They say every dog has his day. This year, that day is Friday, June 22, the 14th national Take Your Dog to Work Day. The event is promoted by Pet Sitters International (see www.takeyourdog.com if you think I’m pulling your paw).
Once again, dog owners throughout North America will be prodding their Poodles and pulling their Pugs to patronize their place of employment. Studies have suggested that animals can have a therapeutic effect on people in hospitals and retirement homes, so why not at work, too?
Well, if your pup is housetrained, check with your boss to see if you can participate in this year’s Take Your Dog to Work Day.
Needless to say, a few words of caution should be heeded.
Be aware that some people suffer from cynophobia (fear of dogs), so be mindful if you have a large dog and intend to haul your massive mutt to the office. A nervous Rottweiler hovering around the water-cooler may be unsettling for some co-workers.
Of course, not all big dogs are intimidating. Despite its size, the Saint Bernard is a gentle giant that would cast an imposing figure sitting by the desk, guarding your stapler. Besides, you never know when their uncanny ability to predict avalanches might come in handy.
Saint Bernard’s also have that convenient little barrel of brandy that comes strapped to their collar for medicinal purposes, which is sure to make the day go more smoothly should you need to tap into it. But please note: if you don’t own a Saint Bernard, hanging a six-pack around your beagle’s neck may not be greeted quite so enthusiastically by your employer.
As you prepare your dog for the trip to work, it might also be judicious to teach him a cute trick so he will be more readily accepted by your fellow workers. For instance, training your dog to growl and snarl at the mention of your boss’s name will definitely break the ice when you and your dog arrive on the job. But use discretion (meaning, when you demonstrate, make sure your boss is “accidently” locked in the storage closet or restroom).
Since dogs love to chew, you must also keep a close eye on him at work to ensure he doesn’t run off with stuff. Just because you steal stationary supplies from the office, doesn’t mean your dog should.
While dogs visiting most offices shouldn’t pose any major problems, there are some businesses that are inappropriate for pets. Food retailers come to mind. I realize your Dalmatian could probably prepare orders faster and more accurately than some people who work in the fast food industry, but customers do tend to frown on hair and fang marks in their cheeseburgers.
Along these lines, if you are employed in the funeral trade, leave your dog at home. There are just some items you don’t want your dog digging up and dragging back to proudly show you. And for heaven’s sake, don’t take your dog to work if you’re in the boomerang testing business — you’ll drive the poor animal nuts.
Finally, keep in mind that other people may also be bringing their dogs to work, so it’s important that yours can socialize with fellow canines. Your boss won’t appreciate the place looking like the Battle of Britain at the end of the day.
On the other hand, you don’t want your dog to be too well-behaved. Should the boss ever realize that your dog fetches things more quickly than you and comes running immediately when whistled, Rover may be promoted to your position while you’re demoted to the office dog house.
• Nick Thomas has written for more than 200 magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.