Pets at work have pluses and minuses In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, photo, Kristine Florio works as her dog Gio sits in her lap at O'Connell & Goldberg Public Relations, in Hollywood, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Pets at work have pluses and minuses
Lexile

When a conference call turns tedious, Brent Robertson can still count on getting a smile from watching Gus roll around on the floor.
 
The golden retriever is a regular visitor to Fathom. That's Robertson's management consulting business in West Hartford, Connecticut.  So are Pookie and Ari, dogs owned by two of Robertson's co-workers.
 
Beyond the old tradition of a used bookstore or antique shop having a resident cat, some urban delicatessens and bodegas have cats to mitigate any rodent problems. And at some smaller professional businesses, it's becoming more acceptable for employees to bring in their pets. Robertson is among business owners who think having animals around boosts morale, improves the work atmosphere and raises productivity.
 
"Everyone seems to smile and immediately become a little bit happier," says Barbara Goldberg. She is the CEO of O'Connell & Goldberg. It's a public relations company based in Hollywood, Florida. Her bulldog, Rosie, is a frequent visitor.
 
A survey by the Society for Human Resources Management found that 7 percent of organizations allow pets in the workplace, though that may not reflect the practices of very small businesses that don't have HR officers.
 
At Badger Maps, owner Steve Benson's Pomeranian mix, Foxy, seems to know when employees of the San Francisco app developer need some comfort.
 
"They're very intuitive," Benson says of dogs. "They have the ability to recognize when someone's stressed out."
 
But not everyone, including employees, customers and visitors, thinks animals belong in an office or a store. Some people are allergic or afraid and might take their business elsewhere. So besides paying attention to permission from landlords and laws about having animals where food is being prepared, people need to consider how to accommodate uncomfortable staffers or clients.
 
Rodney Alvarez, a human resources executive at Celtra, a video advertising company, says legal issues to consider include making sure the company's insurance covers any incidents like biting, and keeping animals well-behaved so they won't frighten visitors. Some owners say when they interview job candidates, they let them know there are pets around.
 
Staffers at Celtra's San Francisco office asked to bring in their pooches. Managers decided that was OK at its four offices. But, Alvarez says, that is only if every staffer agreed. One Boston employee said no. So there are no dogs in that office.
 
One regular deliveryman to Fathom is petrified of dogs. Since Gus "is a full contact dog," Robertson says, "we collect the dogs and put them away in a room so (the deliveryman) can do his thing."
 
And at Sterling Communications, seven of the 20 staffers want to bring their dogs into the Los Gatos, California-based office. CEO Marianne O'Connor, who has a German shepherd named Kaya, worked out a schedule that allows two dogs each day. Upholstered furniture may be off limits.
 
"We push them off gently, and they learn, that's not for them," O'Connor says.
 
When visitors arrive, pups may be placed in a closed office with a water bowl and toy.
 
At Crescent City Books in New Orleans, the majority of customers are glad to see Isabel, a Maine coon mix cat, and some let her curl up on their laps as they sit reading.
 
"Most with any issues just keep their distance," manager Michael Zell says.
 
Most often, a business becomes pet-friendly when it's the owner who brings an animal in. Anne Buchanan adopted a dog about 12 years ago who turned out to be emotionally needy and much happier when Buchanan was around. So she began taking him to work at her eponymous PR firm in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
 
As her company grew, staffers asked if they could bring pets in, too. There are generally two dogs in the office. Sometimes, there's as many as four, including Buchanan's two rescues, Katie and Lacey.
 
Behavioral issues can crop up. But many owners said they can be dealt with. If Rosie the bulldog at O'Connell & Goldberg starts barking during a phone call, the office manager quickly lures her away from Goldberg's side. When Buchanan's dog and a staffer's couldn't get along, the boss paid for a trainer to work with both pups and their owners. Peace was restored.
 
Sterling staffer Rosie Brown recalls when Hazel, a co-worker's Swedish Vallhund, couldn't wait for her owner to get out of a meeting and left a present behind Brown's chair. The next day, Hazel's owner brought a cake for the office that said, "Sorry I pooped. Love, Hazel."
 
"We all laughed it off," Brown says.
 
Cats also sometimes make themselves at home in workplaces with dogs. When Brandon Scivolette, president of Elite Moving Labor, goes on vacation, his cat boards at the Tampa, Florida-based company, where there is often at least one dog about.
 
"A cat is a great thing for an office. It goes from office to office to hang out with people," Scivolette says.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
CTC: Why are employees more likely to bring dogs rather than cats?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (61)
  • brookg-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:26 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring in dogs because they are sometimes more friendly than cats. For example, I have three cats and one of them is a Tabby cat she is nice when she wants to be, but when you get her mad she is really mean.She will scratch you and sometimes bite too. Dogs are also, more playful than cats, and cats have sharp claws so they could scratch you.

  • jakel1-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:27 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring their dogs instead of cats because cats like to play a lot and dogs are more likely to lay around and don't make any noise by running around on the desk like a cat would.

  • deenad-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:28 a.m.

    Employees are more likey to bring Ddogs to work because studys show that dogs calm you down when you get nervous.
    When you feel stressed or anger have a dog there makes you feel like you have a shoulder to lean on. Even just seeing there happy faces make you happy. That is why employees are more likely to bring dogs then cats to an offic.

  • jakeg-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:28 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring dogs in to the workplace to then cats or other animals because dogs are smarter than other animals. Dogs can bring more help then other animals by keeping intruders out, or they can help you grab things. While cats, they would go on the garbage can outside and sit there and lick themselves. That is why dogs would be better to bring to work then cats.

  • julianneb-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:29 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring in dogs rather than cats because cats will jump all over the office and they could scratch up the chairs and furniture. Also, studies have showed that dogs can help relief stress and they don't jump around the whole office.So therefore, people would rather bring in dogs than have cats in the office.

  • michaelp-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:34 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring in dogs rather than cats because dogs are more endearing to most people while cats are not even close to as endearing as dogs are. Cats are known for an independent and calculating personality while dogs are playful and relaxed. Another reason for dogs being more popular than cats in the office is that dogs have been bred to be companions while cats were bred to catch mice.

  • robynh-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:35 a.m.

    Employees are most likely to bring in their cat than their dog because cats just sit quietly unlike dogs that can cause a distraction such as barking at the mailman or barking at other employees.

  • leilam-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:39 a.m.

    Why employees are most likely to bring dogs than cats is because cats can scratch and bite a lot, they want to be left alone one second and want affection the other. Meanwhile, dogs are loyal and sweet, yes they may be loud at times, but it's better than having a cat that'll just wonder off and possibly get lost in the office. Cats also shed a lot of hair, possibly more than dogs.

  • nicolea-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:39 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring dogs rather than cats because dogs make you more happier at work. Dogs are sweet and playful and they stay right by you. Unlike cats they wouldn't stand by you they would just hide from their owner instead of being next to them. You should bring dogs to a place where they can play or stand by you. Unlike cats again you should bring them to a quiet place so they can go hide or whatever.

  • namirb1-pol
    11/30/2016 - 08:40 a.m.

    Employees are more likely to bring in dogs than cats because cats are very independent and they like wander all over the place and if you bring a cat you might not find it when you leave from work because they hide to much but dogs are not independent they like to play around get rubbed on the tummy and they won't hide from you.

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