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January 6, 2009

Workplaces Going to the Dogs

New Book Touts Dogs at Work Programs

The Humane Society of the United States

Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces, a new book published by Humane Society Press, is the definitive guide to creating a business environment where employees' dogs are welcome.

Authors Liz Palika and Jennifer Fearing present the tangible benefits of dog-friendly policies and provide step-by-step advice on obtaining management buy-in, setting fair procedures and protocols and dealing with any concerns about dog-friendly policies in the workplace. Dogs at Work also includes detailed advice about how to prepare your dog for the office environment, provides sample policies and handouts and provides two comprehensive case studies describing successful dog-friendly workplaces.

"Our canine companions can make excellent colleagues, even at big companies," said Fearing, chief economist for The Humane Society of the United States. "In the midst of tough times, employers can improve morale and support the human-animal bond by relying on Dogs at Work to develop and implement a workable – and free – program that works for everyone."

Liz Palika is an award-winning writer who specializes in the topics of dogs, cats and other pets. She is a Certified Dog Trainer and a Certified Behavioral Consultant living in California. Fearing has been cited as an expert on dog-friendly workplaces in the Christian Science Monitor, the Colorado Springs Gazette and The Washington Post.

The HSUS implemented a dogs at work program in 2007. Dogs must be in good health, altered, up to date on shots and well-mannered. Approximately 50 dogs come to work at The HSUS' three offices in the Washington, D.C. area. Dog-free zones, such as meeting rooms, restrooms and kitchens are clearly marked. Dogs are kept behind baby gates in each employee's cubicle. A committee oversees the operation of the program. The program is a free, mission-based human resources benefit that has increased morale and generated recruitment and retention benefits for the organization.

The 202-page soft-cover book Dogs at Work lists for $21.95 and is available for purchase here.

Facts

  • According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, there are nearly 75 million dogs living in approximately 44 million American households.
  • Studies show that dogs in the workplace have a positive effect on employee, business and organizational health.
  • A recent Associated Press poll found that in the past year, 17 percent of pet owners have had to consider cutting back on day care for their animals and 27 percent have seriously considered giving up their pet.
  • Tough times mean reduced benefits. A new survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc., found that 37 percent of companies either have raised or plan to raise employee contributions to health-care premiums. A dogs at work program is a free benefit that can improve morale in the face of other cuts.
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