger, a regular contributor to AnnArbor.com and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. She has extensive experience with animals including dogs, amphibians, exotic birds and cats, and is always interested in fostering healthy concepts regarding dog culture. Contact her via e-mail.