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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Creating a Pet Friendly Workplace

Feeling stressed at work? A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management concluded that workplaces with dogs present had significantly lower stress and higher rates of collaboration. If a more relaxed and engaging work environment sounds appealing to you, it may be time to think about making your workplace pet friendly. Here are some tips to help make that transition successful.

1. Talk to the Management Team
Getting management on board is the most crucial component of creating a pet-friendly workplace. This will require that you do some homework on your end, compiling information to make a credible appeal. First help the management team see what’s in it for them. Some may be persuaded by the facts about how a less-stressful environment can decrease employee absenteeism and boost productivity. Others may like the thought of providing a low-cost wellness perk and elevating their company’s status as a desirable place to work. Whatever tactic you take, be sure to focus on the features and benefits to your employer as well as their employees.

2. Get Employees Engaged
After you have management’s buy-in, the next step is to get your fellow employees excited about bringing pets to work. If you’ve never had pets in the office before, you’ll want to start slowly. Take advantage of national events, like Take your Dog to Work Day, or have a Dog Days of Summer party to get people used to the idea and create a memorable experience for all involved. Once you’ve held your first successful event, start talking to coworkers about the idea of having dogs around regularly. Your research and your enthusiasm are your best resources to build momentum and get people on board.

3. Set Some Ground Rules
Work with your human resources department to put some simple rules in place. Cover the basic details of who, what, where, when, and how to ensure that pets (and their owners) are being respectful and well behaved.

Some companies will host dog interviews prior to allowing them onsite. Employees would all have a chance to meet the prospect and determine whether the dog’s personality is a good fit for the office before welcoming the pup on board.

Create areas where dogs are off-limits. Meeting rooms, lunchrooms, and bathrooms are often barricaded by doors or child safety gates to establish pet-free zones. If you have coworkers with allergies or pet sensitivities, make sure to respect their wishes and keep their workspace clear of pets.

4. Prepare your Environment
A pet-friendly environment is one that anticipates the occasional accident. Having the proper cleaning supplies and equipment on hand will make it a breeze to clean up messes and minimize the impact on others.

Identify the accessible outdoor areas that you will use for periodic pet breaks. Try to choose a location that is away from the main entrances and walkways and make sure that pet owners are diligent about picking up after their pet.

Armed with the right information, you can easily transform your workplace from a stressful environment to a place where you, and your pet, are eager to come to each day.

Interested in learning more about other workplaces that welcome pets? Check out these recent articles:
Pooch Power: What Dog Friendly Workplaces Can Do for Your Business
Man’s Best Co-Worker
11 Pet Friendly Workplaces

Take your Dog to Work Day

 

image-about-1Friday, June 21st is the 15th annual Take your Dog to Work Day. This special day (with its very own acronym (TYDTWD), encourages dog owners to bring their canine companions to work with them. Here are some etiquette tips to help you and your dog make the most of this exceptional event.

  • Talk to your manager or supervisor to get their permission to bring your dog to work. Despite its long record of success, many people are not aware of this national holiday and may be surprised to see you show up with Fido in tow. It’s better to get approval first and spread the word to your coworkers to make the day even more memorable.
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on all their shots and is in optimal health. You may want to contact your vet to find out if they recommend a kennel cough vaccine before having your dog in close quarters with other canines for the day.
  • Brush up on obedience training. Make sure that your dog knows (and responds to) basic commands to sit and stay. It’s important that he behaves properly when introduced to both new people (and dogs!). If your dog is extremely nervous about making new friends, work with your vet to determine low stress methods to help him acclimate more calmly to new situations. Sometimes an outing to a dog park on a quiet afternoon or inviting a friend and their dog over for a play date can help ease some of their anxiety.
  • Prepare for the big day by bringing all your pet’s essentials: food, water, bowls, treats, a toy or bone to keep them occupied, and a leash. Think about where your dog will spend their time while they are at your office and how to make them comfortable. You may want to bring in a dog bed or crate for naptime or other amenities to make the day as delightful for your dog as it will be for you.
  • Know when to go. If your dog is not behaving properly or can’t settle down in a new environment, take a break and bring him home to his regular environment. You can always try again next year!
  • If TYDTWD won’t work in your office, there are still things you can do to celebrate. You may want to hold an office fundraiser to help a local animal shelter. You could have a pet photo or video contest or meet up with dog-loving coworkers at a nearby dog park over lunch or after work.

June is Adopt a Cat Month

Sigmund Freud once remarked, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Cats add a dimension of personality, warmth, and sociability to our lives that few other creatures can. Their adorable features, inquisitive expressions, and whimsical antics quickly earn them a spot in our hearts (as well as our sofas) that can never be relinquished.
While every month is a good month for adopting a cat into your family, many shelters experience overcrowding in June due to the influx of kittens born every spring. The ASPCA has made June National Adopt-A-Cat month, encouraging everyone to consider adding a cat or kitten into their family. Here are five tips to help your adoption process go smoothly.
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1. Double the Fun
Cats are highly social creatures and often love the companionship of another feline. If you’re considering adopting one, perhaps a second friend would ease the loneliness and make for an easier transition into their new lives. Talk to the shelter staff to find out which cats have been friendly with one another—they can often point you to the perfect pair to make your family complete.

2. Coordinate with your Vet
Schedule a checkup shortly after their adoption. Not only will this ensure your cat is in good health and up-to-date on all their shots, it will also provide an opportunity for your cat and vet to get to know one another and begin to build a positive relationship.

3. Stock up on Supplies
Having cat food, bowls, cat litter and boxes, grooming supplies, collars, scratching posts, and treats on hand will make those first few days go so much more smoothly, eliminating the need to shop for necessities and leaving you free to focus on bonding. You may want to quarantine your cat to a small room in the beginning, keeping all of their belongings together for their first few days, and then gradually expand their territory as they become more comfortable.

4. Pet-Proof your Environment
Known for being extremely curious, cats will want to explore every shelf, counter, crevices, and corner so make sure that valuables and breakables are put away. Plants can pose a major danger as many leaves can be hazardous—or even deadly—if eaten and will need to be given away or put in a room where your cat cannot access. Electrical cords, blind pulleys, and small objects look alluring to cats, especially if they are moved by a breeze or glittering in the sunlight. However, many of these can lead to choking or electrocution and must be kept out of reach. All of these potential threats should be addressed prior to bringing home your new adoptee.

5. Acclimate your Family
Besides having the proper supplies on hand, you’ll want to talk to family members in advance in order to create a welcoming environment for your new cat. Keep your home routines simple for the first few days, minimizing loud noises and additional company to allow time for your cat to adjust to their new surroundings. Teach children how to properly pet and approach the cat as well as what signs to watch for in the event the cat is overstimulated or scared. Lavish lots of love on your new cat but allow him or her time to get used to their new home and family.
The Arizona Humane Society has over 100 cats awaiting adoption right now. Visit their website at http://www.azhumane.org/adopt-a-pet/cats/ for photos and detailed descriptions of the cats and kittens searching for a new home and find the one that’s right for your family.

Bark in the Park!

Sunday, June 9th marks the 3rd annual Bark in the Park event at Chase Field (401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix). This annual fundraiser for the Arizona Humane Society kicks off at 11am with a pre-game Puppy Rally and vendor fair followed by a Puppy Parade on Chase Field’s warning track. At 1:10pm, the Diamondbacks will take the field against the NY Giants, making it an event neither man nor dog will want to miss.Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.09.24 AM

Thirsty pooches can take advantage of ample water inside the air-conditioned field (bring your own food and treats, however). To be admitted, all dogs must be at least six-months old with a valid dog license and a copy of their current vaccinations (from a licensed vet, of course). Tickets start at $18 per person and per pet—no walk-ups are permitted so register in advance at the Arizona Diamondbacks Bark in the Park page. Ticket pick-up and check-in will be at Gate J, under the shade of the Seventh Street Bridge. Just like any outdoor excursion, please provide a leash and protective footwear for your dog’s feet. The pavement between the parking lots and the stadium can be extremely hot.

With over two-hundred dogs in attendance in past years, you’ll want to grab your tickets today and make plans for a memorable day at the ballpark this weekend. Go D-Backs!